The Crucible and the McCarthy Era
Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, captivated audiences through its parallel plot of the Salem Witch Trials to the McCarthy Trials. Miller composed the movie script in 1952 after being implicated of communism to the United States. Throughout the early 1950s, Miller was a famous playwright with numerous successful plays. Joseph McCarthy, a previous U.S. Senator for Wisconsin, began the era called the “Red Scare? numerous individuals were implicated of being communists and soviet spies. The arts society blacklisted Miller after the accusations due to the worry of being associated with a communist. Miller utilized his individual experiences from this event to influence his next play. The Crucible was a humbly viewed production and reflected Miller’s interpretation of what really occurred during the “Red Scare?. Miller used political parallelism, animalistic symbols, and themes of McCarthyism in The Crucible to explain the real occurrences of the period known as the McCarthy Trials.
Using political parallelism in the play shows Miller’s view on how the Salem Witch Trials were similar to the McCarthy Trials. The McCarthy Trials were held on the bases of penalizing communist in the United States. Communism after WWII defied the structure of our government. This threat towards the government resembled what result in the moral panic of the Salem Witch Trials. The federal government of Salem, Massachusetts during 1692 was based upon the puritan religious beliefs. The work of the Devil was seen as witchcraft. The Devil seemed what developed the panic of the townspeople.
Signs of animals are consistent throughout the play. These symbols are not only of physical animals, however the signs also relate to the animal characteristics of the characters themselves. Abigail Williams was the main villain of the play. Her character interacts with much of the animal signs of the play. In Act I Abagail informed John Proctor, “I understand how you clutched my back behind your home and sweated like stallion when I came near!? Abigail was referring to his absence of human qualities. The line displayed how Miller saw his characters as animals. The McCarthy Trials can be connected to Miller’s view of his characters. Throughout the McCarthy Trials individuals would act by any means needed to endure. Aspirations and personal well-being were of the upmost importance. Darwinism took type through accusing other individuals of criminal activities to make themselves appear more superior. In Act III Abigail makes up a depend on court to conserve herself from Marry Warrens’ attempt at admitting the reality. Abigail asks, “Why- Why do you come, yellow bird?? In this line, Abigail gets the idea of Darwinism.
McCarthyism is a concept of the play. Abigail and the other ladies who were seen dancing in the woods were informed that they will not be charged if they determine other individuals who practice witchcraft. In Act I, Reverend Hale concerns Tituba and asks, “Who came with you to the Devil? 2? 3? 4? The number of?? This is similar to the McCarthy Trials. Throughout the McCarthy Trials, a person was told to tell of any other communists they knew of. If the individual decreased to tell of any other, then that person would be charged with contempt to congress. The McCarthy Trials greatly affected The Crucible. Miller utilized political parallelism, animalistic symbols, and motifs of McCarthyism to discuss the real incidents of the period referred to as the McCarthy Trials. The play’s setting is in 1692, yet its similarity to the McCarthy trials is incredible. The play is known as a terrible drama, but it also teaches political lessons.