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The Crucible, the Real Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism
Transcript of The Crucible, the Real Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism
By Lizbeth Lopez
McCarthyism was a time of great fear in 1950's America. During this time, many people felt the strain of the Cold War and how it deepened the fear citizens had on Communism. Finally, in 1950, hysteria broke out. Senator Joseph McCarthy began leading Congress to seek out Communist spies in America.
Many actors, writers, and producers were summoned to appear before Congress to provide names of colleagues who may have been members of the Communist Party. That was because of their reputation of being against the search of communist against their friends. This lead them to be easy targets for Congress to bear down upon.
Those who repented and named names of suspected communists were allowed to return to business as usual. Those who refused to address the fellow entertainers as communist were cited for contempt. Uncooperative artists were blacklisted from jobs in the entertainment industry. Years passed until many had their reputations restored.
The Differences Between History and Fiction
McCarthyism and The Crucible relation
Allegory: a symbolical narrative
At first glance,it seems like the famous book The Crucible by Arthur Miller and the events that took place in Salem in 1692 seems to have an extraordinary amount in common. But in fact, The Crucible is closer to the 1950's period of American history commonly referred to as McCarthyism.
"Allegory." Def. 2. Dictonary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. <Dictonary.com>.
Allen, Janet. Holt McDougal Liturature. Orlando, FL: Holt McDougal/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print. (Allen 214)
"Explore PBS." PBS. PBS, 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
Joseph Raymond McCarthy. 1954. Photograph. Library of Congress, Library of Congress. Wikipedia. By United Press. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fa/Joseph_McCarthy.jpg/220px->.
Matteson, Tompkins H. “Trial of George Jacobs of Salem for Witchcraft”. 1855. History of Massachusetts.org. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <http://historyofmassachusetts.org/the-salem-witch-trials/>.
"The Salem Witch Trials." Historyofmassachusetts.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. <http://historyofmassachusetts.org/the-salem-witch-trials/>.
Ushistory.org. "McCarthyism." US History. U.S. History Online Textbook, 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <http://www.ushistory.org/>.
Senator Joseph McCarthy (Wikipedia)
The Real Salem Witch Trials
In the beginning of the year 1692, a group of young girls began having fits and acting strangely. It reached fever pitch when these girls began saying that the strange behavior was caused by witchcraft. The first few accused were the social outcasts and they in turn spurred more respectable citizens to be accused.
Trial of George Jacobs of Salem for Witchcraft
(History of Massachusetts)
The Crucible is a novel portraying the events of the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. It centers around John Proctor, a reputable farmer who sees Salem become the epicenter of witchcraft. The Crucible is also about how in times of panic and mass hysteria, even those who have been known as good and honest people can be rendered down by simple lies and superstition.
By the end of the year, the hysteria had died down but at a grave price. 19 had died at Gallows Hill, 1 man was pressed to death, and 4 died in prison.
Even though the Crucible is a work of fiction it was based on real people who had to endure the tragic events that took place in 1692.
The Crucible's main charcter, John Proctor, was in fact a real person. He was a formidable figure in the community of Salem at the time of the trials but a few changes where made to him on his transition for real to fictional character.
In real life, John proctor was closer to the age of 60, rather than the age of 35
he never had an affair with the young afflicted girl Abigail Williams.
He, his wife, their children, and his sister-in-law were all accused of witchcraft
But Miller did keep many things the same.
Proctor did com forth to the court to call the young girls scam artists
He and his wife were accused of witchcraft but his escaped persecution by being pregnant
He did hang for not confessing to being a witch.
In real life, Reverend Hale never existed. In the Crucible, Mr. Hale is a Reverend sent from a near village to help Salem with its witch problem. In the beginning, he is very eager to begin the witch hunts. But as time went on in the story, we see how he changes perspectives because of the creditability of these allegations became very flimsy. By the end of the novel, we see how much Mr. Hale is against the trials.
The Real life Mr. Hale was in fact Governor William Phips. Phips had helped set up a court in Salem so that the witches may be tried in Salem rather than take them all to Boston. Like Hale, Phips first believed that he was doing good to rid the village of the devil. But as time went on, many people lost faith in the court because it accused good and respect people of witchcraft. Once Phips own wife was accused of being a witch, the trials went downhill.
The Crucible and McCarthyism are an allegory to each other by how both developed from the reputations of many people. Both began with the ridding of the outcasts in society that had nothing to lose because of the hunts. But as time went on, those who revealed the names of alleged people began calling upon name with good reputations.
For The Crucible, it was that landowners and church-goers who were called out because of what they contained.
In McCarthyism, many entertainers were called-out to prevent many people from going against the flow of the main power.
"You will not use me! I am no Sarah Good or Tituba, I am John Proctor! You will not use me! It is no part of salvation that you should use me! (Holt)"
"Take Courage, You must give us all their names" (Holt).