The Crucible McCarthyism Essay Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible in 1953, as his take upon a series of radical trials in a time known as McCarthyism. Following World War II, while United States military forces left, Russian soldiers stayed in Europe. Many broken countries were “adopted” into a Union with Soviet Russia and the spread of communism was alarming to politically opposed America. In 1950, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy made a significant speech in which he spoke out against communism in which he had named over 200 individuals whom seemed loyal to the Communist Party.
After noticing Americans were beginning to become frightened of an outbreak of communism in the United States, McCarthy was made chairman of the Government Committee on Operations of the Senate, which gave him the opportunity to investigate the possibility of government infiltration of Soviet ideals. The New York-born playwright saw a parallel with the McCarthy trials and the Salem Witch Trials. Despite a 260 year gap, the actions and manners taken in both incidents were corresponding to a point of “exact similarity. For the period of extreme sensitivity to the point of censorship, Miller has to state his opinion without saying a word of it himself. The absurdity of the actions and event that unfolded in the pages of the four-act play creates the same understanding in the audience: all those trials are recursive, pointless, and only malicious. Within the play, the cry of “Witch! ” was seemingly enough to bring people into trial. Evidence was limited to an initial accusation (after all, if you weren’t, why won’t someone say you were? and some testimonies that rang of gossip more than sworn word. But the similarity to be focused upon here is not the trail (not quite yet) but of the escalation of the indictments. Abigail started the cry of dark magic after seeing that she was being threatened of her person. To protect herself, Abigail accused the black slave (a foreigner for comparability to the McCarthy trials) of the occult and the accused says whatever she needs to feeling that would free her.
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One name leads to four others which then lead to hundreds accused. With any defense for the defendant easily written off as “That is what a witch (or commie) would say,” like the victims of the blame in Salem, most people had to confess to suffer only the lesser punishment. The method in which both trials were conducted is also very similar. The judge is set very high up, to look down upon the defendant.
Even the jury watching seem higher than the charged and all questions are orientated in a yes or no format that only circle around and around until admittance is the only way out. Attacks are made to the character of each accused and others fear speaking out in case they would seem supportive or even also guilty of the charges. In a time of genuine fear of the things happening and things unexplainable, people wanted some to fear and soon everyone was guilty of that fear. The Crucible was written with irony of a time of irony during a time with irony.
It should be known that just as one by one virtually every person of sensible opinion and reason was accused and convicted, Miller almost wrote his own future; just as it was first friends who were the target of the telling of witchcraft, Miller’s friends were accused of being communists. In 1956, the playwright was taken to trial himself and was found guilty of beliefs in Communism. The verdict was overturned in an appeals court the following court. John Proctor had his goodness while convicted, as did Miller.