Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible, is an allegory of the Red Scare that impacted society mentally, physically, and spiritually. The Crucible took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. A group of girls went dancing in the forest with an African American slave who name was Tituba, but they were caught by Reverend Parris. Reverend Parris was mad because his daughter Betty lies unconscious and seems very ill after the group of girls were caught, but their local physician was unable to determine what was wrong with Betty. A lot of people was gathered at Parris home and witchcraft was being spread across the town.
Reverend Parris being so sacred and paranoid about his self-image sent for Reverend Hale to exam and get to the bottom of the witchcraft suspicion. While waiting for Hale, Parris questions Abigail Williams about what happened in the forest but her answer to remained nothing but dancing. While Reverend Parris went outside to talk to the crowd and clear up the suspicion, Abigail warns her friend that at the forest with her last night to not reveal anything they were doing. While Abigail was having a conversation with the girls, Betty wakes up talking about how she saw Abigail drinking blood and cast spells to kill Elizabeth Proctor and Abigail threatens every single girl with violence. Then Betty falls right back to sleep again. John Proctor arrives and talks to Abigail alone about their former relationship, but Abigail grew angry with Proctor because he refuses to accept any feelings for her. While they were talking Betty wakes up screaming out the window.
Some people from the crowd rushed upstairs to stop her and calm her down. Reverend Hale arrives too see what is going and he also asked Abigail about what the girls were doing in the forest at the time and she blamed Tituba for forcing her to sin. Parris and Hale interrogate Tituba for a good minute and she finally confesses to communicating with the devil and she also blames various of townsfolk for associating with the devil as well. Then Abigail also joins in and Betty wakes up. Betty and Abigail began named people that they had seen with the accompanying the devil. A week later, Elizabeth finds out that Proctor spoke to Abigail privately with no one around while in Salem. Elizabeth urges Proctor to accuse Abigail as a fraud, but he refuses, and she becomes jealous.
Elizabeth and Proctor argue over this and Mary Warren comes in and gives Elizabeth a poppet (doll) that she made sitting in the courtroom while confessing that Elizabeth was accused of witchcraft, but the court dismissed the charge because she defended her. Proctor sent Mary Warren to bed (even though it took some time) while he and Elizabeth continue talking soon to be by Reverend Hale. While they were discussing the lack of appearance at church, Giles Corey and Francis Nurse came to tell Proctor that their wives have been arrested, making Proctor open up to Hale about how Abigail admitted to him that all the witchcraft charges are false. Marshal Herrick arrives at Proctor house and arrested Elizabeth due to Abigail accusation which was Elizabeth stabbing her with a needle trying to kill her with a poppet. Mary Warren admit that she sewed the poppet and put a needle inside it for safe keeping and she also mentioned that Abigail saw her do it but they still arrested Elizabeth.
The next day, Proctor brings Mary to court so she can testify to Danforth that her and the girls are faking it. Danforth tell Proctor motives that his wife is pregnant and that they spare her until she gives birth. Proctor denied the charge because he feels that everyone accused should be freed. Mary Warren confessed that Abigail and the other girls are also lying but Abigail denies Mary Warren accusation. Abigail being scared started claiming that Mary Warren is sending her spirits at them in the court. Proctor was mad and confess affair with Abigail and accused her of being jealous of his wife and having an affair with her. Danforth summons Elizabeth but Elizabeth not knowing the Proctor confessed, she lied about the affair and is returned to jail. Mary breaks down of fear and accuses Proctor of being a witch because she grew terrified of Abigail. Proctor is arrested and Hale quits.
Several months pass by, Proctor is in prison along with Rebecca Nurse and Elizabeth is also in prison, but she will not be executed like promise until after she gives birth. Abigail ran away and took all Parris money with her. Danforth came up with idea to ask Elizabeth to talk to John into confessing. John Proctor agrees to confess but destroys the document because he feels like he already gave them his soul and he rather keep his self-image at least which is his name. Proctor goes to the gallows and was hanged with others like Rebecca Nurse. Arthur Miller’s inspiration for writing The Crucible came from the events surrounding the McCarthy and their similarity to the historical Salem Witch Trails, “Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets,” by Arthur Miller.
What happened that led Arthur Miller to write the crucible was that he was convicted for disrespect and disapproval of the United States Congress for not naming several individuals who had attended meeting with him (Write a Writing, 3 Sept. 2010). So, the only way Miller was able to save his job at the time was that he had to find some kind of event the was similar to the misinformation the government was giving which led him to finding the ‘Salem With Trials’ of the early 1690s which made Arthur Miller give the characters in the play the same tragedies and sentences so American can understand the wrong McCarthy was doing and to get his point across (Write a Writing, 3 Sept. 2010). Some may not know that Arthur Miller was only using the “Salem With Trial” as metaphor to draw attention to what the government was doing and people were not really executed like character in the “Salem Witch Trial, they were only sentenced to jail and blacklisted (Write a Writing, 3 Sept. 2010).
According to A&E Networks Television, Arthur Miller was born in Harlem, New York, on October 17,1915. His family were Polish and Jewish immigrants. Miller father name was Isidore and he owned a successful coat manufacturing business. Whereas Miller mother who name was Augusta was an educator and an avid reader of novels. In 1929, Miller and his family almost lost everything due to the Wall Street Crash, so they had to move to Flatbush, Brooklyn. Miller attend University of Michigan and in college he wrote in the student paper. Also, in college is where Miller wrote his first play which was named “No Villain”.
Miller moved back east so continue his career as a playwright after he finish taking courses in it. Miller and Monroe were married for five years, and during the marriage he barely wrote during their marriage, except for penning the screenplay of the Misfits. In 1961, Monroe and Miller divorces. In 1962, Miller married Austrian-born photographer Inge Morath. The couple had two children, Rebecca and Daniel. In 2002, Miller’s third wife, Morath died. He soon was engaged to 34-year-old minimalist painter Agnes Barley but fell into ill health before they could walk down the aisle. Miller died at the age 89 due to a heart failure at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, surrounded by Barley, family and friends.
After the success of The Crucible, Miller was blacklisted as a communist. When researching the McCarthyism that led to Miller being blacklist, it is well aware that Senator Joseph McCarthy made a public accusation about how more than two hundred communists had intruded the United States government even though it was untrue (Public Broadcasting Service, 8 Apr. 2020). Due to the accusation that McCarthy it had become the most interesting thing in the political tensions. McCarthyism made it difficult writers and entertainer because some of them were label as a communist sympathizer making it hard for them to continue working, it took their passports away, and it even sent some people to jail because they refusing to give up names (Public Broadcasting Service, 8 Apr. 2020).
Through it all the trial was publicized causing people career to be destroyed with a single unsubstantiated accusation and some well-known artists were accused of communist such as Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan, Charlie Chaplin, and more (Public Broadcasting Service, 8 Apr. 2020). There was a total of 320 artists who were blacklisted and for most of them it ended their career for good but through it all you still had some people who stand up against McCarthy and the anti-communist wrongdoing (Public Broadcasting Service, 8 Apr. 2020). By 1954, everything ended and most writers, entertainer, and actor where able to work again but this was part of history was name as one of the most shameful moments in modern U.S. history (Public Broadcasting Service, 8 Apr. 2020).
Historical perception of Witches
According to A&E Television Networks, Witches were known as evil and were huge icon figure for Halloween and were people who practiced witchcraft and used magic spells. They also calling upon spirits for help or to bring change but to pagans’ witches were doing the Devil’s work. Witched originated from the Bible in the book of 1 Samuel which was between 931 B.C. and 721 B.C. (A&E Television Networks, 12 Sept. 2017). When researching on A&E Television Networks its mention that more information about witches pop up in Exodus 22:18, which says, “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” which is probably why in the play “The Crucible” the townsfolks believe that any who is caught dong witchcraft or is a witch should be hanged.
Other places the that dealt with witches beside Salem are Windsor, Connecticut in 1647, Virginia, and Lower Norfolk county in 1655 (A&E Television Networks, 12 Sept. 2017). In the Crucible, the townsfolks believe that dancing is an abomination, “Parris: Now then… Abomination are done in the forest-” (Arthur Miller, The Crucible 1953), and that witchcraft is a crime, and all will be hung for it, “Danforth:…But witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime..” (Arthur Miller, The Crucible 1953), “Danforth:…Bible, writ by Almighty God, forbid practice of witchcraft, and describe death as the penalty…” (Arthur Miller, The Crucible 1953).
Puritanism and Communism
Communism affected people in the sense that it affected the way people thought, people behaved, and caused some people to become poor (Bartleby). Whereas, Puritans are extremely religious, put God before anyone else, and live restrictively and refrain from sin (Bartleby). Puritans live by four characteristics which were honesty, integrity, and faithfulness (Bartleby). Arthur Miler chose The Salem With Trials to show society that this was not the first time the government spread fear and false accusations to sentence innocent people.
In the Crucible, the puritans hung anyone who done witchcraft or is believed to be a witch by the kids who they believe feel the spirits or have seem them in their dream even they were faking the whole time, so they do not get trouble. Whereas others were trying to prove the children were lying such as John Proctor, Giles Corey, Reverend Hale, and at some point, Mary Warren.
Also, those who were accuse of witchcraft kept the same answer and not confessing that they are a witch or doing any witchcraft (Arthur Miller, The Crucible: Act Two & Act Three). In the McCarthy era, puritans were taking away communist passport, making them unable to work, putting them in jail, and false accusing them with evidence but some communist was standing up for themselves, alerting other American of what the government wrong doing causing Arthur Miller to write The Crucible to symbolize what was going on during the McCarthy era so people can see the cruelty (Write a Writing, 3 Sept. 2010).
The way the events surrounding the McCarthy trails resemble the way the Salem Witch Trials were conducted is that McCarthy trails accused people for being communists, it damaged people image, it sent false accused citizens to jail, it was started by McCarthy, McCarthy was feared by others, and at the end some people did not get their job back (Public Broadcasting Service, 8 Apr. 2020). Now the Salem Witch Trials people was accused of being witches or witchcraft, some people were getting executed for false information, townsfolks self-image was ruined for good, witches were the reason why society was crashing, Abigail was fear by other girls, and innocent people were left to take the blame for Abigail false information and her running away (Arthur Miller, The Crucible 1953).
The similarities between the Salem With Trials and McCarthyism Trials is that both accuser wanted to get rid of certain people, people were accuse with false accusation, certain people feared McCarthy and Abigail, people were sent to jail, some people self-image were ruined, and at the end of both townsfolks or Americans will never forget what happened making it go down in history. Now the Puritans believe that people who to turned away from religion and didn’t want to live by the lord are the one that led to the Salem Witch Trials which is not true because some were just tired of following strict rules and the Bible.
Exactly what happened in the Crucible and more. That’s why the townsfolks in the play the believe that dancing was an abomination, ““Parris: Now then… Abomination are done in the forest-” (Arthur Miller, The Crucible: Act One) and false accusing one another just because they feel like others are not Godly, Mr. Putman ((Arthur Miller, The Crucible: Act Two). So, the only way the Puritans believe was the right way was to hang for their sinful people meaning the accused witches, “Danforth:…Bible, writ by Almighty God, forbid practice of witchcraft, and describe death as the penalty…” (Arthur Miller, The Crucible: Act Three).
In conclusion, Arthur Miller showed how the government can impact society mentally, physically, and spiritually, by spreading hysteria, and threatening their livelihood by using the “Salem Witch Trial” to show similar problem as the “McCarthyism Trial”. Both of the events the accuser wanted to get rid of certain people, people were accuse with false accusation, certain people feared McCarthy and Abigail, people were sent to jail, some people self-image were ruined, and at the end of both people will never forget what happened making it go down in history. “I have given you my soul, leave me my name,” Arthur Miller, The Crucible.