McCarthyism, named after Joseph McCarthy was a period of intense anti-communism, which occurred in the United States from 1948 to about 1956. During this time the government of the United States persecuted the Communist party USA, its leadership, and many others suspected of being communists. The word McCarthyism now carries the suggestion of false, hysterical accusation and large scale attacks on a minority. This anticommunist crusade stumbled in 1954, when the hearings were televised allowing the press and public to view McCarthy’s bullying tactics. He suffered a backlash in public opinion, and was then, himself investigated and McCarthy faded from the spotlight overnight.
In my opinion, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible takes two of the worst moments in American history, and uses them to demonstrate the pressure on people from society, to conform. Miller takes the Salem Witch trials and uses them to reflect on the McCarthyism period. By using religion as a sort of substitute for politics, Miller was able to see the similarities between the McCarthy era and the actions of the Puritans in Salem. Each event was just as cruel and merciless as the other, and even though the Salem Witch trials had occurred over 200 years before The Crucible was written, by using it to mirror the McCarthy era, the spirit of persecution was re-awoken. Just as McCarthy considered everything “Un-American” to be Communist, the Puritans in The Crucible thought everything un-explainable to be the work of the devil, and in both cases, the authorities demanded conformity.
In The Crucible people were put on trial and killed when they did something “un-explainable”. I think part of how Arthur Miller put this across as them being killed over whether or not it is a human right to resist conformity, for example in act three when John Proctor produced evidence that the very core of the Witch trials was a sham, he was accused of trying to overthrow the court and associating with the devil. His evidence was consequently discredited and he was executed. The only reason he “attempted to overthrow the court” seems to be because he took it upon himself to stop the ...
... middle of paper ...
...ss. Arthur Miller, on the other hand, was disappointed by critic’s reactions. He claimed, “No critic seemed to sense what I was after, which was the conflict between a man’s raw deeds and his conception of himself”. Not only was he disappointed by critic’s reviews, he was disappointed by the “hostility of New York audiences”.
In conclusion, I do not think that there can be any doubt in the fact that Arthur Miller has made an effort to link McCarthyism and the Salem Witch trials in the writing of The Crucible, in order to show the cycle of human morality, and the characteristics of a period of mass hysteria. Literature is a very powerful way of highlighting our mistakes of the past, and making sure, or at least attempting to make sure that we do not repeat them in the future, and The Crucible is a good example of that. I do not think, however that you can look to The Crucible if you are looking for a perfectly accurate historical story, as Arthur Miller has taken his view of one event, and slipped it into another, obviously altering some of the details in order to make The Crucible believable, and an accurate representation of his view, not of the actual Salem witch trials.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Themes of The Crucible and Parallels to McCarthyism Set in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, Arthur Miller's The Crucible describes the witch hunt that saw harmless people hanged for crimes they did not commit. The Crucible provides an accurate historical account of the witch hunt, but its real achievement lies in the many important issues it deals with. Miller's concerns with conscience, guilt and justice develop into significant and thought-provoking themes throughout the play.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
2058 words (5.9 pages)
- In this essay, I intend to analyse the historical context of The Crucible and its relevance in today’s society. I believe that Arthur Miller’s life and his experience of McCarthyism strongly influenced the writing of The Crucible. McCarthyism, named after Joseph McCarthy was a period of intense anti-communism, which occurred in the United States from 1948 to about 1956. During this time the government of the United States persecuted the Communist party USA, its leadership, and many others suspected of being communists.... [tags: Senator Joseph McCarthy]
1369 words (3.9 pages)
- During the 1950’s the Red Scare was in full effect and with everyone questions who near them was a communist, the McCarthy trials occurred. These were a series of hearings held to decide on conflicting accusations between the U.S. Government and Senator Joseph McCarthy. He accused multiple members of the army of being secret communists, this how ever spread out as civilians began to accuse their own neighbors of being communists. These trials would eventually become known as the witch hunt for communists.... [tags: Joseph McCarthy, McCarthyism, Salem witch trials]
858 words (2.5 pages)
- Niam Mohseni Ms. Sussman English 2 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.... [tags: Salem witch trials, The Crucible, McCarthyism]
968 words (2.8 pages)
- “No-no. There be no unnatural case here.” (Parris, The Crucible Act 1 Line 34) The Crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller about the Salem Witch Trials. Miller wrote this play as a critique of McCarthyism, but distanced it by using the Salem Witch Trials as the setting. McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of treason without proper evidence. Using the Trials as the setting has strong suits, such as allowing him to compare McCarthyism indirectly and the events related strongly with society, and weaknesses, including the time period being so long-standing that it is not a modern example in their era and the idea of witches is farfetched compared to Communism.... [tags: Salem witch trials, The Crucible, McCarthyism]
895 words (2.6 pages)
- ‘The Crucible’ is an allegory. An allegory is a story with an obvious meaning but if you look deeper into it, there is another meaning. In this case, the obvious meaning is the Salem witch-hunt and the hidden meaning is McCarthyism. McCarthyism started in the early 1950’s and it was governmental accusations with no evidence. Joseph McCarthy started doing trials on those he thought were communist, but he had no evidence for it. This is the same as the witch trials in The Crucible. Arthur Miller wrote this in response to McCarthyism.... [tags: allegories, Crucible, authur miller, McCarthyism,,]
993 words (2.8 pages)
- Telling lies, making false accusations, having suspicion, betraying others and creating fear in others are just some of the factors that caused McCarthyism in the United States. Named after Joseph McCarthy, McCarthyism is the false accusation of someone being a communist. Numerous playwrights are recognized as an allegory for McCarthyism. Arthur Miller, born in 1915, was one of America’s greatest writers for his diversity, his courage, and the influence that he has made on readers all around the world.... [tags: Communism, Play]
672 words (1.9 pages)
- McCarthyism and The Crucible contain many similarities and differences in their persecution and accusation of people who are identified as criminals of their societies. McCarthyism and The Crucible contain many similarities and differences in their persecution and accusation of people who are identified as criminals of their societies. Both events in history contain extremely similar circumstances, including the accusation of one person leading to a mass hysteria enveloping a society to be overly suspicious of their fellow people.... [tags: Essay on The Crucible]
783 words (2.2 pages)
- Humanity had gone through a number of challenges that tested our beliefs and morals throughout history. In 1692, our humanity was tested in a significant manner when the Great Salem Witch Hunt erupted on the puritans of colonial America. Fear spread among the people and the drive to get rid of the bad was strong, causing many innocent people to be killed. These type of events repeats itself throughout the course of time. It is as if we humans are oppressed for a certain amount of decades and then once fear takes root in our society, we act harshly upon it, as if releasing emotions of desire for personal freedom.... [tags: Salem, Massachussets witch trials]
849 words (2.4 pages)
- ﻿ The McCarthy Hearings Senator Joseph McCarthy instilled fear into the minds of the Americans with his anti- Communist thinking, with his ideals. Senator McCarthy, during 1950-1954, disrupted the United States with the HUAC ( House of Un-American Activity Committee) Hearings. These hearings brought government workers, college professors, playwrights and Hollywood screen writers, actors, artists, musicians, gays, Jews and anyone with a goatee under suspicion. Joseph McCarthy was an unknown senator from Wisconsin, who wanted to be in the spotlight.... [tags: essays research papers]
652 words (1.9 pages)