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The Crucible/Salem Witch Trials Vs. The Mccarthy Hearings Essay, Research Paper

In the play, The Crucible, many parallels can be found in reference to the 1950 Communist trials led by Joe McCarthy. In this work by Arthur Miller, the events of the 1692 Salem witch trials parallel those of the McCarthy trials, in that, both events were not only based on insubstantial evidence but caused mass hysteria that destroyed the lives and reputations of those involved.

In the Salem witch trials, insubstantial evidence was present in each of the events. People trying to save themselves from being prosecuted created the evidence from the witch trials. The parallel of the McCarthy trials was that people would falsely accuse other people of being a member of the Communist party. One of the lines of the play quotes John Proctor, ?? as I have quailed, and as you that this be fraud ? God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together?. (Miller, 1240)

The mass hysteria of the witch trials was contrived by pointing blame at each other. From, The Crucible, the girls, led by Abigail Williams, turned the town hysterical, and blamed other people to cover their sin. In the McCarthy trials, Joe McCarthy did not cover his sin, but he feared that there were Communists within the government. McCarthy and his suspicions ruined many peoples? lives. Jobs were lost, families torn apart, reputations not only bruised, but also scarred, and lives ruined. In the play, the same things happened, not only to the poor, but also to the well off, including reverends. One of the lives ruined in the play was John Proctor?s and his family?s, but in the end almost everything was better.

The Crucible, showed that insubstantial evidence, and insignificant people being blamed not only causes lives, jobs, reputations, and families to be ruined, but also mass hysteria takes over the town, or even the country, and upsets people to no extent.


Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 98.

CD-ROM. 2 discs. Joseph Raymond McCarthy.

Ellen Schrecker. The Age of McCarthyism: A Brief History with Documents.

Boston: St. Martin?s Press, 1994

The American Expedition: Arthur, Miller The Crucible.

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1991

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