The similarities between the Salem Witch Trials and the McCarthy Era are evident throughout the play such as the common theme of revenge. “Naturally, the best proof of your sincerity of your confession was your naming other whom you had seen in the Devil’s company – an invitation to private vengeance” (Why I Wrote). In both trials, the accused had to list names that were involved with either communism or witchcraft. This brought private vengeance to light. Some saw the trials as an opportunity to satisfy past grudges of previous land disputes. This is shown through the character of Thomas Putnam. Putnam used the trials to his advantage only to profit himself. “This man is killing his neighbors for their land” (The Crucible 96). The theme of vengeance manifests itself in the character Thomas Putnam whose intentions are to exploit the system for his own personal gain. Many people during the Second Red Scare used this tactic as well to amend previous grudges and profit only themselves.
Arthur Miller was apprehensive about the amount of similarities between the two trials. “So many practices of the Salem trials were similar to those employed by the congressional committees that I could easily be accused of skewing hi...
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...rall effectiveness of the play by allowing the audience to make personal connections with the characters as well as strengthening the theme threads.
“The Crucible was an act of desperation” (Why I Wrote). Arthur Miller successfully paralleled the Salem Witch Trials to the era of McCarthyism by using the similarities of the two events, capturing the essence of hysteria and mob mentality and altering the history in order to achieve the effect that he desired. The Crucible had a far reaching effect that Arthur Miller could have never imagined. He understood that history repeating itself is inevitable, yet held onto hope that his play would inspire humanity to learn from past mistakes rather than repeat them.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York, NY: Penguin, 1996. Print.
Miller, Arthur. “Why I Wrote the Crucible.” The New Yorker 1996: n. pag. Print.
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