Similarities Between The Crucible And Mccarthyism

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The Crucible, seen as one of the most exquisitely written plays ever has many interesting parallels to McCarthyism. The Crucible is a hyperbolized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem Witch Trials that went on in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the years of 1692 and 1693. The interesting thing about The Crucible is that it was written during the height of the Red Scare. That is why comparisons are able to be drawn between the two subjects. That is also why the word McCarthyism is a common term that comes to the minds of those aware of what it means. The term McCarthyism originates from the young and ambitious Senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy himself. During the time of the Red Scare, people were getting accused left and right …show more content…
This was a consistent problem in both The Crucible and during McCarthy’s time period. An example in The Crucible would be when Joseph McCarthy, U.S. Senator, made unsubstantiated claims that more than 200 "card carrying" members of the Communist party had infiltrated the United States government. He had no proof. This occurred in Wheeling, West Virginia on February 9, 1950. Two days after the speech in Wheeling, McCarthy wrote a combative letter to President Truman, saying that he possessed “the names of 57 Communists who are in the State Department at present.” In the following weeks, McCarthy bumped this number up to 81 and then shaved it down 10. McCarthy never made the list public. In the The Crucible a very similar situation occurred when delusional girls made unsubstantiated claims about the witches in Salem. They also had no proof at all. This was because witchcraft was different from “an ordinary crime” because of its intangibility. Reverend Hale says, “ I am a minister of the Lord, and I dare not take a life without there be a proof so immaculate no slightest qualm of conscience may doubt it.” Here he is basically saying that without quality proof these innocent people should not be put to …show more content…
One of the most significant though is when suspected as a traitor the victims would be forced to either give names or face jail time, economic ruin or even death. In an excerpt taken from a letter written by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein to a New York school teacher he clearly warns about economic ruin and even persecution. And I quote, “he must be prepared for jail and economic ruin, in short, for the sacrifice of his personal welfare in the interest of the cultural welfare of his country….” The Crucible also includes an example of this parallel. This can be found in Act IV, when Giles Corey has been condemned for not giving names of other suspected witches. In other words, he’s been indicted, meaning he’s performed a very serious crime. Giles Corey was literally pressed to death by rocks for not confessing. “Proctor: Then how does he die? Elizabeth, gently: They press him, John” This conversation reveals the extent to how far these people would go to get answers and

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