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The Crucible

By | November 2011
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Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible as a response to Joseph McCarthy’s attempts to search for communists. In it he finds parallels in the witch-hunt of Salem, Mass. in 1692. The Crucible, although never used in the play, is crucial to the play. The reader understands that the girls were just playing in the woods. Arthur Miller’s dark, sinister tone of the story grows as the adults allow the girls to manipulate them creating a crucible that will either destroy them or refine them.

Miller’s purpose in writing The Crucible was to expose Joseph McCarthy’s actions in Washington during the “Red Scare.” He did this to expose the injustice of what McCarthy was doing, as represented by the characters’ actions in the play. For example, the story begins with the girls’ crying out the names of witches after they were simply caught playing in the woods. This is reflected by McCarthy’s anonymity before he cried out the names of people that he believed were “communists,” compared to being known nationwide after he began accusing people. McCarthy began to manipulate people by scaring them enough to follow him even though his actions were completely unjustified and possibly against people’s rights in almost the same exact fashion as Abigail Williams did in the play.

Miller’s representation of the girls’ manipulation of the other characters of the play is shown when John Proctor, Giles Corey, Mary Warren, and Mr. Nurse go to court to stop the executions but ultimately fail because of Abigail’s visions of a yellow bird that was Mary’s “spirit” began haunting the room. Abigail got the rest of the girls to follow her lead just as McCarthy did to many people in the country although he used different tactics. This finally ended with Mary siding with Abigail and turning the court against John Proctor by accusing him of possessing her which finally made the court realize that the entire witch-hunt was mislead and false because Abigail had cried out people’s names that were too high in...

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