The Crucible Relationship to Red Scare

1 January 2017

The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, was an indirect comparison between the Salem Witchcraft Trials, and the Communist Red Scare. Though not directly stated in his story, the events of the 1680s and 1690s witchery accusations were very similar to those of the 1920s Red Scare, communists accusations. There was a widespread hysteria in the late sixteenth century of witchcraft in New England. In Salem Massachusetts, adolescent girls began to show strange behavior and accusations of witchcraft against several west Indian servants steeped in Voodoo Lore” (page 87, American History) The Red Scare was a nationwide fear of communists, socialists, and anarchists that grabbed the attention of Americans in 1919 following a series of anarchist bombings (law2. umkc. edu).

Communism is “a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party (dictionary. com). ” Joseph McCarthy, the United States Senate in 1850, accused Dean Acheson, the U. S. Secretary of State, of knowing 205 communists in the State Department. He also stated that he himself knew of 57 communists in the department, and called for an investigation. (apl. rg)

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McCarthyism, the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, especially of pro-Communist activity (dictionary. com), destroyed the lives of many innocent individuals as did the Salem Witch Trials. In both cases, anybody could be accused of being a communist or witch, with little to no evidence. Many lives were ruined, and some were lost. The conspiracy of communism and witchery made it so that everyone wanted to be the same, and conform to the norm. If someone was different, one might be accused of being a communist or witch.

Author Miller claimed to have written , The Crucible to explore the theme of hysteria and fear in a community. Just like the people of the Red Scare, the people of Salem, Massachusetts took their hatred out on the people of the community without knowing the true facts. Miller kept many, but not all, of the real-life characters, though he made changes, interpreted and developed the motivations behind the accusations of witchcraft and different people’s choices to confess.

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