While the Salem witch trials occurred in the late 1600’s, a similar unfortunate situation occurred in the 1950’s with an event called McCarthyism. The Red Scare and the Salem witch trials shared many common characteristics. The similarities include continuous accusations, leading politicians, and the reaction to Satan and communism.
The Salem witch trials and the Red Scare both involved ongoing accusations that led to numerous innocent people being accused. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, local teenage girls accuse women in the town of witchcraft. When the teenage girls first accuse Tituba, the Reverend’s housekeeper, a chain of accusations begin. To avoid death, Tituba accused others in the town causing each of the accused to place blame on others. The Crucible is a metaphor for the accusations made in the 1950’s during the Red Scare era. Senator Joseph McCarthy led the series of allegations with a list of people he felt were related somehow to communism. The list that was compiled grew as more people accused others for personal revenge. The continuous accusing went on until the original list of over 200 grew to almost 10,000. The accusations would not have lead to any consequences without a leader to oversee the proceedings.
Both the Salem witch trials and the Red Scare both had instigators who fueled the hysteria. The Crucible’s Judge Daniforth supervising the trials of those charged of witchcraft. He not only supervised the trials, Judge Daniforth set the punishments for those convicted of witchcraft. It was Judge Daniforth who decided who was to get what punishment although all accused were innocent. The modern Judge Daniforth is Senator Joseph McCarthy who watched over the 1950’s Red Scare era. During the Red Scare, Senator McCarthy oversaw the proceedings and created the House Un-American Committee (HUAC). Sen. McCarthy directed the questioning to all those accused of association with communism. He also decided who was “blacklisted”...
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