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The Death Of A Tragic Hero In The Crucible

815 words - 4 pages

The development of McCarthyism in the 1950s due to the increased fears of communism led to the imprudent accusations of disloyalty and treason to the United States. The Salem witch trials during 1692 were hearings and false accusations based on the views of McCarthyism. Arthur Miller’s knowledge of these events in history greatly influenced his writing of the Crucible. He included the imprudent accusations that were being greatly used by Joseph McCarthy and gave these traits to a group of girls in Salem. These girls created something in their town that was extremely similar to the Second Red Scare, a result from increased communist accusations, that lead to several deaths of innocent men and women. Among those who knew the truth about the accusations in Salem was John Proctor, a farmer who lived just outside of Salem. The author incorporates the idea of McCarthyism in Salem to have relation to history as well as give reason for such corruption. The panic induced by the Salem witch trials, reminiscent of that caused by McCarthyism in the red scare, forces John Proctor to reevaluate his beliefs. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, John Proctor’s characteristics and morals create an internal conflict between his honesty and his religious affiliation that leads to a moral dilemma between the preservation of his name and his confession to witchcraft, which eventually leads to his physical and metaphorical death as a character.
John Proctor’s devotion to his religion gives him a choice between to do whats right or to save his life by succumbing to the pressure to confess falsely. Many problems arise, including his alleged affair with Abigail Williams. John is on his way back home when Abigail stops him in the woods and tries to seduce him. John doesn't feel the way he did before so he explains to Abigail, “Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind. We never touched, Abby” (1246). The author provides us with one of Proctor’s flaws by alluding to an affair that occurred between Abigail Williams and John Proctor. Proctor does not want to continue to have any type of feelings towards her because it would continue his act of adultery....

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