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The Red Scare and “The Crucible” At the time when “The Crucible” was written, the United States and Russia were going through the Red Scare which was a major influence when Miller was writing this play. Miller’s tactic in writing this play was to remind people of how the hysteria of the witch hunts could be dangerously similar to the communist hunts going on in the United States at the time. Using the history from the Salem Witch Trials, he wrote a story that was sure to educate people about the potential disaster that could come from the carelessness of accusing others.
The Crucible” and The Red Scare had many similarities due to the fact that the author of “The Crucible” wrote the play to compare the Salem Witch Trials to the Red Scare. The first and most distinct similarity is the carelessness and revenge illustrated by accusing others. Miller made sure to point this out to his audience by having a character suggest that someone accused another person solely to get their land (Miller ). Also, when people were accused for either being a witch or a communist, they were arrested with no substantial evidence.
For example, when presented with concrete evidence in “The Crucible,” Governor Danforth ignored the evidence and proceeded with the hangings instead of admitting he was wrong (Miller ). When they were convicted, in both events, they had the option to confess and accuse others to save themselves. Overall, the Red Scare and ‘The Crucible” are very parallel events. Although very similar, the Red Scare and the Crucible are two very different events in history.
First of all, the Red Scare was a hunt for communists and “The Crucible” was written about the witch hunts during the Salem Witch Trials. This makes the crimes two completely different cases. Also, the Red Scare was more politically based unlike the Salem Witch Trials. In “The Crucible,” the people of the town were accused but during the Red Scare, it was mostly famous political figures and Hollywood stars that were under investigation. Finally, the punishments in the two events differed.
During the Red Scare, if accused of being a communist, these people would be blacklisted. This meant they were most likely fired from their job and became an outcast. In “The Crucible”, the convicted would be executed unless they decided to confess to their crimes. In conclusion, “The Crucible” and the Red Scare have a few differences that make these events in history unalike. In many ways, “The Crucible” was written to be a cautionary tale. Miller wrote this play solely to show and compare the Witch Trials and the Red Scare.
His main purpose was to remind the country of the disaster and after effects that the Witch Trials had and how the Red Scare was heading in the same direction. In The Crucible, Miller made sure to note the toll the trials took on not only the people of Salem but also the effects on neighboring towns (Miller ). This opened many people’s eyes to the danger that this event could potentially have. By writing this play, Miller taught the country that they needed to come together and fix the problems the country had at the time.
The Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare are two very parallel events in history which is why Miller decided to write the play “The Crucible. Miller showed the United States the dangers that came with carelessly accusing others and used the story of the Salem Witch Trials to prove it. Although not completely alike, the similarities between the Salem Witch Trials and The Red Scare was undeniable. Thanks to Miller, people realized that the Red Scare had to end before the consequences, similar the ones of the Salem Witch Trials, started.
Author: Christen Curtis
The Red Scare and The Crucible
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Connecting McCarthyism and The Crucible Essay
1375 Words6 Pages
The horrors of history are passed on from generation to generation in hopes that they will never occur again. People look back on these times and are appalled at how horrendous the times were; yet, in the 1950s, history repeated itself. During this time, Joseph McCarthy, a United States senator from Wisconsin, began accusing people of being communists or communist sympathizers, which is parallel to the Salem witch trials in the late 1690s when innocent people were accused of practicing witchcraft. One of the people McCarthy accused was author and playwright Arthur Miller. To express his outrage at McCarthy’s actions, miller wrote The Crucible, intentionally drawing similarities between the McCarthy hearings and the Salem witch trials.…show more content…
Like Abigail, McCarthy had no evidence against the people he blamed of being communists. His list contained 205 names of communists and “[was] mainly based on a vague report” (1). Although there was not evidence against the accused communists, the American people were ready to believe that communists had infiltrated their country because the communist Soviet Union had already taken over other countries, including China, Korea, and North Vietnam (“Domino Theory” 1). Like the American people, the town folk of Salem were willing to believe that there were witches in their town since witchcraft had just been discovered in nearby Andover, where forty people were accused of witchcraft ("Andover, Massachusetts” 1). Both McCarthy and Abigail were able to take advantage of the atmosphere of hysteria during their time period to get what they so desperately wanted. Yet their reigns of power did not last long. When Abigail accused highly respected people such as John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse, the townspeople were not so willing to accept that the people they respected were practicing witchcraft. Abigail’s credibility wavered. Likewise, when McCarthy accused officials in the United States Army of being communists and innocent children like Shirley Temple, people began doubting his credibility, especially with the lack of evidence (“The Red Scare: McCarthyism” 1). Although the periods that Abigail and McCarthy controlled people’s fear was