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The Crucible

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Introduction

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. ...read more.

Middle

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 Salem seeking to destroy the town and seeking to destroy the institution of the church. In many ways the assumption of devil activity seemed to be a way of finding a scapegoat for the personal problems of the community. So 'The Crucible' is a subtle way to show what was happening in America at the time without actually relating to that time. In Salem the accused are the communists and the accusers are McCarthyists. ...read more.

Conclusion

Society did not accept any criticism towards ways in which things were run at the time. Although many Americans stood back and live their lives the way they were told to, Miller in the other hand felt that things couldn't carry on the way it is. The Salem witch trials and McCarthyism have similar beginnings and similar results. Such hysteria came about because of the excessive suspicion that was planted in the people's minds, by Parris and McCarthy. Despite this, it was Parris and McCarthy who primarily rise the hysteria that occurred. Such hysteria may occur today, dealing with the issue on terrorism. Racial profiling and accusations may be prominent in our country once again! If the right events and the right people trigger such a scare, our country could be in a state of mass hysteria as it was two times already. Despite the age of The Crucible there are many issues included in it that are still very relevant in the modern world to day. Due to Miller's clever plot and distinctive techniques, he was able to bring the history to life. This play turned out to be one of the most relevant plays of the past and of today. ...read more.

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