The Crucible and McCarthyism
WITCHES AND COMMUNISTS THE RELATION BETWEEN Arthur MillerS’ THE CRUCIBLE AND THE MCCARTHY AGE By Dorien Kuipers S2733943 The Americas la LAX025P05 10 ECTS Dr. Tim Jelfs15 October, 2014 551 words Between February 1692 and Might 1693, in numerous towns in the state of Massachusetts, dozens of individuals were accused of witchcraft. Nineteen people were sentenced to death by the state federal government since of all the villagers that accused each other of being possessed by the devil. In modern times, these events are usually known as the Salem witch trials. A couple of hundred ears later, in the early 1950’s, author Arthur Miller wrote a play about this part of American history called The Crucible. In this analysis I will argue that The Crucible, a have fun with hysteria and paranoia as primary styles, partly represents the McCarthy Age, in which numerous United States occupants were accused of being communistic without hard evidence. After the second World War, the world right away got caught up in another war that would cover many years: the Cold War. It was a time of military and political tension in between the United States apitalists and the Soviet communists. Miller composed The Crucible in 1953, when Senator Joseph McCarthy implicated dozens of people who worked for the US federal government of being communist moles, without any proof. The worry he spread amongst the people from the United States at that time is equivalent to the fear for witches that the occupants of Salem spread in their own towns. “The witch-hunt was a perverse manifestation of the panic which set in among all classes when the balance began to turn towards greater specific freedom” (Miller, 16). This sentence llustrates that the witch-hunt was the product of mass-panic, just as the hunt for communists was. The Crucible is not fully relatable to McCarthyism. As Miller himself states his article “Why I Composed The Crucible” in The New Yorker: “McCarthy’s power to stir worries of sneaking communism was not totally based upon illusion”, whereas the witch-hunt in Salem was totally based upon illusion since witches do not exist as far as we understand. Nevertheless, there are many more points that highlight similarities between the Crucible and McCarthyism, for example the dark forest in the play. The Salem folk thought that the virgin forest was the Devil’s last protect, his home and the citadel of his last stand” (Miller, 15). Given that Salem was surrounded by that forest, individuals thought they were surrounded by the Devil. In McCarthyism Age, the worry of being surrounded and infiltrated by communists was at its highest point. In this case, the Devil in The Crucible represents communism in the McCarthy era. In conclusion, it is clear that Miller’s play The Crucible has lots of resemblances with the worry of communism during the McCarthy Age.
However we ought to not see this play as a best representation of those occasions led by Joseph McCarthy in the 1950’s, since there also points that do not match in between the play and the McCarthy period. Instead we ought to take this play as a powerful example of how fear and hysteria can cause chaos in a society. Works Cited Miller, Arthur. The Crucible (Penguin Classics). London: Penguin Classics, 2003. Miller, Arthur. “Why I Composed The Crucible: An Artist’s Response to Politics.” New Yorker 21 (1996 ). Powered by TCPDF (www. tcpdf. org) 1/ 1