I’m Not a Witch… or a Communist! I Plead the 5th! Essay
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During the 1950s, America was involved in the Cold War, and when United States Senator Joseph McCarthy announced that there were communist spies in America, it created mass hysteria among its citizens. This lead to the ruined lives of many innocent Americans. Similar events occurred during the Salem witch trials in 1692. During this time period, it was thought that witches were infiltrating the religious Puritan societies. The suspicion of witchcraft in Salem caused hysteria among the townspeople, which lead to the destruction of many good Christian people and their families. Arthur Miller, who was arrested during the McCarthy era, wrote The Crucible, a play about the 1692 Salem witch trials, to expose the absurdities of McCarthy’s “witch…show more content…
Both were hypocrites. Not only did McCarthy and Abigail accuse the general public, but both accused those in a position of higher power. Abigail threatened the Salem judge Danforth with “Think you to be so mighty that the power of Hell may not turn your wits,” while McCarthy accused Shirley Temple, the Girl Scouts, the head of the United States army, and other highly respected names of being communist (Miller 1307). In both cases the people began to doubt Abigail and McCarthy’s credibility.
While Miller intended Abigail Williams to represent Joseph McCarthy, other characters in The Crucible represent real life people who were involved in McCarthy’s witch hunts as well. Reverend Hale represents the general public of the McCarthy hearings. Due to the false accusations and the unwillingness of Danforth to see through the lies, Hale exclaims, “I denounce these proceedings. I quit this court!”(Miller 1315). The same thing happened when McCarthy began to stretch his lies and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee refused to admit they had been wrong in supporting McCarthy’s claims. It caused the general public to “quit the court” and not believe McCarthy’s accusations. Giles Corey symbolizes the Hollywood Ten, a group of ten actors, directors, and screenwriters who refused to answer questions during the hearings. When Giles Corey refuses to