Arthur Miller's The Crucible In connection to McCarthyism

1620 Words Mar 23rd, 2004 7 Pages
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

History is a "chronological record of events." These events, whether positive or tragic, often repeat themselves. The McCarthy Hearings that took place in the 1950's are a good example of this. The accusations of communism led to a nation-wide hysteria and fear of who was going to be named next. When this was over, the hope would be that nothing like it would ever happen again and nothing like it had ever happened before. However, we have not only repeated it on various occasions, but through Arthur Miller's The Crucible, we also see the parallel of the event with the Salem Witch hunts that took place years before the hearings. The connection between The Crucible and the
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This made his claims very convincing and much more believable than the allegations made by children.

Another difference was that the McCarthy hearings were on much larger scale than the Salem Witch hunts. In the McCarthy hearings nearly 10,000 people were affected, many of whom lost their jobs and their lives ruined. (Schrecker) The Salem Witch Trials were on a much smaller scale; only about 140 were affected. (Boyer)

A third difference was that anyone who was accused of being a witch and did not confess or expose someone else was hung. Although more people were affected, no one was ever killed during the McCarthy Hearings.

Hysteria is defined as "behavior exhibiting excessive or uncontrollable emotion, such as fear or panic." The McCarthy Hearings and the Salem Witch Trials were both hysterias. "McCarthy did not create the communist problem, but he exploited it shamelessly for political ends, accusing the Democrats in general with baseless, sweeping, shotgun allegations. He was a master of the sound bite, and played the press like a harp". (Pinto) This was a time when people were afraid of war and the spread of communism. Because of this, they were easy victims to be caught up in the hysteria. McCarthy accused people to have ties with communism based on little evidence and thousands of people were wrongly accused. "Joe McCarthy was nosier, more impulsive, and more skillful in gaining publicity than the rest of the anticommunist network." (Schrecker
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