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Transcript of The Crucible
The McCarthy Era
What is an allegory?
What was it about?
is a play about the Salem Witch Trials, which were a series of hearings before the Puritan court system. Judges prosecuted individuals who were accused of witchcraft in counties located in Salem, Massachusetts.
by Arthur Miller
A group of American citizens, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, were making accusations against groups of innocent civilians of disloyalty to the U.S. government. During this time, Communism became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning in front of private industry committees and agencies. The primary targets were government employees, but eventually it branched out to artists in the entertainment industry, and then later ordinary citizens.
An allegory is a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one. The McCarthy Era was a "witch-hunt" for Communists. People were often falsely accused due to personal bias on behalf of the accuser. Therefore,
is an allegory for the McCarthy Era.
Where did the Witch Trials Occur?
The witch trials occurred in Salem, Massachusetts during the colonial period in 1692. Community leaders, who also acted as judges, would sentence "guilty" individuals to complete a series of tests to see if they were truly supernatural. Tests included being set on fire or being thrown into the river. For example, stones would be tied to one's feet and they would be thrown in the river. If they floated or swam, they were considered a witch. If one survived, then it was determined that they were not human. Therefore, they would be sentenced to death for "conspiring with the devil."