November 15, 2012
The Crucible vs. McCarthyism
Groupthink has been part of society for many years, and has often caused many conflicts amongst the people. Groupthink is a way of thinking the group members use when their desire for agreement or harmony over rides their motivation to try different things or consider other opinions. One type of groupthink is pressure for conformity. Pressure for conformity is when members pressure anyone in the group who expresses arguments against the group’s stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, viewing such oppositions as disloyalty. The Crucible is a historical play based on the events of the Salem witch trial in a small puritan colony located in Massachusetts in 1692. Abigail Williams is the main person who is accusing all these other people of practicing witchcraft and pressures a group of girls into believing what she says. She also had affair with John Proctor, whose wife has been accused of witchcraft. John proctor pressures one of Abigail’s minions, Mary Warren, to tell the court about how Abigail has been deceiving them, in order to try and save his wife’s life. The Crucible is an allegory for McCarthyism. McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The main person making accusations about people who were communist was Joseph McCarthy. Pressure for conformity is evident in both The Crucible and McCarthyism. Pressure for conformity is evident in The Crucible through many characters forcing others to join their side or confess. To prevent herself from getting in trouble, Abigail threatens the girls so that they will not tell the truth about what really happened. She says “let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of the night and I will bring a sharp pointy reckoning that will shudder you” (Miller 20). Abigail is pressuring the girls...