Santiago charged attack on U.S. District Judge Gonzalo

Santiago CruzEnglish 3Ms.

Brincks09 December 2017 The Parallels Between The Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (Santayana). Donald Trump’s racially charged attack on U.S.

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District Judge Gonzalo Curiel is the spirit of McCarthism today. The Crucible is a 1952 play by the American author Arthur Miller. It is a play of the Salem witch trials that took place in Massachusetts during the mid 1600’s.

Miller wrote the play as an allegory to McCarthyism, when the US government blacklisted and accused communists. Miller himself was questioned by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s. The U.

S House of Representatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to identify communists at meetings he had attended. Miller felt that this production was too cold and the reviews for it were largely hostile. Hysteria over the perceived threat posed by Communists in the U.S. became known as the Red Scare. The Red Scare led to many actions that had a long lasting effect on U.

S. government and society. The House Un-American Activities Committee, as well as U.S. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, investigated allegations of subversive elements in the Hollywood film industry. The fear linked to the Red Scare finally began to ease by the late 1950s. The Crucible parallels McCarthyism in three significant ways: authorities required people to “name names” and accused people with little to no proof; eventually, however, a few brave people resisted the hysteria and corruption.

The first parallel between The Crucible and McCarthyism is that authorities required people to “name names.” Danforth (Salem judge) is trying to get John Proctor to confess to watching others dance with the Devil, John states that, “They think to go like saints. I like not to spoil their names”(Miller 238). John does not mention any names to Danforth because he does not want anyone else to die or get hurt. As a result John dies a matyr’s death. Similarly, Elia Kazan a Hollywood director, is summoned before HUAC to testify and name Communists.

At first Kazan does not name them but the second time he is summoned he rats on all the ones that he knows. Kazan came to his own conclusion that “I did no wrong to withhold these names before, because secrecy serves the communists” (qtd. In Bentley). He had to choose between his friends and jail, either way he knew that his reputation would be ruined so he chose his friends as a result. It is safe to say that in both The Crucible and McCarthyism compare in which both accused lose due to confession. The second parallel between The Crucible and McCarthyism is that authorities accused people with little to no proof. Betty, recently woke up from a very long sleep stating, “I saw George Jacobs with the Devil! I saw Goody Howe with the Devil!” (Miller 189). There is no one who could tell Betty what she saw and if she saw correctly.

Similarly, McCarthy testified before HUAC stating, “I have in my hand a list of two hundred and five…

members of the Communist Party” (“I Have Here in my Hand”). In the following weeks McCarthy claimed that the number of Communists decreased to 57. It’s evident that The Crucible is a parallel to McCarthyism because both events accused people with little to no evidence. The final parallel between The Crucible and McCarthyism is that a very few people resisted the hysteria and corruption. Mary Warren is running to see why Betty tried to jump out the window stating, “What’ll we do? The village is out! I just come from the farm; the whole country’s talkin’ witchcraft” (Miller 174), Mary Warren is closing the doors to protect Betty from the townspeople. Similarly, Einstein wrote a letter to his teacher talking about how to opppose Congressional investigations.

Einstein states that,”he must be prepared for jail and economic ruin.” (qtd. In Bentley). He is sending a message to all people who refuse to testify before Congress that they should start thinking about becoming broke, because opposition against Congress means jail time. It is sad to say but this is a parallel between The Crucible and McCarthyism because both writing show hysteria in their own unique rights. The Crucible is a parallel to McCarthyism because many people were accused with little to no information. The two are also parallels due to the excessive amount of hysteria both events had caused. In The Crucible people would accuse others of witchcraft to protect themselves from hanging, just as those accused of communism would blame others without evidence.

Also in The Crucible when witchcraft started becoming a big deal, everybody quickly became nervous, as well did the nation when the people thought communists were infiltrating the government. People can learn how to be more rational and not always believe what is said by another.


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