The Crucible vs. the 1950's Red Scare

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The Crucible vs. The 1950’s Red Scare A time ruled by terror, not knowing if you can even trust your neighbor, widespread hysteria; this can only describe one time in history. Oh wait, nevermind. It actually is two very similar events: The Salem Witch Trials and The 1950’s Red Scare. In American history, times cannot get much darker than either of these. Those accused(either of witchcraft or communism) had nowhere to run. Trapped in an endless torrent of accusations and unjust punishment, they lived their lives in fear of what the next day would drop their doorstep. Literary critic Philip G. Hill states an important point in his essay on The Crucible: “From the short view inescapably adopted by critics themselves caught up in the hysteria of McCarthyism, the play may well have seemed to push too hard the obvious parallels between the witch-hunting in Salem of 1692 and ‘witch-hunting’ in the Washington and New York of 1952.” Senator Joseph McCarthy and Abigail Williams(from the play) shared the same mindset. They made life miserable for those accused and did not stop, even when they had had their “fun”. The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, draws obvious parallels between the 1950’s Red Scare and the witch-hunts that took place in Salem of 1692. Miller connects the hysteria brought about through accusations thrown around by both Senator McCarthy and Abigail Williams by emphasizing how much power their groups hold over everyone. During the times of the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare, fear ruled those unfortunate enough to be involved in nearly any conflict. Be it fear of witchcraft or communism,the fact is that it swept throughout the early and post-industrial United States. This confusion and insanity called for someone to take the reins. Who better than a communist-phobic senator? Or, better yet, how about a bored teenage girl? A

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