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Correlations between The Crucible and the 1950s

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Meg Randall-Neppl

on 12 October 2012

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Transcript of Correlations between The Crucible and the 1950s

The 1950s and The Crucible is there a connection? Social Climate- Mass Hysteria - Mass Hysteria is when a large group of people all have the same feelings, such as fear, or joy.
- During the 1950's, America was under the influence of mass hysteria due to McCarthyism
-McCarthyism was a massive fear of communism fueled by the US senator John McCarthy, who claimed that he had a bunch of names of people who were communists. Pop Culture Events that inspired The Crucible:
The McCarthy Hearings This is what people believed would happen if America was overcome by Communism Joseph McCarthy, who started the witch hunts. Joseph McCarthy started the witch-hunt for communists to better his own career, but after he started accusing people, everyone started being paranoid and ended up seeing communists everywhere. accusing their People
were own neighbors. If been in danger of being accused. The theory was that at all, you could have you were different looked like regular Americans, so it was hard to tell anyone could be a Communist, but they Movies! How is this like the Crucible? In The Crucible, Salem suffers mass hysteria. Their witch-hunt is a literal one, where they are actually hunting for witches, but their theory was the same. After the initial accusations, people were ready to accuse the people whom they had lived alongside for their entire lives. Some of them do this for their own gain, such as Abigail accusing Elizabeth Proctor in order to marry John, but lots of the people, most importantly the ones in positions of power, actually believed their pious, good neighbors were consorting with the devil. And, when people questioned the accusations, they were in danger of being accused too. They had people who were confessed witches give names of other 'witches'. When they are trying to convince Proctor to give names, Danforth says, "you should rejoice to say it if your soul is truly purged of any love from Hell!" (Miller 141). Those who gave the names of other people were forgiven. Music! Art! Popcorn! Willem de Kooning His ugly "woman" is very ugly, just as witches are portrayed in The Crucible as being ugly and not human. Seriously, look at that "face". Correlations The 1950s The Crucible Communist Witch hunts Witch hunts = Wide-spread Accusations of Communism Conclusion: The Social climate in The Crucible is modeled after the social climate created by McCarthyism No opposition tolerated (opposers accused) = = Wide-spread Accusations of magic No opposition tolerated (opposers accused) = People accused for selfish reasons, e.g. keeping political career alive (McCarthy) People accused for selfish reasons, e.g. getting a rivals land (Putnam) Mass Hysteria Witch-hunts People Involved Everyone started panicking. Once they saw what they feared the most, they saw that everywhere, whether that was Communist or Witchcraft. This spurned the witch hunts in both cases, and both of these were started by someone who started it to get something they wanted, not because there were actually Communists or witches. These witch-hunts were started by people with things to gain if certain people were taken out of the picture (Abigail Williams, John McCarthy). Some of the situations of the accused were similar, such as Miller and Proctor. The McCarthy witch-hunts, started to help John McCarthy achieve political success, soon spiraled out of control and people were being accused left and right. In Salem, it was started so Abigail could marry John Proctor, and soon everyone was accusing anyone. Started a witch hunt for their own gain Abigail Williams Joseph McCarthy 3 years after his play was published, Miller was accused of Un-American Activities. When he wouldn't cooperate by giving names, he was charged of contempt of Congress. Miller = Proctor Proctor tried to question the legitimacy of the witch hunts, and no one would back him up, so he was accused of witch-craft. Danforth says, "You are combined with anti-Christ, are you not? I have seen you power; you will not deny it!" (Miller, 119) after he tries to call Abigail a liar. When he wouldn't give names of other 'witches', he was killed. People "Known as McCarthyism, the paranoid hunt for infiltrators was notoriously difficult on writers and entertainers, many of whom were labeled communist sympathizers and were unable to continue working." ( Arthur Miller- McCarthyism) This clip shows a part of the McCarthy Hearings. The last few seconds are strongly reminiscent of the trial scene at the end of Act III. Reverend Hale, furious that Proctor is being accused, declares, "I denounce these proceedings, I quit this court!" (Miller 120) Tried to speak out Ended up ruining innocent peoples' lives Ended up ruined He was a Dutch American abstract expressionist The death of the hero of The Crucible, John Proctor, is similar to the deaths of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens both died for no reason and before their time. They were killed in a plane crash that was on its way to Fargo. This is like how John Proctor was unjustly murdered even though he wasn't in service with the devil.
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