In Arthur Miller's The Crucible what relevance can we make to today's society?

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pirateteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most poignant parts of Miller's The Crucible is how it's message and meaning still ring true today.

At the time of its publication, The Crucible mirrored the Cold War between the United States and the then Soviet Union.  Fear of Communism quickly spread through the US the same way the fear of witches spread through Salem.  Fair trials were replaced by “hearings” where the accused were guilty until proven innocent instead of innocent until proved guilty. The House Committee on Un-American Activities was formed to "hunt" communists in the US and punish them. Just as in the play, neighbors begin to turn on neighbors out of fear and often out of spite.  The only “proof” the committee needed was for someone else to say your name.

Though the Cold War is over, our modern society still is faced with bigotry against races, religions, and people who are the least bit different.  We also are all still too often susceptible to hysteria and rumors.  Watch the news or read a newspaper and see how a story that begins as a rumor then spreads throughout the world (even more quickly now because of the internet) as absolute truth.  People are just as quick to judge, cast doubt, and point fingers as the girls were in Salem. 

Unfortunately, we also see elected officials who, just like Danforth and Hawthorne, are so blinded by what they believe to be right, that they are unwilling to listen to other sides or opinions.  So, even though it was written many years ago, it’s message of caution is still just as important.