The Crucible and McCarthy Trials
The Crucible, essentially an allegory, uses the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials to symbolize the 1950s anti-Communist purges (Bloom). Arthur Miller's Crucible was first presented in New York on January 22, 1953, when Senator Joeseph McCarthy's House Committee on Un-American Activities was casting a pall over the arts in America (Masterplots). Senator Joseph McCarthy accused many American leaders of being communists, which lead to many unfounded accusations that others were also communists. McCarthy was, in effect, conducting "witch hunts" (Bellmore). If you opposed to the Salem Witch trials, you were accused of being a witch. If you opposed the McCarthy investigations, you were accused of being a communist. Those accused suffered great consequences in both the Crucible and the McCarthy trials. Miller's theme is the politics of fear and the persecution of dissidents. The victims in the Crucible and the McCarthy trials have many similar aspects. The accused were not fairly tried and were convicted on limited evidence. During the witch trials the girls would point at someone they disliked, and accuse them of practicing witchcraft. It did not matter whether they were innocent or guilty, since they were accused, they would be convicte . . .
People lost their jobs in the McCarthy trials because the accused refused to say under oath whether or not they were Communists. Joseph McCarthy accused people of being communists without having substantial evidence. The main victims of the McCarthy trials were actors and writers who were then blacklisted, which made it hard for them to get a job even after the McCarthy trials ended. You selected, Tituba, you are chosen to help us cleanse out our village" (46). In either instance, innocent people were convicted and had their lives ruined. These people have many characteristics in common. Hale viewed the witchcraft situation as a battle requiring tremendous strength and courage: "God's instrument put...
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