Describe how Abigail Williams's persona in act 2, scene 2 relates to McCarthyism.

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Abigail Williams's persona in act 2, scene 2 of The Crucible is very much the same as in the rest of the play in that, in true McCarthyite fashion, she is abusing her power to destroy other people's lives and reputations.

In act 2, scene 2, we see Abigail making a power play, the end of which she hopes will see her taking Elizabeth's place as John Proctor's wife. Having already achieved considerable power in Salem due to her leading role in the witch craze sweeping town, Abigail feels invincible, that she can do anything she wants.

The parallels here with McCarthy are difficult to ignore. Having built up a considerable degree of power due to the anti-communist witch hunts of his Senate subcommittee, McCarthy became, for a time, politically untouchable. Most people were frightened of him, frightened of being labeled a Communist for daring to challenge his false accusations and his abuse of power.

Much the same could be said of Abigail Williams. In a very short time, she has achieved a frightening level of power on the basis of false accusations of witchcraft. No one dares move against her for fear of being arraigned as a witch and sent to the gallows.

Elizabeth realizes just how dangerous Abigail is, as numerous individuals in McCarthy's day realized how dangerous he was. But Elizabeth's voice, like those of McCarthy's opponents, carries little weight in the midst of an atmosphere of mass hysteria.

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