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The Allegory of McCarthyism in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

The play “The Crucible”, written by Arthur Miller, used The Salem Witch Hunt trials as an allegory of the McCarthy hearings and the true horrors behind how America dealt with attempted Communism. Tension is evident throughout the play, and each character participates in intensifying it which entangles them into the extreme consequences of the tension they helped to circulate. The significance of Salem is that the tension can be sourced from within every character as they are engulfed in hidden and publically known feuds. The tension must be created, but the audience must determine who is to blame for it. Certain extracts are more explosive in the tension they channel and the hysteria that they circulate than others; therefore I shall explore these extracts in depth to display how tension is a key aspect of this play. An interesting extract of dramatic tension is in Act One of the play and sees Miller amplifying tension by using Abigail‘s struggle to evade the consequences of her actions and her frantic attempts to transfer the blame from herself to others. She hesitates repeatedly as her answers differ and contradict each other in reply to her uncle admitting that Abigail that she was involved with the sinners. Abigail betrays Tituba, and so increases the tension on the stage, as a confused Tituba is whipped and punished after Abigail accuses her of witchcraft. Abigail stammers that it was “Tituba, Tituba…” and trails off nervously to see whether the men believe her accusations of witchcraft. The tension in this extract climaxes as we see Tituba violently interrogated with questions such as “Woman, have you enlisted these children for the devil?” This is a key episode in the play as it is the first accusation of witchcraft, … … middle of paper … … hysteria that is when John dies. The hidden sins and family secrets provide a good base for the tension in Salem which has feuds and bitterness added to them in situations to heighten it to substantial levels. One may view that tension is created by the themes of betrayal, self importance and reputation in Salem as they are the reason that there are feuds and friction in the town. The tension may not be created by hysteria, but hysteria can be seen as a great fuel for it as in the scenes when tension is peaking, hysteria is evident with people shouting, fighting and screaming and this is shown through Miller’s use of caesurae which emphasizes the shouting and abrupt sentences that accompany hysteria. However, finally tension is resolved with the death of John Proctor who not only takes away Salem’s sins but also the feuds and tension that peaked around his death.

Mass Hysteria Today and in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible displays the absolute control that the ego can have on not only the individual but on a society as well. A person may think that witch hunts are a confection of the past because as a modern society we do not fall victim so easily to ploys such as those which were created by the young girls of Salem. This however is untrue because within my short lifetime I have seen that we have been programmed to be fearful of terrorists, Ebola, and even ourselves. A great majority of these anxieties have been trumpeted by our media, elected officials, and religious institutions. In seeking my full liberation from such fears, I have come to the greater understanding that love and wisdom are the essential tools for setting one’s own courses. Hence, my purpose is to love unconditionally while sharing my own wisdom with those who have the shared interest; this is my path to liberation. Utilizing events which happened in The Crucible and connecting them to our current culture, I will contend that we still live in a state of fear and are still struggling to progress beyond that level.

The constraints placed by social norms can create a feeling of isolation not only from other humans, but from nature and even the self. Our population has been divided, spliced and puréed according to a plethora of categories which include; gender, sexuality, economic status, “race”, ethnicity, religion, political party and so many more. It really is a wonder how anyone is able to identify themselves within these quarters, for these classifications really don’t allow for one to simply exist. Osho urges one to get out of these institutions, for they are “cages” with “beautiful names” (Osho 117). However, once one has consciously made …

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…om or quark may exist and “disappear” within the blink of a millisecond, my shared existence must be the same. My knowledge and opinions must flow with that of the universe embracing the ability to always be ever changing.

Works Cited:

Chopra, Deepak Creating affluence wealth consciousness in the field of all possibilities.

San Rafael: New World Library, 1993

Freedman, Morris Essays in the Modern Drama. Boston: D.C Heath and Company, 1964

Grant, Parthenia O. Honoring the Body Temple. 1st ed

Miller, Arthur Crucible a Play in Four Acts. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1976

OSHO The Zen Manifesto, Freedom From Oneself. Rebel Pub. House, 1997

Revolver. Dir. Guy Ritchie. Perf. Ray Liotta and Jason Statham. DVD. Sony Pictures

Home Entertainment, 2005.

The Esoteric Agenda. Ben Stewart. Talismanic Idols. 2008

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