The Real Meaning of The Crucible
In The Crucible, Arthur Miller comments on the absurdity of historical events or organizations such as the HUAC, McCarthyism, and the Red Scare by the accusations and reactions of the characters in the book.
The HUAC (House Committee on Un-American Activities) was a committee started in 1934 to keep an eye on behavior that they thought to be subversive. The committee was created to keep and eye on all types of subversive behavior, but had a tendency to focus on people they thought were socialists or communists. The members of this committee had an abundance of power. They could accuse someone of subversive behavior or actions and could ask for a testimony. If the accused refused the testimony they would be blacklisted(Simkin). In The Crucible, Miller portrays Thomas Danforth and John Hathorne, judges in The Crucible, as the HUAC of the book. The townspeople of Salem are continuously accusing other people in the town of practicing witchcraft. Then the accused people are forced to testify. If the accused person admits to practicing witchcraft then they are not killed. If the accused person denies that he or she is a witch, they are killed(Miller). Miller is symbolizing the judges in the book to the HUAC. He is commenting on the irony of the HUAC and the judges in the Salem Witch Trials. Miller is showing that that the bias behavior of the HUAC to communists or socialists and the ironic punishment of the accused townspeople from the Salem Witch Trials in The Crucible are alike.
McCarthyism is a practice named after a United States Senator named Joseph McCarthy who also was a member of the HUAC. McCarthyism is used when a person is accused of subversion or any other action that would harm the country or government without any proof. The act of McCarthyism refers mostly to the accusations of many innocent people being a communist or socialist. In The Crucible, several townspeople are tried for being witches and practicing...
Cited: Simkin, John. “Un-American Activities Committee.” Spartacus Educational. 12 April 2010.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York: Penguin, 1987.
Simkin, John. “McCarthyism.” Spartacus Eductional. 12 April 2010.
Simkin, John. “Red Scare.” Spartacus Educational. 12 April 2010.
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