The Crucible And The Second Red Scare Essay

The Crucible And The Second Red Scare Essay

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Arthur Miller, in his article “Why I Wrote The Crucible”, elaborates on the political allegory he incorporated into his drama. Showing parallels between the Salem witch trials in The Crucible and the Second Red Scare, Miller dismisses the opposing argument that resists the idea of an allegory because of the false existence of witches contrasting the reality of communism. He proves that the foundation of fear in the two situations were analogous, for it was the dominating factor perpetuating both conflicts. Analyzing Miller’s argument and drawing evidence from The Crucible, it is proven that fear was the basis of the witch trials within The Crucible as well as the congressional hearings during the Second Red Scare. From this fear stemmed the theory of absolutism, and with both underlying the trials, attempts to condemn those involved with witchcraft and communism were encouraged, leading to the ruin of many innocent people.
The Salem witch trials and the Second Red Scare were both driven by fear. During the Second Red Scare, “McCarthy’s power to stir fears of creeping Communism was not entirely based on illusion . . . [T]he Communist Party . . . was growing” (Miller, “Why I Wrote The Crucible”). The United States was frantically worried about communist infiltration into the government, and in response to this fear, the House of Un-American Activities Committee attempted to eliminate communist fervor by holding congressional hearings and trials. They questioned many people, encouraging them to reveal names of those affiliated with any communist organization. Likewise, in The Crucible, the Salem witch trials were founded upon the fear that witches were alive in the Puritan society. Miller also creates the affair between John Proctor...


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...ear in both situations, which hazed the logical sense of authority and led to rash decisions determining the fates of many innocent people. The trepidation perpetuating the hunts was more than just the initial fear of witches or communists, but it was also contributed by the fear of punishment. As a result, the majority of individuals confessed names of innocent people, and with the theory of absolutism present, those with the slightest affiliation were given the same punishment as those who were actively participating in the communist party or in witchcraft. Therefore, Miller draws these similarities between the Salem witch trials and the Second Red Scare to show that The Crucible is a political allegory that does not depend on the realities of witches and communists, but rather, stems from the underlying roots of both conflicts which lead to their similar outcomes.

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