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What was the "evidence" used in both Arthur Miller's based The Crucible and the...

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lauren1721 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 11, 2013 at 6:29 PM via iOS

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What was the "evidence" used in both Arthur Miller's based The Crucible and the McCarthy trials of the 1950's?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 11, 2013 at 6:54 PM (Answer #1)

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Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, uses evidence similar to the evidence in the McCarthy trials (Red Scare). The Red Scare, and the trials, were the result of "heightened the political tensions of the times" regarding communism. Miller's play, similarly, illustrates heightened tension regarding the hysteria surrounding the accusations of witchcraft in the town of Salem. As with the actual trials, no true evidence was found in regard to tying many of those accused of communistic activities or sympathy. In fact, many of those tried were so based upon "a single unsubstantiated accusation" ("Arthur Miller"). 

As with the Red Scare, all of the accusations made within Miller's play were "unsubstantiated" as well. Abagail has no proof that Elizabeth is a witch; she (Abagail) only wishes to have John for herself. Accusing Elizabeth, and her arrest, essentially get Elizabeth away from John so Abby can have him. Mary Warren has no real proof that Sarah Good is a witch. In fact, she simply accuses her of mumbling and being unable to say her commandments. At a couple places in the play, Abagail and her girls accuse others of pinching them and chocking them. This is done when the spirit of the person comes out and attacks another. This is referred to as spectral evidence. Spectral evidence was thrown out as people of high power began to be accused of witchcraft. 

In the end, no real evidence existed in either the play or the McCarthy trials. All evidence was created and unsubstantiated. 

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