Analysing the Historical Content of the Crucible

1409 WordsJun 27, 20056 Pages
In this essay, I intend to analyse the historical content of The Crucible and its relevance in today 's society.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. 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…show more content…
It also meant that people where highly suspicious of one another and reported everything as "witchcraft". Similar events to Putnam 's suspicious convictions of his neighbours, again appear in McCarthyism. Many of people accused during the McCarthyism era were people with high positions of power, and plenty of people would have benefited from their loses. This shows that some people will go to any length to get what they want. The language that Arthur Miller used when writing The Crucible is also very similar to the language used during the McCarthy era. Both refer to what they were objecting to as a disease that needed to be cured. "Witchery" threatened the purity of Salem and individuals within it. It is referred to as "a scourge that must be wiped out". Souls could be cleansed by admitting your sins, and "being with God", even though perhaps you had never left him in the first place, but did not want to risk being hanged. Similar events happened during McCarthyism. When someone said they were a communist to avoid having to endure a long trial, they would never be seen the same way again. Despite the fact that there are so many similarities between The Crucible and McCarthyism, there will obviously be some differences too. For example, in The Crucible many are hanged because they are believed to be witches but no-one was sentenced to the death penalty if they are accused of being a communist. Also, in The Crucible

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