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The Crucible

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by

Mr A

on 12 November 2015

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Transcript of The Crucible

Salem Witch Museum
The Salem Witch Trials of 1692
The Salem Witch Trials
began in 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft.
The Crucible
not to be revoked or recalled; unable to be repealed or annulled; unalterable
Black listed: when a person is put on a list privately exchanged among employers, containing the names of persons to be barred from employment.
Witch hunt : the act of unfairly looking for and punishing people who are accused of having opinions that are believed to be dangerous or evil
an intensive effort to discover and expose disloyalty, subversion, dishonesty, or the like, usually based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence.
The term
McCarthyism
, derived from the actions of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s, was the use of reckless and unfair accusations in the name of suppressing political disloyalty. This was during the Cold War, when Americans were fearful of having Communist spies , also referred to as the
"Red scare."


So, what are the correlations (similarities) between The Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism, and
The Crucible
?
The playwright Arthur Miller (the one who married Marilyn Monroe) was accused, refused to confess, and was lucky to escape with a steep fine. He went on to write
The Crucible
in 1953, a play based on the Salem witch-hunt but an allegory with obvious parallels to McCarthyism.
The playwright Arthur Miller (the one who married Marilyn Monroe) was accused, refused to confess, and was lucky to escape with a steep fine. He went on to write The Crucible in 1953, a play based on the Salem witch-hunt but an allegory with obvious parallels to McCarthyism.
A parallel: having the same direction, course, nature, or tendency

A play by Arthur Miller
The play highlights the parallels of two major events in American history: The Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism
*
Mass hysteria
: a situation in which many people behave or react in an extreme or uncontrolled way because of fear or anger.
Let's review some of the things we learned about the Puritans in the last chapter:

The Puritan colonies were theocracies. Their leaders were ministers and high officials of the church
If a person committed a sin, he or she would also be breaking the law
The Puritan’s desire to purify (make pure) their religion led to a suspicion of anyone who did not agree with their ideology.
An excommunicated person lost not only all religious rights but also all property rights

The Puritans were intolerant of any other religions or believes, which made them hypocrites. They left England because they felt they did not have the freedom to practice their beliefs. Once they arrived in the colonies, they began their own form of intolerance.
Senator McCarthy used the
big lie
technique: a falsehood of such magnitude and audacity that it is virtually guaranteed to affect public opinion even if it is not fully believed by a majority.
Among the main targets of his investigation were people in the entertainment industry, many of whom were labeled communist sympathizers and were
blacklisted

The trials, which were well publicized, could often destroy a career with a single unsubstantiated (without proof) accusation. Among the well-known artists accused of communist sympathies was the young playwright Arthur Miller (A playwright is someone who writes play).
McCarthyism
The Big Lie
Blacklisting
The
Red
Scare
The trials lasted about one year. As
mass hysteria*
spread throughout colonial Massachusetts during this period, a special court was formed in Salem to hear the cases.
After the trials had concluded, at least twenty-five people died: nineteen were executed by hanging, one was tortured to death, and at least five died in jail due to harsh conditions. Over 160 people were accused of witchcraft, most were jailed, and many deprived of property and legal rights.
Though the Massachusetts General Court later annulled (canceled) all guilty verdicts against accused witches and granted compensation to their families, the painful legacy of the Salem witch trials would endure (remain) for centuries.
House Un-American Activities Committee
The True story of "witch craft" in Salem
Full transcript