Parallels Between the Crucible and the Second Red Scare

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Tautology is the unnecessary repetition of something using different and dissimilar words that effectively says the same thing. Basically, it means saying the same thing twice. Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and the Second Red Scare of the 1950’s are somewhat related to it because even though the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare were hundreds of years apart, they were quite similar, therefore they can be considered as events that happened twice and that could have been avoided. The Crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller in 1953, the setting of the story dates back to Salem Witch Trials in 1962 as a result of the author’s experiences with the execution of innocent people accused of sympathizing the communists, including himself, during the Second Red Scare of the 1950’s. In both events, the antagonists use fear as a way of controlling people around them and their outcomes. The Crucible and the Second Red Scare share many parallels including religion, antagonists’ characteristics and the outcomes of both events.

Contrasting the two events occurred years apart, notable similarities can be noted, during Salem Witch Trials people were in trepidation of witchcraft the same way American citizens were in apprehension of communism. Both cases showed that fear and paranoia arcane lead to power, and too much power in the hands of one person can lead to chaos. In both events religion played an essential role, The Crucible is set in a Puritan society, a community that is a theocracy, where all the power is in the church’s hands. Puritans strongly supported the idea that church and state should work together and believed that they had an agreement or covenant with God, therefore God expects the community to follow religious practices, if not God would punish people sinful behaviors. Everything happens by God will and such belief is exposed in the play when …. says “You are God’s instrument put in our hands to discover the Devil’s agents among us” (Miller 46).

Sympathizing with the Communist was comparable to sympathizing with the Devil and witchcraft in Salem. Any hint of treason or false suspicion could end up with someone in the jail in both time periods. A person had to watch what he or she said, and his or her words had to be chosen wisely as to avoid multiple interpretations of his or her opinions.

Another interesting feature between Miller’s play and McCarthyism was the characteristics of the people who actually plot everything. At first glance Senator Joseph McCarthy and Abigail Williams, the antagonists during McCarthyism and throughout The Crucible respectively, seem very different, however, their actions and mannerism are mirrored in many aspects. In both cases the antagonists influence their trials greatly. McCarthy went far to run the trials while Abigail manipulated the judge to ensure her triumph. McCarthy and Abigail are both manipulative and use power for personal gain. McCarthy and Abigail both have the ability to have many people believe things that were not true and have action to execute that individuals plan. McCarthy made an accusation that started paranoia and accused many people of being a communist sympathizer, like Abigail did when she said the names of people such as “Sarah Good”, “Goody Osburn” and others who were supposedly witches and who she supposedly saw with the devil and got them killed. Those who did not agree with their practices or who openly spoke against them were immediately accused or declared guilty of the crime, whatever if it was witchcraft or communist activity.

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