Explain what events in Miller's America the play parallels and what Miller is saying about them in The Crucible. Mainly about the hysteria, paranoia and false accusation. The comparisons of the...
Explain what events in Miller's America the play parallels and what Miller is saying about them in The Crucible.
Mainly about the hysteria, paranoia and false accusation.
The comparisons of the witch trails and witch hunts of the 1950s. What aspects of society is Miller condeming generally?
Miller's work has strong parallels to the McCarthyist hearings of the House Unamerican Activities Committee. HUAC used the public hearings to demonize and brand individuals as a "Communist" in a false pursuit of justice. The individuals in charge of the committee, most notably Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn, used their position of power to consolidate their own power, prey on public fears, and inspire a sense of fear in the body politic which would result in an automatic embrace of governing bodies. There was little in the way of reflection and open and forthright analysis in these hearings. Miller's work seems to act as a direct contradiction to these practices. In much the same way HUAC branded individuals as Communists and sought to destroy lives, the witchcraft trials did much of the same. In both settings, there were little in the way of institutional checks and limitations to prevent these miscarriages of justices from forming. Additionally, in both settings, proof and established rights were sacrificed for hearsay and insinuation. Through the play and his own life, Miller is criticizing any social setting where individual voices are silenced out of fear and when "the best lack all conviction and the worst are filled with passionate intensity," to quote from Yeats.