Themes In The Crucible, By Arthur Miller

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There are many choices humans have to make in their lifetimes, but many never have to choose between sacrificing another to save themselves. This is a decision that will bring out the true character of a person and in some cases will show the loyalty of said person. A decision like this should never be forced onto anyone but in many cases it was during two big time periods in the history of the United States. Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible tells the story of the town of Salem, Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials. The Crucible has many themes similar to those presented in John Hoerr’s novel about the Cold War Harry, Tom and Father Rice.
The Crucible is a play by Arthur Miller that allows the audience to experience what life might
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This word can be used to describe the atmosphere of Salem during the trials and America during the Red Scare. Harry, Tom, and Father Rice allows the reader to understand that the hysteria began when rumours of communist infiltrating the government and other institutions began circulating the U.S. Hoerr draws off of David Caute, who describes Pittsburg as “the violent epicenter of the anti-Communist eruption in postwar America, to help him present the a theme of hysteria. Hoerr says, “Caute is not referring to here so much to physical violence as to the violence done to justice when poor sense and fair play give way to paranoid actions based on scaremongering by demagogues.”(133) Arthur Miller draws on this theme of hysteria as well. Miller’s use of a play really allows him to show the audience the power of fear and it affects on the townspeople. We can see that there is fear in Salem when Danforth responds to Hale about the state of fear in the country saying “Reproach me not with the fear in the country; there is fear in the country because there is a moving plot to topple Christ in the country!”(Miller 97) Danforth tells Hale that the people are scared the witches are going to destroy Salem. John Hoerr uses Harry, Tom, and Father to show how hysteria can have an effect in the lives of real people. Arthur Miller uses The Crucible as a way to convey the power …show more content…
These emotions were most noticeable during the time of McCarthyism from 1950-54. McCarthyism was the strident campaign against the communist in the US Government and other institutions. Many times people were forced to give up names of other “spies” or suffer the consequences. John Hoerr really brings light to how the McCarthy hearings affected regular people not just the big name stars or politicians. Most of the time, even if they weren’t communist people lost jobs and had their lives destroyed because of the McCarthy hearing. These hearings allowed people to accuse others of personal benefit without any consequences. Arthur Miller is able to incorporate this theme of McCarthyism into The Crucible. When accused of witchcraft one would have to confess or pay the consequences and many times they would accuse others of witchcraft as well. “Danforth: Mr. Putnam, I have here an accusation by Mr. Corey against you. He states that you coldly prompted your daughter to cry witchery upon George Jacobs that is now in jail.”(Miller 81) Here we can see how some people would attempt to use these trials to their advantage. In both the novel and the play we see a select few that hold a position of power and can accuse anyone of witchcraft and all will believe them. These few people would ruin lives of countless others and many times it was for revenge or personal gain. McCarthyism is a theme that is present in not

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