Events and characters in Millers play reveal the dramatic, anxious, and hysterical actions and allegations that came with The Red Scare. A parallel between McCarthys world and The Crucible is how the people reacted to the thoughts of witches or communists infiltrating their societies and how that resulted in hysteria throughout towns. In Salem confessing and giving up others “witches” was a way to get out of your noose, but was also a way to augment the rumors of witches in Salem. Tituba was forgiven because she confessed to dealing with the devil and for giving up Goody Osborne and Sarah Good. Then Goody Osborne and Sarah Good were known to be witches, proving witches had come onto Salem, and seeding doubts of others innocence and purity.
As the hysteria regarding the existence of witches swelled, innocent individuals were executed. McCarthyism also demonstrated society’s ability to influence the judicial system. As the hysteria regarding the threat of communism in America swelled, innocent individuals were jailed, blacklisted, deported, and fired from their jobs. The Crucible first staged in 1953, was meant to raise awareness of the effect that fear can have on human behavior and judgment. The play illustrates how Abigail’s intent to avoid punishment by accusing others of culturally deviant activity led to mass hysteria.
The obvious breakdown in social order led to the tragedy that saw innocent souls hang on the accusation of witchcraft. Miller's way of writing plays which relate to our lives and the way in which we do things and treat one another is very interesting. He seems to see the world a different way to most people and expresses our everyday actions and the things we do wrong in another form. The audience should see parallels in the play to happenings in our every day life. The Crucible was written in the middle of the McCarthy political "witch-hunt" in America.
Arthur Miller wrote “The Crucible” to criticize McCarthyism and everything happening with McCarthy. Miller made sure people who read the play can make a connection to the Salem witch hunts. Major characters in “The Crucible” have connections to major people during the McCarthy era. Abigail Williams has a distinct connection to Joseph McCarthy as both are the main starters of both events. Abigail went to accuse many people without any proof because she disliked them for her own personal gain.
After Betty and Ruth are struck sick and tired, many conclude that it is due to witchcraft. The notion of witchcraft being present in Salem causes paranoia and people become frightened. Searches are sent out to find these alleged witches and dispose them. The paranoia causes many people to be brought before the court in order for Salem to rid it of these evil witches. If they were found guilty, they were also jailed or killed.
Abigail Williams was a real person involved in the Salem Witch Hunt but her character in the play was altered a small bit for dramatic effect. In The Crucible, Abigail begins the witch hunt by making false accusations of witchcraft on innocent people. She uses lies and deception to blame others and to put herself up (Miller). People believe her accusations just like McCarthy’s because there was fear in the people and it caused them to be more willing to believe the accusations. They both had power at the time and no one really stood up against them because everyone was scared and they believed their claims (Westlund).
The aim of this task is also to visualize the reasons for these differences if the changes occur. The Crucible was written in 1953 by Arthur Miller. Miller was portraying, through the reenactment of the Salem witch trials, an anti-communist movement we can refer to as McCarthyism. The play is therefore an allegory of McCarthyism. It illustrates the impact of the hysteria witchcraft has aroused in the town of Salem, thus demonstrating the effect of the Red scare on the American society.
The author compares the unjustness of the Salem witch trails and the McCarthy trials were in both, people were accused and executed. Another comparison between The Crucible and McCarthyism is that in both people were guilty of believe. In The Crucible, people who believed or practice witchcraft were executed and in McCarthyism the ones who believed or participate in Communism were guilty of belief. Another association between McCarthyism and the play is that after Miller wrote The Crucible, he was called to answer some questions about the names of person who had been seen in the meetings of Communist Party. (Burns).
The public was censored in what they could say because of the fear of being accused of witchcraft or communism. The hysteria of the times triggered a mob-mentality to emerge among the citizens, which influenced nearly everyone to join the terrible movements. Miller presents all of these ideas in The Crucible using his own experiences as influences. He incorporated many of his own traits into the characters’ dispositions. He also described many situations in the play that were similar to the ones he was in, including how he was censored by the Red Scare.
Sadly, all the factors that lead to the deaths of many innocent people were all fictitious. They were simply an attempt by the Puritans to regain the control that they were slowly losing. Overall, witchcraft effecting women and some men in colonial America was portrayed rather effectively in The Devil in the Shape of a Woman in many ways. The stories in her study were absolutely fascinating. I think what made these stories more fascinating to me was the fact that all these stories are true.