“Honesty is the best policy.” Kids grow up hearing that from their parents and teachers and other adult figures. However, many grow out of listening to this advice, spreading bits of untruths as harmless as white lies to the more severe, like in the case of the Salem Witch Trials or the McCarthy trials during the Red Scare. Arthur Miller delved deeply into this topic in his famous play, The Crucible, in which he compared the Salem Witch Trials to the McCarthy trials as a comment on the self-preserving, rash, and gullible nature of human beings in order to open the audience’s eyes to the error of their ways. He wanted them to see the negative consequences of the Red Scare so they would put an end to it. Before understanding Miller’s conviction towards the nature of human beings, it is important to understand why he used the occurrences of his time period, as well as the Salem Witch Trials to support his standings. Despite the McCarthy trials being “relatively short, [the] proceedings remain one of the most shameful moments in modern U.S. history,” as Joseph McCarthy’s actions involved making accusations towards officials in the United States Army, without considering sufficient evidence (McCarthyism). He claimed that over 200 communists were working in the United States Department of State, and proposed an eight week duration of televised hearings in order to investigate the accusations through cruel and unscrupulous tactics (Turner). People at the time were concerned with
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
“Arthur Miller made the play called “The Crucible” during the 1950’s as a response to McCarthyism and the U.S. Governments blacklisted people.”(Blakesley). Miller was then question and accused of “Contempt of Congress” for not identifying people that were at meetings he attended. McCarthyism and The Salem Witch Craft Trials have been two very wrong things that have happened in the history of the United States for a lot of reasons. First off they both wrongfully accused innocent people of performing not accepted actions of those times. In America you have a right of free will and in both cases they were denied this right just because of someone else’s opinion. In both cases of the Salem Witch Craft Trials and McCarthyism people were being accused of acts with little evidence. People pointed fingers at others so they wouldn’t get blamed for anything, so there was a scare factor taking place. Large groups of people supported these acts maybe because of a get on board everyone’s doing it theme, and if you disagreed you were considered a witch or a communist. Our country supported McCarthy until later we soon regretted it. During the 1940’s and 1950’s communism was a scare in the U.S. so McCarthy capitalized on the subject and said two hundred card carrying communist were in the U.S(PBS). With the Salem Trials people capitalized on the scare of witches and everyone starting accusing the “weird” people. Accusations weather true or false can
Arthur Miller, an American playwright and the author of The Crucible, explained the incident involving within the series of Salem Witch Trials. The Crucible and the Second Red Scare demonstrated a comparison in order to establish an allegorical parallelism between the two. Joseph McCarthy caused the fear of communism throughout the American politics and culture, which referred to the Second Red Scare. In the play, the innocents got falsely accused of witchcraft without factual evidence, similar to the situation when McCarthy indicted numerous well-known, innocent Americans for un-patriotism. The parallelism based on the two events can be embodied through the fallacious allegations upon individuals employed by Miller and McCarthy: the mass hysteria that overwhelmed the innocent civilians, leading to an outbreak which occurred due to its chaotic presence, and the act of integrity over reputation put forth on the individual.
The Crucible is a play, which explores the witch- hunting hysteria that happened in Salem 1692. Miller uses this “organized mass-hysteria” to comment on his own similar experience during the 1950s. Through “The Crucible”, Miller is able to draw an analogy between the hysteria of the Salem witch-trails and its modern parallel of the anti communist ‘witch-hunts’ which occurred due to the HUAC-House of un-American Committee, which were lead by Senator Joseph McCarthy; who with the help of the committee were “ruthlessly determined to hunt out communists as the Salem judges had been to hunt out witches”. Miller used “The Crucible” to criticise this unmitigated
Martin Niemöller once said,“First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.” The culture of accusations is a part of hysteria. As paranoia ensued in “The Crucible”, Joseph McCarthy made false allegations that influenced many peoples lives. An affair integrated in Arthur Miller’s play created controversy among the community. Trials were held for those accused and lying was the only way to survive. The harsh truth that was revealed in “The Crucible” and the parallels between the Red Scare and the Salem Witch Trials show patterns in which fear was used as an advantage, unsubstantiated claims occurred, and unethical punishments were given.
4.What similarities do you see between Miller 's description of "McCarthyism" and the Salem Witch Trials? What is your response or reaction to Miller 's article?
Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" 'The Crucible' was written in 1952 by the twentieth century American playwright Arthur Miller (1915-.) Miller was born in New York and educated at the University of Michigan where he began to write plays. Most of Miller's plays are set in contemporary America and on the whole offer a realistic portrayal of life and society and the theme of self-realization is re-current e.g. John Proctor in 'The Crucible'. 'The Crucible' was the third play Miller wrote. It is a play about the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts.
In Act I of The Crucible, the curtain closes on a wave of accusations. Abigail Williams declares “I want to open myself… I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil, I saw him, I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus, I kiss his hand,” and then continues to go into a list of accusations, claiming that “I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!” Similarly, McCarthy was most commonly known as the swarthy man in the Senate, clutching a piece of paper and claiming “here in my hands is a list of members of the Communist party.” Such accusations as imposed by those manipulative, cunning characters could break one’s life in either situation. In the case of the Salem witchcraft trials, an accusation usually resulted in one’s hanging and a demand for another crop of “witches.” In a nation ruled by the fear of communism, Arthur Miller himself was put in jail for refusing to abide by the questioning of HUAC. Miller uses characterization of Abigail Williams, a young girl with an “endless capacity for dissembling,” and the accused to create a scene that accurately portrays the iron grip of fear and manipulation and the innocence and utter helplessness of the accused under such a grip. Not to say that Abigail Williams is a direct reflection of McCarthy, however - characters such as Hale and Danforth also portray these accusatory qualities in early
“Honesty is the best policy.” Kids grow up hearing that from their parents, teachers, and other adult figures. However, many grow out of listening to this advice, spreading bits of untruths as harmless as white lies to the more severe, like in the case of the Salem Witch Trials or the McCarthy trials during the Red Scare. Arthur Miller delved deeply into this topic in his famous play, The Crucible, in which he compared the Salem Witch Trials to the McCarthy trials as a comment on the self-preserving, rash, and gullible nature of human beings, in order to open the audience’s eyes to the error of their ways. He wanted them to see the negative consequences of the Red Scare so they would put an end to it.
Further, as with the alleged witches of Salem, suspected Communists were encouraged to confess their crimes and to “name names,” identifying others sympathetic to their radical cause. Some have criticized Miller for oversimplifying matters, in that while there were (as far as we know) no actual witches in Salem, there were certainly Communists in 1950s America. However, one can argue that Miller’s concern in The Crucible is not with whether the accused actually are witches, but rather with the unwillingness of the court officials to believe that they are not. In light of McCarthyist excesses, which wronged many innocents, this parallel was felt strongly in Miller’s own time
Witnessing first hand real life “witch hunts” during the McCarthy era gave Arthur Miller a knack for pinpointing motivations for people to lie, and the ability to create compelling scenes in which characters rely on, in varying degrees, circumventing the truth.
After writing The Crucible, Arthur Miller came under scrutiny of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). The play was an allegory for McCarthyism, symbolizing how the Salem witch trials of 1692 were similar to Joseph McCarthy’s claims happening at the current time. Miller refused to comply with the demands of HUAC and was cited in contempt of Congress. Two years later,
Joseph McCarthy was a corrupt politician in the 1950s who was credited with starting the red scare. His rise to power solely involved ruining others reputation and career by accusing them to have communist ideals, all of his accusations had little to no evidence, but people were forced to confess or they would be prosecuted. Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” is an allegory for McCarthyism during the red scare due to the near parallel events that confide in the plot and history such the accused confessing to a crime they did not commit to save their life, people rising to power by taking advantage of others, anda accusations having merit with no evidence. “The Crucible” was written in 1952 just two years after the start of the McCarthy era.
In life, there are lots of time where people fail to take their responsibilities for what they did wrong, and cover it up with a lie. There are also times where people lie because they want something for themselves. Arthur Miller, the author of “The Crucible” recognizes the parallel between what he encountered at his trial and the Salem witch trials in 1692. Both events are a test, hence the name “The Crucible”, testing Miller and his character’s credibility of being a communist or witch. As many innocent people died due to wrong accusation, Arthur Miller wrote “The Crucible” to expose the Red Scare to public. It reveals that when a society is blindly believing the lies, it can destroy other people’s lives.
During the 1950’s the red scare was a serious concern amongst American citizens, and Senator Joseph McCarthy took full advantage of the situation. “Capitalizing on the concerns of communism, Joseph McCarthy accused that nearly 200 communists had infiltrated congress” (Miller). The antics of McCarthy can help the reader better understand Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in multiple ways. Many different aspects of McCarthyism are related to the play, which gives the reader a clear idea of the corruption and chaos in Salem in 1692. Through the modern day accusations known as McCarthyism, The Crucible becomes easily understood for the reader due to the many similar repercussions that resulted in paranoia from the population as well as wrongful punishments.
However, drama is akin to the other inventions of man in that it ought to help us know more, and not merely evoke our feelings.’ (‘Introduction to Miller’s Collected Plays’.) As a result of heightened fears of the communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents during the 1940s and 1950s, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy and his supporters used charges of communist sympathies or disloyalty to attack