Mrs. Press Period 2
English 10 H
The Crucible Essay
The play, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller is a cautionary tale. Miller warns his audience that the witch hunts and the Salem Witch Trials was a very tragic time period and we must not mimic what had occurred in the past in 1692. This affected many aspects of people’s lives. It cautions us to keep history from repeating itself. A way to prevent this is to avoid tolerance against ignorant power hungry officials at all cost so that lives may be spared.
Power hungry men often use fear and paranoia to gain their positions. In the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy “brash and ill mannered but to many authentic and true” (Article page 1), was very convincing in his supremacy. He warned the citizens of the United States that “we had lost to China” and Communism would spread to Europe too. This put fear and paranoia into millions and created “The Red Scare” that ruined many aspects of people lives, putting them into a mass panic. As a result of this, Arthur Miller created the character in his play, “The Crucible” who is a McCarthy-like character named Judge Thomas Danforth, who spread the fear of witchcraft among many people while encouraging his own power in 1692 during the Salem Witch Trials. He announces to the people of Salem that “near to four hundred are in jails from Marblehead to Lynn, upon [his] signature” (The Crucible page 87), which is reinforcing his power to everyone to ensure that they know that he is their superior and has much power over them. Had people questioned either of these men’s authority, their power may have been stripped and lives may have been spared. Unfortunately, nobody actually doubted or suspected any of their mannerisms, and people were also scared of Joseph McCarthy and Thomas Danforth. They would probably be executed if someone had doubted the ruler or questioned them. Yet, one life lost in the result of millions after that seems like a sensible thought.