The Effects Of Mccarthyism In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

1064 Words5 Pages
Humankind, real or fictional, are constantly manipulating each other and looking to others to place blame and hate. The most common victims of this behaviour are the undesirable of society, the outcasts who are easy to hate and condemn. This is an issue that was portrayed by Arthur Miller in The Crucible as a reflection of his own times and horrors of McCarthyism, and still plagues modern society with equally disastrous consequences. In The Crucible, the fear of the devil spread like wildfire throughout the town of Salem, Massachusetts; the first victims of which were the undesirable and distrusted in their society. The accusers attacked those who they knew would be easy to blame, who people would be glad to see hang. This was shown when…show more content…
Lead by Senator Joe McCarthy, this modern witch hunt for communism ruined lives and spread lies, with the initial victims being the disliked, the outsiders. One of the first of those blacklisted was Owen Lattimore. He was outspoken about his unpopular liberal views and so it was easy for McCarthy to shift blame and suspicion towards him (Victims of McCarthyism). McCarthy played off the existing fear of communism left behind by World War II to gain support for his lagging political career by fighting a problem that did not really exist. As in The Crucible, people easily accepted that Lattimore and others like him were to blame, in this case for being communist. Things escalated to the point that nearly anything could be considered as communist sentiment. Even common things like drunkenness or incompetence would be enough to be called a communist (Victims of McCarthyism). People were quick to accuse anyone who was undesirable regardless of whether it actually aligned with the communist party. One mistake, that is anything deemed suspicious by McCarthy and his cronies, could leave one branded as a traitor for life. McCarthy’s tactic of attacking undesirables was successful until his research director, J.B. Matthews, made the mistake of calling the Protestant Clergy, “ the largest single group supporting the Communist apparatus in the United States.” (Victims of McCarthyism). This was an obviously unpopular
Open Document