The Crucible Social Commentary Essay

Words: 1070
Pages: 5

Social Commentary in The Crucible
“There is no passion so contagious as that of fear”- Michel de Montaigne. The Crucible, inspired by the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s and based on the Salem witch trials, is a play of which clearly depicts the effects of moral panic within a community. When fear originates, it quickly catches fire and engulfs the great majority of people within a given society. This public anxiety brings rise to changes in one’s morals and societal norms. Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, argues that in times of moral panic, a great focus is placed on creating the most favorable circumstances for oneself.
People in positions of power will often use the power of which they hold in pursuits for their own gain. Abigail has
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Arthur Miller uses the word innocent to evoke the sense that an individual in power is generally free of blame, unquestioned by authority. He uses the word never to convey the reality of a person in power being reprieved from blame. The word wonder is used in order to evoke the sense that wonder is nonexistent in accusations of which are made by a person in power. He uses the word holy in order to evoke the sense that power results in the purity of one’s character in the eyes of the society. He questions if Abigail was born “as clean as God’s fingers” in order to establish the fallacious connotation between one who holds power and God. The word vengeance is repeatedly used in order to evoke the sense that one in power will use said power to achieve a desirable outcome. Throughout history, people in positions of power have used such power in pursuits for their own gain. During the Second Red Scare, Joseph McCarthy went after his political opponents when he was in a position of power in order to further his career. He made unproven accusations against political opponents through questioning of their allegiance to the United States as members of the Communist Party. The actions taken by Abigail Williams in The Crucible and those taken by Joseph McCarthy during the Second Red Scare were made possible by their positions of