Political Allegory In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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In the article “Why I Wrote The Crucible: An Artist’s Answer to politics”, Miller states that The Crucible was written as a political allegory that used the Salem Witch Trials to mirror the horror brought about by the Second Red Scare, doing this allowed him to use the historical setting of the Witch Trials to draw attention to the atrociousness of McCarthyism. Miller thus provided the audience with a strong political allegory, which enabled him reveal prominent issues of his time through what was seemingly historical fiction. He does this through making the point that witches, despite not being real, were viewed as a threat to society. He also highlights the hysteria that plagued the nation and the fear spread by the trials.
Many argue that McCarthyism cannot be compared to the Witch Trial because unlike the fictitious witches, communists actually existed. Miller states that
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This fear of witches and communists is what allowed each respective trial to perpetuate. “[T]he play seems to present the same primeval structure of human sacrifice to the furies of fanaticism and paranoia that goes on repeating itself as though imbedded in the brain of social man” (“Why I Wrote The Crucible” 5). The paranoia brought upon by the Second Red Scare put the public into a trance that made them blind to the unethical trials held by Congress. This is seen in the play by the hysteria that the spread through Salem. Elizabeth Proctor states “The Deputy Governor promise hangin’ if they’ll [the accused witches] not confess John. The town’s gone wild I think” (The Crucible 52). Increasing amounts of people succumbed to the mob-mentality and found themselves unable to see the trials fault, and subsequently, false accusation of guilt transformed into a full-fledged trial. In both cases the public’s reaction to these poorly conducted trials many innocent people lost their reputations or their

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