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How successful is The Crucible as an allegory?

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How successful is The Crucible as an allegory? In my coursework I will be discussing how successful the crucible is as an allegory. An allegory is defined as a story, poem, character in a story, or picture with a hidden connotation. The Crucible is a story set in Salem in the 1692 witch hunts. The play is based on the fear, suspicion, hysteria and paranoia which the people of Salem felt during the witch hunts. This is almost identical to what happened in America in the 1950s. Communism was at its all time peak and America was scared of Communism taking over their country, as it already had in Russia. The Americans panicked and they went fanatical with Hysteria. Everyone was accusing everyone. Almost everyone who was accused of being a communist was sentenced with a heavy punishment, usually a life sentence. No one felt safe; people were being accused for no good reason. This outbreak in paranoia is much like McCarthyism. McCarthyism was the situation in America during the 1950s. This could be why The Crucible is such an effective play. Salem was a very small religious town. It feared the unknown and anything that they found hard to explain. The community was very small and enclosed, scared of the world which was beyond theirs. This may be why the outbreak of paranoia occurred. Everyone seemed to know each other too well because in their society no-one seemed to mind their own business: The Salem folk believed that the virgin forest was the Devil's last preserve, his home base and the citadel of his final stand. ...read more.


usual sense of the word it is not history but rather a moral, political and psychological construct that floats on the fluid emotions of both ears. Miller made a comparison in several of his characters to McCarthy himself. Thomas Putnam is much like what McCarthy was like in the 1950s America. They were both greedy men putting themselves first. For instance, Putnam thinks of himself before others by doing whatever it takes to gain land and wealth. He would make his daughter accuse people of being witches, even though he knew that they weren't. He did this because he knew that when they were convicted they would be put into jail or even given the death sentence. When they were sentenced or executed he knew the land would be sold for a very small price. You can see that Putnam is very selfish and obsessed with his wealth and land on page 36 when he is talking to John Proctor: Proctor: In your bounds! I bought that tract from Goody Nurse's husband five months ago. Putnam: He had no right to sell it. It stands in my grandfather's will that all the land between the river and - McCarthy as a character was very similar to several characters in Miller's play, especially Putnam. He wanted to have as much authority and power as he could. If anyone got on the wrong side of him he would blame them of being a communist, and this would be difficult to disprove, so more than normally after the trial the person would be given a jail sentence. ...read more.


This is the character Miller reflects himself through. Miller makes sure that Proctor has very powerful and memorable speeches so that people will clearly see and remember Miller's view on America 1950s. Proctor: No, no I have signed it. You have seen me. It is done! You have no need for this. Danforth: Proctor, the village must have proof that - Proctor: Damn the village! I confess to God, and God has seen my name on this! It is enough! This shows just what Miller thought of the situation in America during the 1950s. Miller thought that it was unacceptable when someone was accused of being a Communist there was no way out and the only way to get away from a jail sentence was to confess of being a Communist. Miller did not agree with this and he shows this with what Proctor then does. When he is told that he must tell the village about being involved with witch-craft he refuses because he would rather die than blacken his name. He says that he has given him his soul, all he is asking is to keep his name, for you only have one in your life time. To conclude my essay, the play seems to be a parallel to the era of McCarthyism in America during the 1950s. The situation in America is also the main Allegory in the play and a very effective one at that. People were put on trial all the time in America, much like in the Salem witch hunts. Both Salem and America were put into fear, paranoia and hysteria through the fear of the unknown, something that cannot be proven. ?? ?? ?? ?? Matt Armstrong Page 1 08/05/2007 ...read more.

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