“She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whore’s vengeance, and you must see it, I set myself entirely in your hands.” John Proctor says this to Danforth in the movie “The Crucible,” which is a fascinating, and disturbing story based on an important event in history. This event was the Salem Witch Trials. The author Arthur Miller wrote this story in response to the major event the McCarthy Era. The Crucible showed the similarities between the McCarthy Era and the Salem Witch Trials.
In 1956 Arthur Miller was subpoenaed by HUAC (the House Un-American Activities Committee) and refused to identify writers that were believed to hold communist sympathies. Due to his refusal he was convicted of contempt of congress. The next year, however, the United States Supreme Court overturned this conviction. Under the leadership of McCarthy the committee had so much power that just knowing someone who was suspected of having ties to the communist party was a danger. The lives and careers of hundreds of Americans were ruined because of being blacklisted. Prison, bankruptcy, passport revocation, unemployment were threats made against people for them to testify and “name names.”
The McCarthy Era was a period of history that began in the late 1949s and ended in the mid late 1950s. This was also called the Second Red Scare in the United States. The McCarthy Era had many innocent victims and many of them were imprisoned. Several authors, actors, civil rights activists, and physicists were among the many victims that were blacklisted. Due to McCarthy’s witch-hunt many victims’ reputations were destroyed and their families were torn apart.
Individuals that were named by police informants or other HUAC witnesses as being communists or sympathizers were subpoenaed to testify in hearings. In these hearing the dreaded question: “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” , was sure to be asked. Those who cooperate with HUAC where cleansed from being called communists and cold return to their respectable society. Invoking the Fifth Amendment allowed people to refuse to “name names.” By doing this they opened themselves up to being blacklisted from future employment.
In colonial Massachusetts between the years 1692 and 1693, the Salem witch trials took place. Over 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft, and 20 were executed. The daughter (Elizabeth, age 9), and the niece (Abigail Williams, age 11) of Reverend Parris, who was Salem Village’s first ordained minister in 1689, started having these “fits” in January of 1692. These fits included screaming, things being thrown, uttering peculiar sounds, and twisted themselves into strange positions. This was all blamed on the supernatural by a local doctor. The girls were under so much pressure that they blamed three women for agonizing...