The Crucible Versus McCarthyism: A Comparative Analysis

The Crucible vs. McCarthyism

Throughout the early 1690s in Salem, Massachusetts, witch trials happened. Salem was a Puritan society at the time, which meant that there was a stringent values that incorporated Puritan way of life. The notion of the Devil brought fear to Puritans along with the act of witchcraft, taking into consideration that Puritans were really religious. In the year of 1938 HUAC, Home of Un-American Activities Committee, was developed. HUAC took to examining specific groups of people throughout the time of the Cold War in order to reveal individuals believed of being a part of the Communist party. HUAC brought about mass hysteria due to the worry of communism by employing particular strategies. There were public hearings in which witnesses were required to provide information or names of those who were possible communists. The Hollywood Ten included well-known screenwriters, directors, and manufacturers who were blacklisted so that they wouldn’t have the ability to find work.

In addition, the occasions which occurred during the Salem witch trials as shown in The Crucible are quite comparable to those of the McCarthy period. Accusations accompanied very little evidence in both events. In The Crucible, people were accused of being witches and doing the Devil’s work, while people were implicated of being communists in the McCarthy era. John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse were well-respected individuals in the Salem community who were accused of witchcraft, despite their great reputations. Joseph McCarthy implicated individuals of being communists without paying heed to whether his allegations were accurate or not. Also, Credibilities were impeded in both cases. John Proctor’s track record was very crucial to him, and he knew that it would affect his sons adversely when he was sentenced to hang. Hollywood film writers who were blacklisted had to work under false names.

With that in mind, the themes of The Crucible can be seen in certain social problems that take place worldwide today. Among these themes is calling names, in which the implicated takes the attention or blame off of themselves by calling others out. This theme can be shown in the act of bullying, in which the bully can harm someone and then blame another individual without anyone understanding. At the end of Act One in The Crucible, Abigail Williams, Tituba, and Betty Parris confess to witchcraft, however name names of others they had actually seen with the Devil in order to protect themselves. Another style seen in the play is that of hysteria. There was excellent hysteria in the Salem neighborhood with the threat of witchcraft. Although people were able to get out of difficulty by calling names, those who didn’t admit to witchcraft were assumed to be witches. Today, terrorist attacks and mass shootings would obviously excite fear in the general public. In a different element, political accuracy can produce fear of upseting somebody or utilizing the incorrect word choice.

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