Witchcraft Vs Mccarthyism

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The story of the United States senator Joseph Mccarthy and the Salem witch trials are very similar; They both express the hysteria of innocent victims being accused of practices they did not partake in. In response to the 1950s Hollywood blacklist and Mccarthyism, Arthur Miller wrote a play called the Crucible out of pure frustration. Miller wrote The Crucible in 1953, but the actual witch trials were in 1692 Salem Massachusetts. The movie based on the communist hunting events, Guilty By Suspicion, shows the era of political injustice. Arthur Miller’s main purpose for writing the Crucible is to exaggerate his displeasure and disgust with the Mccarthy trials through similarities within his characters, ideas, and overall events.

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Arthur Miller portrays Joseph Mccarthy as two of the characters in his play, Danforth and Reverend Parris. According to ushistory.org, “At a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, on February 9, 1950, McCarthy launched his first salvo. He proclaimed that he was aware of 205 card-carrying members of the Communist Party who worked for the United States Department of State.” Joseph McCarthy was power-hungry and self-centered senator who lost his position, just like Reverend Parris. At the beginning of the Crucible, when Parris was speaking with Abigail, it seemed that he cared more about his reputation than his own daughter’s sickness. Danforth is extremely proud of his job as a judge, but that turns out to be his weakness. He is completely oblivious to the fact that every citizen of Salem cried wolf, but when he realizes the truth he ignores it because his position is at stake.

Softschools.com states that “McCarthyism was able to gain its strength because of the growing fear of Communism in China and Eastern Europe that spread to the United States.” In the opening scene of Guilty By Suspicion, Larry Nolan was interrogated by the HUAC officials. His confused and broken heavy breathing shows how nervous any American would be in that situation. The officials are shot from a low angle and Nolan is shot from a high angle which is a metaphor for their authority and power they have. The director makes sure that the audience sympathizes for Nolan and understand how mentally affected he is, while the smoke and the dim lights creates a sense of dreadfulness.

Families accused families, friends accused friends, lovers accused lovers, there was no end to the madness. Sparknotes.com says, “Though McCarthy initially targeted government employees, thousands of Americans were accused and interrogated during the Red Scare, especially in the entertainment industry.” No one wanted to be on the Hollywood blacklist, but at the same time when called to testify everyone gave names. Years after World War II ended, Americans were to proven the “red menace” was real, so Congress passed the McCarran Internal Security Act in 1950. Joseph McCarthy took this grim time to his advantage and made a speech accusing innocent people of being communists.

The Crucible characters accused each other for private vengeance, while in Guilty By Suspicion weak people were targeted. Both show how social hysteria victimises people who strongly stand by their moral beliefs. In conclusion, Arthur Miller displays through the Crucible how tremendously aggravated he was with Mccarthyism. Miller’s close friend, Elia Kazan, had testified in front of the HUAC. After hearing his former colleagues add more names to the list, he went off to Salem to research the witch trials of 1692 and began writing the Crucible. In conclusion, Arthur Miller displays through the Crucible how tremendously aggravated he was with Mccarthyism.

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Witchcraft vs mccarthyism. (2019, Dec 30). Retrieved September 27, 2022 , from
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