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Comparing the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare

Inspired by the Red Scare, which was fuled by use of the either-or ( black and white) fallacy of thinking, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible depicts the village of Salem undergoing its own period of black and white thinking along with the suspicion and hysteria which followed. Miller exploits the literary element of setting to support the portrayal of the effects of black and white thinking in Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

The beginning of something new establishes a setting of opportunities, creating optimism and purpose for an uncertain future. The establishment of colonies in the New World presented a delectable scenario for curious opportunists and religious refugees. For reasons of economic gain, escape from religious repression, and a multitude of other reasons, colonists from England decided to take a risk and pursue a possibility of freedom. They perceived this New World as an unknown, a place where its native inhabitants were “blind” and desperately needed the revelation of god. Because the colonists wanted to help the natives obtain salvation, they branded this motive in the first seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony: “Come over and help us,” (The First Seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.) Their seal reflected the commercial and missionary intentions of the first colonists. The colonists viewed themselves as the flaming touch about to set light upon the shadows existing in the New World. “They believed, in short, that they held in their steady hands the candle that would light the world. […] It helped them with the discipline it gave them.” (The Crucible, 5) They were the people to work hard and show success. They were the people to maintain strict orthodox. They were the people to succeed where oth…

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…ion in the village, hysteria settled in and people turned against one another.

In a setting of purity and orthodox, the usage of black and white thinking in the village of Salem had devastating effects. After the creation a brand new society, optimism for a bright future was high. Because of this optimism, the usage of black and white thinking made any anomalies critical in the colonists’ society. The townspeople enacted blind accusations and incriminating false charges based on suspicion which arose from the usage of black and white thinking. From the colony’s staunchly religious setting, black and white thinking became a major cause of the turmoil, suspicion and hysteria that rapidly spread throughout the town. This type of either-or fallacy, like those from the McCarthy Era, turned average citizens into fearful and suspicious vigilantes against unorthodox.

Free Essays on The Crucible: Struggles Crucible Essays

The Crucible- Struggles in the Play The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is a story that contains many struggles. These struggles come about as a result of the strict Puritan society in which the story takes place. There are two main struggles in the book. The first never actually takes place in the story, but is described many times throughout the first act and is the basis for the trials. It is Abigail’s and all the other girls’ need to be free and act like teenagers. The second is the result of the corruption of the trials. It is John Proctor’s fight to convince the townspeople that the accused women are not witches (especially his wife), and that it is Abigail who should be killed instead. In Puritan society, the role of the child is to be quiet, and stay out of the way. When Abigail is being considered a witch in the first moments of the story, Rev. Paris is very worried about how this will effect his image, and not of the fate of Abigail. It is this society where Abigail feels the need to break loose and to act the way a teenager should: freely. This is the reason why she goes dancing in the forest. She is expressing her need to act her age and to break out of the restrictions of Puritan law. Her struggle is to do what she wants in a society that believes in ordering her around. It becomes obvious soon after the trials started that many people were going to be falsely accused by their neighbors as a method of revenge, and as an outlet for their maliciousness. When Abigail uses this case to attack Rebecca Nurse, one of the best Puritans in the Salem, John Proctor begins his efforts to stop the injustice. This increases when Elizabeth Proctor is tried and sentenced to death. This is John Proctor’s struggle. He must fight to save his wife, his community and eventually himself. In addition, he also has to convince the leaders of Salem that they are mistaken in believing in Abigail. Although Abigail and Proctor are mortal enemies, their struggles can be seen as almost identical. They both need to change the way the higherarchy of Salem is doing things. And also, both of them would just like to live normal lives (however, when Abigail realizes she cannot have this, she goes crazy by accusing everybody). This is shown when John Proctor breaks some of the harsher of the Puritan rule, and that he dislikes all of the speeches about damnation given by Rev. Paris. Unfortunately, the struggle of Abigail goes awry and results in many people dying, while the valiant efforts of John Proctor are unable to save Salem from one of the greatest tragedies in American history.

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