In history there have been many major events that have shaped the times we live in. Two of the major events of our time are the "witchunts" of the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism. The Crucible is a 1953 play by American playwright Arthur Miller. It is a drama and fictional story of the Salem Witch Trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692-1693. Miller wrote the play as a parable for McCarthyism, when the United States government ostracized people for being communists. McCarthyism was a vociferous campaign against alleged communists in the US government. Many of the accused were blacklisted or lost their jobs, although most did not in fact belong to the Communist Party. In these two events, many similarities …show more content…
The Salem Witch Trials were fueled by fear because no one wanted to be punished or killed. In Document B, Act 1 of The Crucible, Reverend Hale arrives to see who is behind all of the witchcraft. When he asks the girls to give him, the names of the people they saw with the Devil. “Abigail: I want to open myself. I want the light of God; I want the sweet love of Jesus!” Right after she says this, all of the girls start shouting out “I saw ____ with the devil.” When Abby started accusing people of being witches or communicating with the devil, everyone started getting scared that she would accuse them. Many people were afraid to do activities and things that they might normally do all the time because they were afraid of being accused. McCarthyism was fueled by the fear of nuclear war. Communists snuck into America from the Soviet Union to spy on the United States. The Soviet Union was on the verge of a nuclear war, so McCarthy put fear in everyone because no one had any idea who was a communist and who was not. He made everyone afraid to trust people, even the friends other had. They were afraid that they would be accused
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Throughout history, society has pushed down certain groups of people. One daunting example is the Salem Witch Trials, which was a series of hearings and trials wrongfully accusing people of witchcraft. Those accused of witchcraft were either thrown into jail, hanged, or forced to confess a sin that they did not commit. In The Crucible, author Arthur Miller warns of the detrimental persecution of groups by society in order to avoid history from repeating itself.
Just how McCarthy started "a nationwide anti-radical hysteria provoked by a mounting fear and anxiety that a Bolshevik revolution in America was imminent—a revolution that would change Church, home, marriage, civility, and the American way of life" (Red Scare WIKI). His ardor encouraged others to throw each other under the bus and prompted them to lie and make up accusations. Since Hale was so eager to find a witch, the people saw an opportunity to give out a false accusation in return for something everyone in the town wanted, vengeance. This leads to Hale's second blunder, blindly following the word of children. Hale didn't think twice about whether or not the girls were telling the truth about seeing the devil.
In The Crucible all the characters were hung up on their paranoia of the Devil based off their religious standpoints. As researched, the Puritan society was a very religious one, very fearful of the Devil, and the people of The Crucible were convinced the Devil was causing mischief in Salem. “Abigail: Uncle, a rumor of witchcraft is all about; I think you’d best go down and deny it yourself.” (pg. 9, The Crucible). This quote from the text proves that the people's paranoia and threat of the Devil in their society was enough to make people fear for the lives and reputations of themselves and their family.
“The Crucible” is a play about the unfortunate Salem Witch Trials but if one dug deeper, the events of “The Crucible” closely relate to the events of McCarthyism in the 1950’s. The people during the 1950’s were very distraught and constantly looking over their shoulders in fear in search of Communists because they were a national and social threat to the Democratic Republic. People were turning their backs on their moral and personal values to point out yet another victim to the Communist chase. The US authoritative figures conjured a hysterical fear of their government collapsing and the people losing their rights which turned them into hypocritical pursuants. Arthur Miller targets these points in “The Crucible” with his knowledge of the Salem
It is hard to believe that someone could be killed for being a witch but that is exactly what happened in the 1690s. In Salem, Massachusetts, many people were killed after being accused of witchcraft. In the 1950s, a similar situation occurred when the government questioned many people to determine if they were involved with communism. The Crucible play draws an analogy between the horrors of the Salem witch trials to the horrors of McCarthyism. Arthur Miller's experience led him to write the Crucible which drew on the events of the time.
In 1952 Arthur Miller published a play “The Crucible” which was based on his research of the witch hunts in 1692, where it took place in Salem, Massachusetts. The play, though, was more, than a recollection of tragic medieval events, it was an allegory of the 1950’s red hunt by a Republican U.S senator Joseph McCarthy, where a witch hunt was replaced by a hunt for communists. The Crucible reveals moral and political messages such as an allegory for the greed of power, betrayal, and the courage to stand up to public opinion. This pertains to the history of McCarthy and the House of Un-American activities committee.
L STANDS FOR LIES The Crucible, written in 1953 by Arthur Miller, is a play that highlighted the major political problems in The United States, at the time but didn’t specifically mention the problem of McCarthyism. The play, however, depicts the 17th Century hell of the Puritan society witch-trials and the problems that happened in Salem between February 1692 and May 1693. The 1953 communist campaign and the 17th Century witch-trials directly mirror each other and the 21st Century problems and debates that have shaped the world today What could be wrong with affirming two people’s love and commitment to each other?
McCarthy was able to pass the McCarran International Security Act required that all members of the communist-front organizations reveal their membership. “John Proctor was your everyday man. He was a farmer, he claimed to be Godly though he was said to never attend church. Not attending church then was very frowned upon and even considered a horrible sin.” Abigail did things to get revenge because Elizabeth fired her because Abigail had an affair with John and didn’t want to confess to being associated with the Devil because it was not true and he did not want shame brought to his
McCarthyism is given that name because “Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy rocketed to public attention in 1950 with his allegations that hundreds of Communists had infiltrated the State Department and other federal agencies.” (Have You No Sense of Decency?senate.gov). The red scare is best defined as a widespread series of actions by individuals and groups whose intentions were to frighten Americans with false and highly exaggerated charges of Communist subversion for the purpose of political, economic, and psychological profit. “The red scare is best defined as a widespread series of actions by individuals and groups whose intentions were to frighten Americans with false and highly exaggerated charges of Communist subversion for the purpose of political, economic, and psychological profit. The “Red Scare” put people out of their jobs, and ostracized them from society.”
In the late 1940s – early 1950s, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy made the grandiose pledge to uncover a communist plot to overthrow democracy in United States. No one was safe from persecutions, and the “witch hunts” for communism began. In response to the mass hysteria over this communist infiltration, Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible. In the play, the people of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 sought to destroy the devil’s influence by seeking and destroying witches. This began the Salem Witchcraft Trials.
When the Salem Witch Trials are remembered at face value, the sinister events that took place within the puritan community seem so surreal, so deranged, that it becomes easy to ignore the very real and dangerous implications they make of human nature and capability. It is easy to think that such heinous things could never occur in modern society. Arthur Miller, the author of The Crucible, takes that assumption and uses it to expose the absurd injustice of modern events by creating a play that employed the infamous Salem Witch Trials as an allegory of his own experiences with the Red Scare and McCarthyism during the Cold War. McCarthy, the main anti-communist leader during the Red Scare, was known as a man who unapologetically made accusations against people to undercut their credibility and bolster his own influence.
This kind of hysteria caused the Red Scare, which was a period that Americans thought communists were working to destroy America. This mass fear of communism ruined people’s lives and made them turn against their own family and friends. Joseph McCarthy played an
In many other ways, McCarthy’s theories and the girls’ theories compliment each other, both based on the same, concept, principle, and idea… fear. McCarthy used severe intimidation to make the person scared, and often the threat of prison, when trying to get information - he often had little or no solid evidence on which to base his claims. The names of many witnesses and suspects were released publicly, resulting in defamation of character and guilt by association. Careers and reputations were irreversibly damaged in both trials, and when all was said and done, there were no convictions for subversion, and people were terrified to even speak about the war.
1940’s America was a nation in the grip of paranoia. The terror of communist infiltration hung heavily over the heads of every citizen. Everyone from government employees to actors were called before congress, under accusations of being a communist. However, there was more fiction to this anxiety than fact. Yet, due to the actions of certain individuals, it persisted.