The Crucible By Arthur Miller Essay

886 words - 4 pages

The Crucible was based in 1692 in and around the town of Salem,
Massachusetts, USA. The Salem witch-hunt was view as one of the
strangest and most horrendous chapters in the human history. People
that were prosecuted were all innocent and their deaths were all due
to false accusation of people’s ridiculous belief in superstition and
their paranoia. The Puritans in those times were very strict in
personal habits and morality; swearing, drunkenness and gambling would
be punished. The people of Salem believed in the devil and thought
that witchcraft should be hunted out. The play can be seen as a
general statement on the effects that fear and fanaticism can have on
human beings and how one person can cause such catastrophe.

It is a purely a controversial play, so why write a play knowing
the danger you were putting yourself in? Arthur Miller wrote the
play because he was accused of being a communist; Miller attended
meetings between communist writers. He was fined and given a suspended
prison sentence. When he wrote the play, he focused on a series of
true events, which took place in and around the town of Salem. As
Miller saw what was happening around him at the time, he realised that
he himself could not take any direct action, or speak out against the
act of McCarthyism because he could put himself in danger. He did,
however, realise that he could make other Americans see how they were
acting towards each other and how paranoia were the main cause to this
widespread hysteria. Realising that he has to prevent this hysteria
from developing further was to write a play, in hope that the audience
would see what the hidden meaning and message he was trying to
portray, instead of being 'just a play'. Many things in history can
relate in different aspects. The comparison of the Salem Witch trials
and McCarthyism are examples of things in history that show
similarities. Looking at the two historical events, we can see that
hysteria was ever-present at the times in which they occurred. It is
evident that this hysteria ruined the lives of many people, due to the
constant accusations of witches and communists. The events that led up
to the Salem witch trails and McCarthyism was also similar. Both
events were irrational fears that witchcraft and communism were going
to change the face of society if drastic measures were not taken.
People were involved in persecution in both time framed. In Salem, it
was the witches who were hunted. With McCarthyism, it was the
communists that were hunted. As in America in the 1950s (their
assumption being that communists were out there), in The Crucible the
villagers of Salem believed that the devil was out there. The people
really believed that Lucifer was roaming the streets of...

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