“McCarthy was an essentially destructive force, a revolutionist without any revolutionary vision, a rebel without a cause” (Broudin).
In the 1950’s, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy sparked the fire known as “the Red Scare” interrogating those suspected of communist actions. Likewise, in 1692, Reverend Samuel Parris of Salem began the terror of accusations that resulted in the famous Witchcraft Trials. The playwright Arthur Miller, some of whose colleagues were victims of McCarthy, noticed uncanny similarities in these two events and wrote his play The Crucible as a social mouthpiece to speak out against McCarthyism. The story of the witchcraft trials is an allegory to the Red Scare in the 1950’s and Miller challenged the abuse of McCarthy’s authority by writing The Crucible.
McCarthyism’s foundation was rooted in one question, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” (Broudin).
This was the famous line that Joseph McCarthy used to lead the nation into the Red Scare. In 1946, Joseph McCarthy was elected as Senator of Wisconsin but was known as a “cheap politician” (Broudin).
After four years in Congress, he needed a platform in order to be re-elected, so he brought up a new issue to make a name for himself, communism (Broudin).
Two crucial programs already existed that strengthened the movement for Senator McCarthy: the Federal Loyalty Program and the House Un-American Activities Committee. The Federal Loyalty Program compelled the Truman administration to investigate cabinet members for loyalty; those accused of Communist support or activity were fired as “security risks.” Many of the accused admitted to being Communists, sympathizing with Communists, or believing in communist ideology in order to avoid jail time. Then, those who were accused would “name names” of close friends or suspicious coworkers, furthering the investigations. Over two thousand people resigned and two hundred twelve people were fired (“Crucible”).
Senator Joseph McCarthy (1) The history of twentieth century contains numerous examples of Communists actively striving to undermine socio-political stability in capitalist countries, by assassinating their political opponents, engaging in economic sabotage and sponsoring international terrorism. However, there are also many examples of governmental officials in Western countries being able to ...
In addition, the HUAC conducted investigations to prove that government had tolerated communist subversion. Accordingly, the Hollywood Ten were famous screenwriters and directors accused of “suspicious loyalty” by the HUAC. The HUAC believed that the screenwriters were able to submit Communist propaganda into films (Broudin).
As a result, they were all found guilty of contempt of Congress and each was sentenced six to twelve months in jail. Most of the Hollywood Ten were personal friends of Arthur Miller.
Arthur Miller was a prominent playwright at the time. He was born in New York City on October 17, 1915 (“Crucible”).
After attending the University of Michigan and writing a few unsuccessful plays, Miller wrote The Death of a Salesman and won a Tony Award for its stage production. “Miller gained an associated eminence as a man who understood the deep essence of the U.S.” (“Crucible”).
When the Hollywood Ten were accused of believing in Communist ideology, Miller was influenced to write his next social awareness play, The Crucible. This work was a direct attack on McCarthyism, comparing the Salem Witchcraft Trials to the hearings occurring with the Red Scare (“Crucible”).
Soon afterward, in 1955, Miller was denied a passport to Brussels because it was “not in the best interest of the country,” (Broudin).
Then, in 1956, he was called before the HUAC for suspicious actions. At first he was asked to provide names of people who attended Communist events with him, but he refused to collapse under pressure, and he did not “name names.” At first, he was convicted of contempt of Congress, but the conviction was reversed in 1958 after he was fined for being guilty. Miller had never been a member of the Communist Party, and his political views had been more moderate, but The Crucible caught the attention of the HUAC and Senator McCarthy because it was a protest against the Red Scare (Broudin).
One of the most vibrant, deep, and sagacious screenplays of the 21st century is Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.” Miller brilliantly comments on human morals, authority, and mass hysteria. He parallels the events of Salem in 1600’s to the blacklisting and the discrimination against those who were labeled as a “communist” in America during the 1950’s. He ...
The Crucible takes place in 1692 during the Salem Witchcraft Trials, nearly 400 years before McCarthyism. Comparisons are easily rendered between the Witchcraft and McCarthy trials by noting parallel characters, actions, and themes. One example of these comparable actions was the use of false confessions in order to gain freedom (“Crucible”).
The accused would admit to witchcraft or Communist actions in order to reduce or to eliminate jail time. Another parallel was how the surrounding community would be affected by the hysteria of the trials. In Salem, the hysteria was theologically influenced because witchcraft was against common religious beliefs, but in the United States of the 1950’s, the panic was powered because of the “threat” communism posed. Despite these differences, many of the themes and characters reflect events of the 1950s in The Crucible. For example, Reverend Parris is the fictional Joseph McCarthy leading the community to be suspicious of the enemy (Broudin).
John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse represent the Hollywood Ten because they both experienced the trials with little concrete evidence presented (“Crucible”).
Another character resemblance to McCarthyism was Reverend John Hale to Miller himself, because the events of the trial cause Hale to question his moral values and intentions. Therefore, they were both “wood added to the fire” because they didn’t start the phenomenon but challenged the actions of those in authority (Broudin).
The Crucible was parallel in the plot and characters to the events and people in the McCarthy trials.
In conclusion, The Crucible and McCarthyism ended dangerously alike. Joseph McCarthy’s tyranny and Reverend Parris’s domination were obstructed by their obsessions. In other words, their techniques were their downfalls. Miller attempted to forewarn the citizens of the United States what was to happen and how it would finish through The Crucible. McCarthyism, Arthur Miller, and The Crucible are a threefold of events that connected the Red Scare in the 1950s to the hysteria of witchcraft in 1692. The play is a poignant and heartrending example of how history repeats itself.
Encarta Encyclopedia defines Affirmative Action as the “system of policies used in the United States to increase opportunities for minorities and women by favoring them in hiring and promotion, college admissions, and the awarding of government contracts. Generally, affirmative action has been undertaken by governments, businesses, or educational institutions to remedy the effects of past ...