April 13, 2015
The Crucible Arthur Miller’s book, “The Crucible” was written during the 1950s during the time of McCarthyism. Arthur Miller was strongly influenced by the events that came during the McCarthy era and the Crucible was a result. “Miller stated that as he witnessed the growing hysteria of the late 1940s and 1950s concerning Communist fears, he was drawn to the stories of similar irrational fears and judgments of the 1692 witch trials. He drew parallels between each era's paranoia and hysteria.” (life123.com) Miller recreated some of the events from the McCarthy era and turned them into a book from the time period of Salem Witch Trials. Many of the character’s beliefs and actions similar between the McCarthy era and the crucible, the Hollywood Ten and the accused witches of Salem are one of the biggest common factors. For example in “The Crucible” the character Proctor, an accused member of Salem in the book, was influenced by the Hollywood Ten of the McCarthy era. Proctor and the Ten both held strong to their beliefs and eventually were persecuted for doing so. Proctor and the Ten refused to confess to the statements that they were being accused of, they also refused to give the names of anyone else that could’ve been involved in the incidents. Proctor said this while in trial in the Crucible, “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them you have hanged! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” (Crucible Act IV).
Professional witnesses from the McCarthy era and the Crucible are another similar concept they share. In the town of Salem, Abigail Williams, a bright young girl, was the leader of a group of distraught girls that influenced the town to belief that witchcraft was taking over the town. Abigail’s testimony in court was held in high esteem and deemed trustworthy by the town of Salem. Her testimony was so highly believed that many people were accused and wrongly died because of her words. The trails of the Hollywood ten were similar because there was witnesses brought in court that were strongly against communism and trying to accuse and prosecute innocent people. In both cases, the witnesses were in the wrong, and many innocent people suffered because of it.
You can compare President Truman to the character Reverend Hale from the Crucible. At first Reverend Hale thought that there was an involving witch craft crisis in the town of Salem, until he finally looked past the lies and corruption and saw that the whole point of the trails was wrong. There wasn’t any threat of witch craft from the town of Salem. Reverend Hale can be compared to the same situation with President Truman. President Truman supported accusing the Hollywood Ten, and even participated in the events regarding the trails. President Truman even made an executive order to have all federal employees investigated to ensure they weren’t communist supporters. He later realized that blacklist, and trials of the Hollywood Ten were the wrong thing to support.
The Crucible and the McCarthy era both shared a character that was full of a passion for power and a greed for money. Senator Joe McCarthy was the biggest influence for the blacklist of the Hollywood Ten. He thought that he could gain mass political power by throwing the word communist to anyone who even slightly