The Witch Hunt in The Crucible and During the Time of McCarthyism

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In this essay, I intend to analyse the historical context 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 and…show more content…
Both The Crucible and McCarthyism involved people being wrongly accused of actions that they did not commit. Also, if someone in The Crucible confesses to being a witch in order to save their life, then their reputation is ruined and no one will ever view them the same way. In both McCarthyism and the Salem witch trials, if the person was not convicted, their image would be ruined and they would have a hard time building their image back to the way it was. Some cooperated but others, like Miller, refused to give in to questioning. Those who were revealed, falsely or legitimately, as Communists, and those who refused to incriminate their friends, saw their careers suffer, as they were blacklisted from potential jobs for many years afterward. The society in Salem was a theocracy, a government based on religious beliefs. Therefore any sin would be seen as an offence against the public as well as against God. Sins, especially in Salem would most likely have been hidden away from public view, and this would also explain the way Miller wrote The Crucible. Everyone seemed to know, or want to know everyone else’s business. In both McCarthyism and the Salem witch trials, there was a huge amount of pressure to reveal the secret sins of friends and neighbours. People, therefore began to take advantage of this, and began using the opportunity to take out personal grudges, for example
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