The Parallels Between the Salem Witch Trials and Mccarthyism

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In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, John Proctor proclaims “Because it is my name! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of those who hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” This quote shows both the dilemma in the Salem Witch Trials, which Arthur Miller set his story in, and the era of McCarthyism which he kind of writes about; John was going to confess to being a witch but couldn’t because he didn’t want to ruin his name for his family. He was an innocent man but died because he didn’t confess. This is very similar to what was happening during the 50’s when McCarthyism first started. Arthur Miller’s use of the Salem Witch Trials in the Crucible demonstrates an effective comparison between the injustices of the late 1600’s and those of his own time during the McCarthyism Era.

In the case of both the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism, the government that was in the lead at the time was out of control and had too much power. With the Witch Trials, the judges, like Hathorne, had ultimate power; they arrested anyone and everyone who was accused by another person and everyone was then put on trial. The judges all called court whenever they wanted. One example of this is Giles Corey. Giles did not want to give up the name of the person who gave him his information, so Judge Danforth says “you are a foolish old man. Mr. Cheever, begin the record. The court is now in session.” But when putting Giles on trial doesn’t break him into giving any names, they torture him by putting stones upon his chest yet still does not confess or accuse anyone else despite his curtain death. The same thing could be said about the United States Government during McCarthyism; Senator Joseph McCarthy claimed he had a list of over two hundred people in the State Department that were communists and who were known members of the American Communist party. This list that he was supposed to have caused the...
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