The Crucible and Mccarthyism

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In the 1950’s, American citizens faced the threat of looming nuclear annihilation that was posed by the Soviet Union and it’s satellite nations. America took many steps to curb the spread of the common enemy: communism. These steps included an arms race, cryptology, and national efforts by the civilian population. One of the national efforts was the creation of Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings into the depth of the American Communist Party. Arthur Miller uses his play The Crucible as an allegory for the McCarthy Hearings through characters, and events that take place in the play.

Much like the persecution that perceived communists endured during the McCarthy investigations, the people in the town of Salem, Massachusetts endured considerable strife as a result of accusations when fellow citizen’s named them as witches. On page fifty-nine Marry Warren and Elizabeth have the following exchange:

Marry Warren, pointing at Elizabeth: I saved her life today! Silence. His whip comes down.
Elizabeth, softly: I am accused?
Marry Warren, quaking: Somewhat mentioned. But I said I never seen no sign you ever sent your spirit out to hurt no one, and seeing as I do live so closely with you, they dismissed it.

After the accusations that Betty and Abigail made about the majority of women in town being witches, Reverend Hale began witch trials concerning any and all mentioned names. Similarly, Senator McCarthy took his list of 205 Communists that he would later pursue in federal hearings, about ties to the American Communist Party. He would increase the scope of his investigation to more then ten or twelve thousand if you include those that lost their jobs. The punishment in Salem although not widespread did have more dire consequences resulting in many loosing their lives like Proctor and Rebecca Nurse being led to the gallows at the end of the play.

The reverend Hale takes a very sympathetic view toward the “criminals” by offering amnesty so that they can be...
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