Mccarthyism and the Crucible
Throughout Joseph McCarthy accusations of communism there was talk of some of his victims possibly being innocent. One of these victims that was allegedly innocent was Arthur Miller. Miller, because he was wronged by the law, decided to write a similar story to the events of the McCarthy trials in order to make McCarthy ideals seem flawed. Miller believed that if he could write a story to prove the accusations incorrect he would be able to re- establish his respectable reputation.This story is known as “The Crucible”, a story about the Salem Witch Trials and how the townspeople were falsely accused of witchcraft, but couldn’t do anything to plead there innocence. Miller managed to show through “The Crucible”, how ridiculous McCarthy accusations were and how it was very unfair that many people’s lives were ruined because of this man.
Throughout the play “The Crucible”, Arthur Miller tried to show many similarities between both of the trials and they way they were conducted.Miller showed similarities such as inconsistent reasons for accusing people and portrayed himself as the main character known as John Proctor who was a good citizen and only got involved in the whole fiasco to ray and fight for justice. Arthur Miller, born in 1915, grew up in New York to a Jewish family. His mother was a woman’s clothing manufacturer who lost everything due to the poor economy of the sass’s. Miller knew that with his family’s lack of money it would not be possible for them to afford for him to go to college.After high school, Miller worked in a warehouse to earn enough money to attend the University of Michigan where he began to write plays. “The Man Who Had All the Luck”, was his first play to make it to Broadway in 1 944 and was a complete failure closing only after four showings leaving Miller horribly pressed.
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This setback caused Miller to consider giving up on writing all together, however he knew he would eventually regret this decision and decided to give himself on more chance at success. He knew that he could write better and immediately went back to work. Summary) After three years of practicing and improving on his writing techniques, Arthur Miller returned to Broadway with high hopes. In 1 947, “All My Sons” was declared the best play of the year and sent Miller and theatrical stardom. Although his new play was a huge success, many critics still questioned his rioting talent by saying that he was simply a one hit wonder. That same year Miller secured his reputation as one of the nation’s foremost playwrights after releasing “Death of a Salesman”, which managed to win a Tony Award, a Pulitzer Prize and is still being revived today in film and on television.After “Death of a Salesman”, Miller continued to produce many successful plays, however none of his plays are as memorable as “The Crucible”, and not just because of the well-written story.
He had no idea that he would eventually be targeted for communism by a power hungry senator. (graveside) Joseph McCarthy was born in 1908 on a farm in Wisconsin to a devout Christian family. At the age of fourteen, McCarthy left school in order to work as a chicken farmer before eventually managing a grocery store in a nearby town. In 1 928, he returned to high school and graduated in only one year.He eventually went to college at Marquette University in Milwaukee where he studied to be a lawyer and graduated in 1935. After college, he became a rather unsuccessful lawyer and had to balance out his income by playing games of poker. After failing to join the Democratic party, he switched over to he Republicans and won an election over Edgar Werner to be elected judge of the tenth judicial circuit of Wisconsin in 1939.
While running against Werner, he shocked many by running a mudslinging campaign to make his opponent look unfit for the job.By the way he campaigned against Werner in this election showed the entire country that he would go to any lengths to prove his point or reach his goal. (Asparagus) Upon America’s entrance into World War II, McCarthy resigned fro his court judge position and entered the U. S. Marines. When returning from the war, McCarthy decided to run to become a Republican candidate for the senate. He believed that due to the fact that he was involved in the war there was no chance that the public wouldn’t want him to represent them.
McCarthy decided to use his time in the military to his full advantage; most of his campaigns featured him in full fighting gear. He also claimed to have successfully completed over thirty two missions when it had been proven that he had a desk job and only flew in training exercises. McCarthy far fetched stories, however didn’t stop at his own past, he began making up stories in rider to attack his opponent Robert La Foliate. In the end, McCarthy ended up winning after virtually destroying Robert La Follicle’s career in politics.McCarthy damaged Follicle’s reputation so profusely that he resigned from politics completely and eventually committed suicide. (Asparagus) During McCarthy time as a senator, he did various things that people didn’t agree with. After his first few unimpressive years in the senate he began being investigated for tax offenses and for taking bribes from the Pepsi Cola Company.
He realized that he had to do something to get all of the negative erasure off of him so in 1 950 he called a private meeting.Only his closest friends and advisors were allowed to enter the meeting in which he talked to them about how he could retain his spot in the senate. Edmund Walsh gave him the idea of going on a campaign against communist subversives working in the Democratic administration. Jack Anderson provided McCarthy with a long list of politicians that could possibly be involved in the communist party. On February 9th, 1950 McCarthy announced that he knew of two-hundred and five politicians that were involved in the communist party and that they ere feeding information directly to the Soviet Union. Asparagus) The term McCarthy came about due to the escapades of Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy. The term began to be used when Joseph McCarthy started his search to root out public figures involved with the communist party.
While on the hunt for communists, McCarthy would show no mercy and go to any lengths in order to prove his case true. Critics stated that his accusations were wild, baseless and that it was clear that McCarthy only did this to keep his spot in the senate. As people began to question his tacticsMcCarthy and his admirers responded by saying that it was merely “Americanism with its sleeves rolled up”. Over the years, as Joseph McCarthy was no longer involved in politics and the fear of communism began to die down, the term was still used to characterize anti-communism groups in America. In the end, even though there were cases in which McCarthy managed to root out actual communist supporters all of his muckraking, lies, and negative enforcement led to the downfall of the McCarthy era. Eventually after three-thousand federal employees were questioned, includingMcCarthy, it was made clear that many of his accusations were false and many of the charges were dropped. (bookmarks) In 1957, Arthur Miller was convicted of contempt of congress by Senator Joseph McCarthy.
The conviction was one of many brought up due to evidence of a communist conspiracy to misuse American passports. Miller, who Was now married to Marilyn Monroe, stated that he had been warned that he would be attacked by McCarthy just as many of his acquaintances have and that he would refuse to back down.Miller knew that he was innocent, but he was also aware of McCarthy fierce tactics in order to win a ease. Before Miller was sent to court he tried to plead his innocence fully aware that his chances were slim to non, and after failing to do so he was sent before the House of Un-American Activities Committee. (news) Miller, although very angry about the accusation, was said to be very cooperative during the trial. Miller knew that if he was to act out of order in court or seem disrespectful in any way that it would severely cut down his chances on winning the case.All of the questions that he refused to answer were deemed unnecessary to the case and had no relations with the passport inquiry.
His counsel argued that the committee was simply trying to expose the playwright for exposures sake which is illegal. However, Judge McLaughlin found that the HUGH did have the right to look into the passport regulations and they found that he did have trouble receiving a passport from the State Department. Miller admitted that there were two very short periods, in 1 940 and 1 947, in which he had been close to communist activity so he could see where they might get these ideas.He also made it clear that although he was close the communist activity, his allegiances had always been and will always e with the united States. (news) After an exhausting six day trial, Arthur Miller was announced guilty by Federal Judge McLaughlin. The day the court an announced their final verdict Miller was not in court. There was no exact date announced for sentencing, but it was made clear that the case would automatically go to an appeal.
After hearing the result of the trial Miller state, “I have not comment to make, nor does my wife”.Miller knew that he had been wronged and many of his us porters knew this too and some even spoke out against the verdict. The session made about this case was bound to question the whole system on congressional inquiries and their impingement of individual rights. In 1957, the verdict was reversed in appeals court allowing Arthur Miller to finally put the accusation behind him and return to his everyday life. (news) Miller’s inspirations for writing “The Crucible” clearly came from experiencing the McCarthy trials first hand.At the time, Senator Joseph McCarthy was head of a committee to question people about their relations to the communist party and eventually Arthur Miller himself was being accused. Writing “The Crucible” was his way of saving his career as there was a chance he had been black listed by the HIJACK.
Being blacklisted by the HIJACK meant that they believed that you were most likely involved in illegal activity and wouldn’t be allowed inside or to visit certain places.By releasing the play many people realized the similarities between the two events and began to see that the accusations were clearly far fetched at times. On top of the fact that Miller wanted to clear his name, he knew that this story would be a hit because of the time period in which he wrote it. He play was more successful than he had imagined. It attracted so much publicity that it marked him as one of the greatest play writes to ever live. Owe) Miller was able to string together various similarities between the McCarthy and Salem Trials in order to write “The Crucible”. Just as McCarthy would accuse people of communism with little evidence, people such as Abigail Williams and Mr.
. Putnam from “The Crucible” would do the same thing. The townspeople in ‘The Crucible” began being bribed to drop names of possible witches, if they were to cooperate they would be spared and not convicted of Ithaca. This can be compared to the black list created by the House of Un- American Activities Committee.They used the black list as punishment for those who refused to cooperate with the committee in an attempt to get people to fess up about anything that they might know. The moment something odd was discovered about someone they would be accused almost immediately such as when a doll was found in the house of Elizabeth Proctor. As soon as the doll was found Mrs.
. Proctor told them that it wasn’t hers, but it was already to late. Joseph McCarthy was so set on finding unionists that he would use any lead he could find to get one of his victims on the stand.It is also said that Arthur Miller used John Proctor to portray himself during these unfortunate events. John Proctor only got involved with the witch trials because he saw them unjust, whereas Miller wrote ‘The Crucible” to speak his mind on how he thought McCarthy accusations were unfair. Miller also said that he wanted to use “The [email protected]’ as a way to clear his name of the false accusations, while Proctor makes it very clear that all he wants is a clean name for his family as he takes the death penalty rather than infesting to witchcraft.Even though it would be clear on most occasions that you were innocent it was nearly impossible to overturn the jury and most people who spoke out against the allegations would eventually be accused of witchcraft or communism as well.
This is what happened to John Proctor when he attempted to speak to the court about the accusations being made. “The Crucible” also turned out to be an excellent comparison to the McCarthy trials as Joseph McCarthy was said to be on a witch hunt for communists while the people of Salem were truly involved in a witch hunt.