Parallel in events of 1692 in Salem and McCarthy Investigation of 1950s in America

Satisfactory Essays
‘The Crucible’ is written about the witchcraft trials in Salem in 1692, it is a story full of many emotional themes, these are fear, redemption, hysteria and a choice between what is believed to be good and bad.

In 1692, Puritans in Salem were in a period of suspicion and fear. People were making accusations of people conducting witchcraft due to a group of people seen dancing in the woods, this is seen as worship to the devil. These witch hunts destroyed the innocent and corrupted the accusers, the law made it impossible to find justice.

In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy had a frenzied leadership in America. It all started when he claimed that there were many avowed Communist in the American government. There was no proof, but anyone who criticised McCarthy’s claims were accused of being communists themselves, people were claimed to be ’Communist Sympathisers’ and were put on trial and even executed, even those who escaped death or prison were blacklisted and their whole lives were ruined socially and through their careers, this was known as the period of McCarthyism.

The events in 1692 and 1950 are very similar because they both involve similar effects upon people. They create fear and redemption, a fight for what is right and what your conscience tells you. In 1692, people were being wrongly accused of witchcraft, they were put on trial and executed, this is exactly the same as the events in 1950, people were being accused of communism, they were also put on trial and executed. In Salem it was due to the girls dancing in the woods and being accused of worshiping the devil, in America in 1950 it was due to the accusations of Senator Joseph McCarthy, which he could not prove.

Miller could not criticise Senator McCarthy at the time of his power as the atmosphere at the time was such that he would certainly have been charged as a Communist, so he decided he would write about the Salem witch trials in the 17th century, it shows how the trials in Salem were very similar to the McCarthy period, it was even referred to as a ‘witch hunt’ by critics. In both periods there was a varied atmosphere of fear, redemption, hysteria, terror and shear brutality. But no matter if there were Communists in America in 1950, no matter if there were witches in Salem in the 1600’s, the search for both cause destruction to the lives of the innocent and corruption to the accusers.
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