During the time that Arthur Miller created the Crucible, America was dealing with a very similar problem compared to the Salem witch trails. This problem was called McCarthyism, it was believed that a few hundred communists had entered the country, and they posed a threat to American safety. The accusations of communists in the country caused mass paranoia among the entire United States. Arthur Miller was one of them accused of being a communist and was trialed for it, which most likely lead to the creation of his play the Crucible. After the end of both events - the Salem witch hunt and McCarthyism - the effects afterward left devastating results and lingered for many more years to come. During the 1950’s McCarthyism was a widespread problem reflected in the Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, in hope to warn and prevent mass hysteria developing in the United States.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a historic play but more importantly is a social and psychological drama that takes place in a small puritan town in Salem Massachusetts. Many different themes find their way through this play but the most important theme is the danger of Hysteria, reputation, and Intolerance can destroy a town no matter the strength of the people in the town. As this play was written during the red scare during the cold war this play shows many aspects as McCarthyism which had similar event that the Salem witch trials had but with the red scare.
“The Crucible” was written by Arthur Miller in the 1950’s to show McCarthyism with the use of the Salem Witch Trials as an allegory. Miller used an allegory of the Witch Trials to show another meaning to McCarthyism’s impact. McCarthyism was during the 1950’s that started with Joseph McCarthy that spreads the ideas of mass hysteria and fear of communism. Cite: McCarthyism, witch trials, communism and Joseph McCarthy)
Hysteria, paranoia, and delusion was what drove the Salem Witch trials in 1692. Many people were executed by decision of the court because it believed in absurd false allegations. Justice in the court was perverted by fear and delusion (Johnson 9). In the 1940s and 1950s, many people in the United States were living in fear of communism; similar to those who feared “witches” in Salem. In the 1953, Arthur Miller came out with a play: The Crucible based on the Salem Witch Trials tackling McCarthyism; accusing others of being communists trying to overthrow democracy in the United States (9-10). Arthur Miller was a playwright and a political activist speaking up addressing societal issues. One of his most well-known works being The Crucible, addressed McCarthyism and its absurd purpose. Miller, creator of The Crucible was blacklisted, and accused of being a communist along with many other entertainers (“Arthur Miller”). Through all this ignorance and delusional fear, Arthur Miller was inspired to explore the similarities and parallels of the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.
In January 1953, the American playwright Arthur Miller debuted his new play “The Crucible” on Broadway in New York City. It tells the story of the speculative, baseless hysteria and witch trials that took place during the seventeenth century in the village of Salem, Massachusetts and the horrific calamity that ensued. It examines the haunting reality of a society based on rigid, religious customs, superstitious norms and how these can be used as a weapon and prey on people’s irrational fears.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller is based on the true events of the Salem witch trials. Set in the 17th century The Crucible told the story of a town that ensued a hunt for witches, caused by the accusations of Salem 's young girls and their ring leader Abigail Williams. Arthur Miller wrote this play to symbolize 1950’s McCarthyism. Most readers are unfamiliar with McCarthyism. So for a brief explanation, McCarthyism was carried out under senator Joseph McCarthy during 1950-1954 against alleged communist in the US government and in other institutions. The Salem witch trials and McCarthyism have an uncanny relation to one another. In Salem people were afraid of not appearing christian enough, meanwhile during the 50’s Americans feared of being accused of communism. Also during the McCarthyism era and the witch trials innocent lives were ruined when people were forced to accuse others or be accused themselves.
With anti-communism being the dominant political issue during the Cold War, hysteria and paranoia spread throughout the minds of Americans. The “Enemies From Within Speech” delivered at Wheeling, West Virginia in 1950 by Senator Joseph McCarthy focused on worsening that national fear. Senator McCarthy used ethos, metaphor, and hyperbole to create the notion of disloyalty within the federal government.
The fear of communism carved a deep sense of mistrust in American people. They believed anything that was said and blindly followed people who were in political power without any basis of evidence. The fear of communism created a sense of “hysteria” (Document A) within the general public and even in people in government. 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
When people are placed under an intense feeling of fear, they begin to commit actions they never thought they were capable over. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, a young group of girls commit witchcraft which eventually leads to the arrest of over 100 women. This is similar to a time in the 1950s when Joseph McCarthy accuses government officials of communism and that ultimately leads to hundreds of citizens losing their jobs. The Crucible reveals the similarities between The Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s and McCarthyism of the 1950s because it demonstrates how a society can be tremendously impacted by the feeling the fear.
Sam Robert in the article, A Decade of Fear, argues that Americans turned against each other because of McCarthyism. Robert supports his claim by explaining, contrasting, and demonstrating the effects that McCarthyism had on humanity. The author’s purpose is to persuade in order to convince the reader that McCarthyism sparked betrayal and fear among Americans. The author writes in a tone for his educated audience. I strongly agree with Robert’s claim. McCarthyism resulted in Americans turning against each other because of politicians greed for power, paranoia, and the fear of communist infiltration.
Fear, it causes people to be blinded by the truth. People can’t tell right from wrong. Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible to show how no one could see what was right. During the 1950’s communism was spreading throughout Europe like a wildfire, then it slowly made its way over to the U.S. This was known as The Red Scare. People were terrified of communism spreading to the United States, so when accusations started floating around everyone would believe them. McCarthy accused people of communist behavior, although many were falsely accused, no one knew better than to think they were guilty because of how scared they were of communism spreading. This resembles how certain characters were accused of witchcraft in The Crucible. The Red Scare caused nationwide hysteria just how the Salem Witch Trials caused hysteria to the people of Salem.
The Salem witch trials proved to be one of the most cruel and fear driven events to ever occur in history. Many innocent people were accused of witchcraft, and while some got out of the situation alive not everyone was as lucky. Arthur Miller the author of The Crucible conveys this horrific event in his book and demonstrates what fear can lead people to do. But the reason as to why Arthur Miller felt the need to write The Crucible in the first place was because the unfortunate reality that history seemed to have repeated itself again. In the article “Are You Now or Were You Ever”, Arthur Miller claims that the McCarthy era and the Salem witch trials were similar and he does this through his choice of diction, figurative language, and rhetorical questions.
In the play, The Crucible, Salem, Massachusetts, along with the United States during McCarthyism, is engulfed with paranoia. Although both situations include different causes, their effects are strikingly similar. For instance, throughout The Crucible, Abigail Williams is being shown repeatedly accusing innocent people of witchcraft. Her actions begin sending the small town into a panic as they throw people into jail and hang them in an effort to try and cleanse the town from any aspect of evil. Similarly, throughout 1950-1954, Joseph McCarthy falsely accused people within the United States Government of being a member of the Communist party. Both scenarios spiraled out of control due to people who became paranoid that most of the government were made up of communists and it would destroy the United States of America. Also, with
Arthur Miller constructs his play upon the famous Salem witch trails. Miller's Crucible was written in the early 1950s. Miller wrote his drama during the brief reign of the American senator Joseph McCarthy whose bitter criticized anti- communism sparkled the need for the United States to be a dramatic anti- communist society during the early tense years of the cold war. By orders from McCarthy himself, committees of the Congress commenced highly controversial investigations against communists in the U.S similar to the alleged Salem witches situation. Convict communists were ordered to confess their crime and name others to avoid the retribution. The new decision led to a cyclone of accusations because people realized the possibility of their condemnation regardless they were guilty or innocent. Many helped that system by untrue confessions to save their lives. Miller, among others, refused to surrender to questioning. People who were revealed communists suffered greatly (Bly 2-5).
“The Crucible” by Arthur Miller and The Red Scare share many characteristics. “The Crucible” describes the Salem Witch Trials. These trials were during a period of time where men and women were very rancorous so others feared to speak up because they would be accused of witchcraft and killed. Similar to Arthur Miller’s book, the Red Scare was a period of time in the late 40’s and 50’s in which United States citizens were intensely paranoid of an opposing threat of communism in Eastern Europe and Asia and ultimately communists infiltrating the United States. What the Red Scare and “The Crucible” have in common is that accusations of witchcraft or communism were false, people were blind to the truth, and the accusers weren’t very tactful and