Crucible And McCarthy Trials

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Crucible and McCarthy trials are both very important events in the American history. They are true examples that show us how people when are afraid don't think logically and rationally. This happened two times in the American history and ended up with bad results. The main themes in both trials are hysteria, suspicion, revenge, and fear. These themes connect both stories and their tragic endings. The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is based upon the experiences of real people. It traces the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690's in America. The characters in the play were based upon actual people who survived, or didn't survive the trials and hysteria. However, the characters in the play fates were not exactly those of the real people. McCarthy trials are also based on the real people and false accusations of being a communist. In both trials the people were accused with no evidence, they didn't get to defend themselves, they were forced to confess and also were made to implicate others and by confessing they could go free.

In the Crucible, January of 1692, the daughter and niece of Reverend Samuel Parris of Salem Village became ill. When they failed to improve, the village doctor, William Griggs, was called in. His diagnosis of bewitchment put into motion the forces that would ultimately result in the death by hanging of nineteen men and women. In addition, one man was crushed to death; seventeen others died in prison, and the lives of many were irrevocably changed. To understand the events of the Salem witch trials, it is necessary to examine the times in which accusations of witchcraft occurred. There were the ordinary stresses of 17th-century life in Massachusetts Bay Colony. A strong belief in the devil, factions among Salem Village fanatics and rivalry with nearby Salem Town, a recent small pox epidemic and the threat of attack by warring tribes created a fertile ground for fear and suspicion. Soon prisons were filled with more than 150 men and women from towns surrounding Salem. Their names had been "cried out" by tormented young girls as the cause of their pain. All would await trial for a crime punishable by death in 17th-century New England, the practice of witchcraft.

The witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts in the early sixteen hundreds was a time of uneasiness and suspicion. Anyone could easily turn in his or her neighbor on the ground of witchcraft. Someone could merely say their neighbor's spirit had attacked them during the night, which no man can prove. Nevertheless, as a God-fearing community, they could not think of denying the evidence, because to deny the existence of Evil is to deny the existence of Goodness, which is God. The most important scene in the play was act two, scene three, where John Proctor is able to talk with his wife, Elizabeth, one last time. He decides that he will "confess" to the crime of witchcraft, thereby avoiding being hung. However, to accept what he said, the judge also requires him to sign a written confession which states that he confessed to the crime of witchcraft What was most important to him was to make a stand against the insanity of the town, for himself and for God, and using that as a last resort to make people aware of what was happening. This last stand for righteousness is an example of proctor's great character and rationale. Arthur Miller wrote his play, The Crucible, a story about the Salem witch trials, and the panic resulting from it, as an allegory to show people the insanity of the McCarthy hearings. He wrote it as an allegory so that, if tried by McCarthy, he could say, "it's just a play about the witch trials in Salem. How do you get this communist idea from it?" The story illustrates how people react to mass hysteria, created by a person or group of people desiring fame, as people did during the McCarthy hearings. Arthur Miller, acting as a great visionary, warned us that if we did not become aware of history repeating itself, our society would be in danger. At the same time, he had to do this in a matter that would not get him arrested, hence the witch-trial mechanization. Death is a such a strong accusation with no supporting evidence. Back then if you didn't get along with someone you could just accuse them of being a witch because people knew that no evidence was needed.

Revenge was one of the main themes that played in both scenarios. Many people were executed because of their beliefs. There are three main reasons for the executions that took place in Salem in the late seventeenth century. Of the many reasons for the accusations, revenge had a huge impact on who was accused. The book entitled The Crucible speaks of this. One character in particular was accused because of a land dispute. Land was very important to people back then, but claiming it was a hard thing to do. Religion had an impact on revenge as well. Mr. Parris, the minister of Salem, wanted revenge on John Proctor for not attending Church. The most noticeable case of revenge was from Abby towards John Proctor's wife Elizabeth. Abby was angry with Elizabeth for kicking her out of the house because of Abby's relationship with John that had grown sexual over time. Revenge had caused these people to act harshly upon one another. Many accusations were made because of fear, weather it be fear for one's life, or fear of another person.

As you see, I highlighted the three main reasons for the executions that took place in Salem Massachusetts. Revenge, fear, and personal safety were all reasons for the accusations that flew. But none of this would have happened if the girls had lied. Personally I believe that no deaths if not a fewer amount would have taken place if the girls had accepted their punishment for disobeying the rules.

McCarthy trials were based on suspicion and fear of spread of communism. Many innocent people were accused because of these reasons. Suspicion was based on communist meetings that were held during 1960's. If a person attended at least one of them they were accused of being a communist and anybody that they knew was a suspect. This was caused because of the fear that communism would spread over American people.

Anger goes through the minds of many characters in the play The Crucible. For Example, When Parris is angry at Abigail because he thinks she's not telling him all that happened in the woods, he says, "I pray you feel the weight of truth upon you, for now my ministry's at stake my ministry and perhaps your cousins life!" (1039) In this Paris's Job as a minister is in jeopardy, he needs to know what happened in the woods and he is angry that Abigail isn't telling the whole story. Abigail is not telling him the whole story because she is afraid of what might happen to her. In addition, anger is evident in this play when Abigail is mad at the girls because she believes they are going to confess to all the things they did in the woods. In the McCarthy hearings anger is shown mostly through accusations that judges made. They expected that the accused would admit to being a communist. But their expectations were wrong even thought they knew that most of the accusers were not guilty of communism, they didn't want to admit their mistake because they would lose their high place in the society and the power of government.

Jealousy was one of he emotions that played an important factor in this play. For example, When Abigail stated, "now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam's dead sisters. And that is all. Let either of you breathe a word. About the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you". (1044) This quote shows how Abigail would make the girls jealous by the way she is taking control of them and manipulating them not to speak a word of what happened and to convince them to keep quiet about the witchcraft or even blaming Tituba for it. She also threatens to kill anyone if they mention that they had anything to do with the acts of witchcraft. In addition there is no explanation for the actions and that Abigail went to in order to clear her name. Jealousy was firmly put forth by Abigail in an attempt to keep these acts from going around but unfortunately later on in the play we find out that she was not successful knowing that the whole town found out. In conclusion the crucible had many emotions that guided the play but anger and jealousy were the most frequently used. The belief of the devil in Salem, remains an unpleasant mystery. Many are at trail and more will come. Anger guides the town for what happened in 1692 and jealousy frequently takes place. Anger is a big emotion that happens in many of our lives today Abigail was the one who mostly used anger in the play The Crucible. In the McCarthy trials jealousy was played out through peoples envy of the successful people in the Hollywood. By accusing them of being a communist they successfully managed to bring individuals success down.

The most intensive focus of the Red Hunters was on Hollywood, perceived as the shaper of public thought. Many writers and performers moved to Mexico or Europe to avoid being put in prison. There was great pressure to avoid controversial subject matter in films or on TV, and the result was the Ozzie and Harriet myth, Doris Day and Annette Funicello, Beach Blanket Bingo: silly, vapid entertainment.

We have learned in the America to protect people accused of crimes. We are trying to stop another injustice like the Salem witchcraft trials and McCarthy hearings. During the World War two Americans were afraid of the Japanese so they put all the Asians living in America into internment camps. Those people were probably not Japanese spies. But Americans were living in the climate of fear and suspicion like in Salem Witchcraft trials and McCarty era. Many lives and families were destroyed. This is not very American way to act we must critically thinking people so we do not act out of fear and suspicion and treat people unjustly. This is why we must question the authority. If more people had not been afraid of the government they might have helped to stop the injustice. The Salem trials ended when the accusers like Putnam tried to undermine the governor of the Massachusetts. They accused his wife of witchcraft. He stopped the trails. He took away the spectra evidence that could not be used as proof. McCarthy tried to prove the head of the army was a communist, but President Eisenhower used to be an army general before he became a president. He didn't like McCarthy trying to show the army as un-American. He stopped Joe McCarthy. Just because the governor and the president had power they could stop the injustice when it started to effect them and those they loved. Leaders should do the right thing when they realize there is an injustice. Society cannot wait around for their leaders to save them. We have to stand up for the truth and the justice. Sometimes that is a big cost to the person.

Sarah Good, Mary and many others lost their lives because they would not live and let the injustice and chaos continue. Luckily no one was convicted in the McCarthy hearings. But some people committed suicide because of the McCarthy hearings. Now we have laws to protect the accused. Still people of a country must be careful to use logic and good judgment and not act out of fear like they did in Salem and McCarthy hearings.