The Salem Witch Trials Vs. The McCarthy Era: Similar Ideas Presented In Arthur Millers, “The Crucible”
“Ignorance and its denial will, sad to say, lead us down the same road as it did in all past history.” – Jordan Maxwell. In history there have been many events that have shaped the world we live in. Two major events that happened were the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism. Both of these events accused innocent people of doing things that were bad at the time. Both events were fueled by anger and fear. But the difference between these two events was the consequences the people faced. Arthur Miller’s use of the Salem Witch Trials in his play The Crucible demonstrated the injustices of the late 1600s and his time own time period of McCarthyism. The first similarity of these two events is anger. In The Salem Witch Trials anger is used when Abby accuses John Proctor’s wife of being a witch just so she can be with John. In McCarthyism anger is used when Joseph McCarthy accuses people of being a communist. Anyone who tried to deny these accusations were still accused of witchcraft or being a communist just because others accused them.
The Second similarity of these two events is fear. During the Salem Witch Trials when others were being accused of witchcraft, many were scared to be accused. Others were so scared of being accused of being a witch or doing witchcraft they wouldn’t do any activities that would make them suspects of witchcraft. McCarthyism was fueled by the fear of nuclear war and communism. So McCarthy put fear into everyone. McCarthy made everyone afraid to trust people, and the people were afraid for themselves being accused of being a communist.
The Difference between The Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism was the consequences. In the Salem Witch trials if someone was accused of being a witch they were either hung or they could confess to save their life. Confessing would disgrace their name so few actually confessed. In McCarthyism no one was killed for being accused of being a communist. Many that were accused lost the reputation or lost their jobs.
Another difference of these two events was the times they happen in. The Salem Witch Trials occurred in the 1690s and McCarthyism occurred in the 1950s.McCarthyism and The Salem Witch Trials were tragic periods of our history. The anger, fear and consequences were very important in both of these events. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible was a perfect way to show what McCarthyism really meant to society during that time and its potential threat to American if we chose to ignore its history.
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