Art and Society
The Crucible is a play that explains the chaos of the Salem Witch Trials. It is also insight into the roles of society during the early years of America. Arthur Miller wrote this acclaimed play in 1953. This was a time governed by fear and chaos very similar to that of the Salem Witch Trials. The roles of society during McCarthyism and the 1950’s can be compared to that of the Salem Witch Trial era. Joseph McCarthy created what is now known as McCarthyism, which can be argued as the 20th century version of a witch hunt. Miller drew many parallels between McCarthyism and The Salem Witch Trials represented in The Crucible.
McCarthyism was created by the Red Scare which was a time period where there was a fear of communism. The meaning behind the Red Scare has many similarities to the general fear that the people of Salem had of witches and witchcraft. In both cases many innocent people were tried and convicted on very little or no evidence. In the 1700’s being convicted meant being put to death. During the 1950’s being convicted meant something very similar. A person was not physically put to death but they were “blacklisted”, their careers were ruined and they became societal outcasts.
The Character of Abigail Williams is very representative of Joseph McCarthy. They are both individuals trying to persuade people to go off the path. They were both trying to create hysteria for their own selfish reasons. For Abigail it was to win back the love of John Proctor and then later turned into a plot of revenge against him when he rejected her. For McCarthy it was purely to advance his political career and to get re-elected as senator. For both of them if they were not the ones in control and doing the accusing then they probably would have become the accused.