In The Crucible, compare the environments of Salem and the McCarthy Era.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Simply put, there are many.  I have always seen Miller's work and Elia Kazan's work, "On the Waterfront," as opposing views on the McCarthy Era.  The latter is the positive spin on naming names and identifying individuals as "wrong doers."  The former is its countervailing force.  The fundamental link between both Salem in the play and McCarthy is a simple one:  What happens when the authority structure becomes corrupted by a charismatic individual who can mold the minds of others?  Abigail and Joe McCarthy were able to capture the imagination of others with their accusations and fear mongering.  Both of them played on the fundamental fears of their constituency (Salem, witches, and America, Communist.)  They were able to consolidate their own power through the manufacture of hysteria and complete paranoia, and in the process, advance their own agenda (McCarthy, political aspirations, and Abigail, sensual desires for John.)  In the end, the atmosphere created was one where silence had to be embraced.  Any individual who spoke out did so under fear of banishment, the label of the political authority structure, or undue pressure.  When Proctor has to go against this, we see the struggles that Miller and his colleagues had to endure in speaking out against what was a fundamentally unjust configuration of a system, similar to Salem.  When Proctor yells about the need to keep "his name," it is a sad reminder that the House Unamerican Activties Committee did much to strip others of their names and dignity.