Salem Witch Trials And Mccarthyism In The Crucible By Arthur Miller

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People say history is learned to make sure the same mistakes are not repeated. However, this is not the case for American history; in America, citizens have experienced similar negative events. For instance, the Salem Witch Trials occurred in the 1690s, and McCarthyism arose in the 1950s. These time periods both involve people inaccurately accusing others, being put on trial, and often having innocent citizens punished or put to death. Arthur Miller saw how unfair and unreasonable the government was being, when he was one of the many individuals to be called to Congress to give a list of suspicious people. Due to his experiences in the 1950s, Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible to portray the similarities between the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism. …show more content…
In both time periods, there was mass hysteria with people’s minds believing insane things. Hysteria is often referred to as collective delusion, which is the spontaneous rapid spread of false or exaggerated beliefs that can especially affect a tightly knit community (“Merriam-Webster”). This definition perfectly describes the events in Salem and during McCarthyism because both societies had unrealistic and fabricated beliefs that were unrealistic at many points. One of the many symptoms of hysteria is an act of rebellion. In The Crucible, Abigail is seen constantly rebelling. She has a ritual in the woods that goes against her Puritan beliefs (Miller 1136). Abigail continuously ignores her morals by disrespecting elders and rejecting authority, like when she calls Goody Proctor a “gossiping liar” (Miller 1132). In both time periods hysteria causes citizens to act irrationally and they are emotionally driven towards a perceived threat. People of Salem feared witches, and people of 1950s feared communists. These fears caused people to act out and accuse others just because they were paranoid. Paranoia and hysteria increased when rumors were spread about citizens of the community. Many people named names and pointed fingers at others to save themselves, it “could have even been neighbor’s accusing neighbors of witchcraft or communism” (Brater 1). Unfortunately the majority of the time, citizens believed these rumors even if there was no reasoning or proof behind it. If a person’s name was blacklisted their name was tarnished and their reputation was ruined forever because communities assumed that the blacklist was always truthful. During McCarthyism, the committee asked for names of suspected communists, and “many were blacklisted, fired from their job, and would not be hired elsewhere” (Miller 1). In The Crucible, Proctor

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