The Crucible Essay

1191 words - 5 pages

The Mccarthy era was a very drastic time during the 1950’s when ideas about communism disseminated throughout the United States, particularly the government. Author of The Crucible, Arthur Miller, was very critical of this time and used characters, plot events, setting and literary terms and features to convey his message. Miller creates an allegory by using Witchcraft as a controversial topic similar to how communism was during the McCarthy era, characters such as Danforth, Hathorne and Hale to compare to organizations and more characters such as Abigail and Procter to delineate specific people from The Great Fear.
Miller’s disapproval of McCarthy was blatantly inscribed into the play through the use of the topic of witchcraft. In The Crucible the main topic was the Salem Witch Trials, similar to communism in The Great Fear. Miller chose this topic to show how ridiculous he believed the accusations McCarthy made were. The controversy surrounding witchcraft and communism are similar in that both had numerous opinions from people of all backgrounds. During the Salem Witch Trials belief in Witchcraft mostly collected in New England but still spread into the rest of the colonies and during the McCarthy era ideas about communism were not believed by everyone in fact most didn’t believe them. Miller crafted the play in 1953 for the spectators during the McCarthy era to find these similarities and relate to them. This solidified some onlookers disapproval of McCarthy and changed the minds of others. It was another layer added to the hysteria of the time and led to the investigation of Miller by the HUAC and his eventual blacklisting in 1957. These similarities made the Salem Witch Trials an easy event for Miller to use to depict the McCarthy era.
Miller used characterization in several different ways the first being using characters to relate to organizations during the McCarthy era. He used certain characters to represent explicit organizations from the time period. Danforth and Hathorne represent the court system and the overall idea of making the witch trials seem like a large event. Hale represents the HUAC, a third party groups sent to investigate just as reverend Hale was. In the case of Danforth and Hathorne from The Crucible and the federal court from The Great Fear, even letting the trial go on was a mistake, why listen to something so many people are proclaiming false. Hale contributed to the hysteria by adding an intimidation factor to all the people, anytime a reverand not from your town comes into the society the people will naturally be scared. This is similar to the HUAC because it was specifically created to “investigate” the allegations of communism but the organization did almost nothing but scare people. All three characters portray the government and court system in The Great Fear in that they all had good intentions but in the end progressed the hysteria of the time.
The second character development method Miller uses is making...

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