October 26, 2014
McCarthyism and The Crucible
Events have played out in history that made people realize the inhumane acts of people and the Salem witch trials and the McCarthy era were two of them. The Salem witch trials in 1692 were almost 260 years before the McCarthy “witch hunts” in the 1950s yet there are similarities between them. The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller in 1953, is about the Salem witch trials and is an allegory to the practicing of McCarthyism during the Second Red Scare in the United States, which Miller was a victim of. Although there may be differences between “The Crucible” and McCarthyism, ultimately the anger, lack of evidence, and the people were alike in both events.
Anger had a huge role in both McCarthyism and in “The Crucible”. Anger was the reason why people were blaming each other for being either a communist or a witch because it would get the other person in trouble. Blaming one another was used to someone’s advantage to get rid of the person for a personal gain. In “The Crucible” Betty yells at Abigail, “You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor!” (Pg. 20 The Crucible and Related Readings) this clearly shows that Abigail is after Goody Proctor. The reason for why she is after Goody Proctor is purely out of anger mainly because Elizabeth Proctor has John Proctor and Abigail does not. If it was not for the affair with John Proctor, Abigail would have not had the wrath to go after Elizabeth and accuse her of being a witch. In McCarthyism the center of attention is towards the communists. The Americans had a ton of anger towards the communists during the Cold War and people who were thought to be communists “were jailed and… lost their jobs” (McCarthyism and th...
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...victed on false accusations but most importantly Proctor did not want to sell out his friends to the court, which Miller did the exact same with the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Miller not selling out his friends to the HUAC was the reason for his conviction while Proctor not selling out his friends helped him see the truth in himself.
“The Crucible” was written as an allegory to the era of McCarthyism and also to make fun of the system during the era. It allowed for the similarities of anger, lack of evidence, and the people to be used as comparison. These events have shaped how the world acts today and how we all learned from the actions that were taken place. “The Crucible” was written to show that the actions taken place both in the Salem witch trials and in the McCarthy era were inhumane but also to teach people to learn from past mistakes.
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