Symbolism in The Crucible
By Ben White
When Arthur Miller wrote his play “The Crucible” in 1953, the whole world was entering into a war on Communists, the Cold War. During this time, Senator Joseph McCarthy began a hunt for all Communists and many innocent people were punished. This caused Arthur Miller write “The Crucible”, which portrays McCarthy’s injustice through the story of the Salem Witch Trials.
In Act III of the play, Giles Corey is trying to prove that Thomas Putnam is getting the girls to accuse people so he can get their land. Amidst his accusations, Judge Hathorne says he is trying to overthrow the court and soon he is arrested for contempt of court. This is much like the McCarthy Era. In court, the accused (and innocent) people would attempt to get out of questioning by pleading the 5th Amendment. In any other case, they would be safe from contempt of court, but not here. Many innocent (much like Giles Corey) were arrested for contempt of court.
In the final act of The Crucible, John Proctor decides he's going to confess, even though it's ap lie, so he can be kept alive. When he confesses, Judge Danforth plans to
hang his confession on the church door, which will excommunicate him from the church and most likely Salem. This is much like the McCarthy trials. Many innocent people were blacklisted just for being accused of communism, meaning that they lost their reputation and a lot of times, their job.
Even though the McCarthy Era took place 260 years after the Salem Witch Trials, The Crucible symbolizes the injustice of the time accurately.
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