The Crucible is more than a dramatic play; it has an underlying, yet obvious message. When The Crucible was written many people refused to think for themselves concerning the trials of prospected communist, and Arthur Miller was the first. In The Crucible, Arthur Miller, uses the Salem witch trials of 1692 to exhibit the dangerous McCarthyism, the bystander effect, and mass hysteria.
In the 1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy said "The State Department is infested with communists. I have here in my hand a list of 205…a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.” (Griffith, Robert (1970). The Politics of Fear: Joseph R. McCarthy and the Senate. University of Massachusetts Press. pp. 49.) This speech caused a mass man hunt to unveil, prosecute and punish all people thought to be working for the Soviet Union. The trials were very one sided, as were the Salem witch trials. The people questioned were lead to a dead end. Confess and give name, a person is free, but if denied a charge or refused to answer the House committee on Un-American activities question the convicted would face jail time, or even death. These committees of the 1950’s are shockingly similar to the Salem witch trials nearly 250 years prior. The most famous people accused of espionage during this time period were the Hollywood Ten. This was a group of playwrights that were accused of espionage and later imprisoned for contempt because they kept silent during questioning. Arthur Miller was one of the Hollywood ten. He wrote The Crucible to warm people, using a historic event, of the current mentality of the American people.
One of the topics presented is the bystander effect. The bystander effect is when one sees immoral actions taking place, but fells mediocre and takes no action. The dark side of the bystander effect shows itself very strong in both The...
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