The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

The Crucible book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How does Miller compare the Salem Witch Trials to the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings (HUAC) in The Crucible?

Expert Answers info

Bridgett Sumner, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookM.A. from Hofstra University


calendarEducator since 2016

write1,749 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

The House Un-American Activities Committee hearings were often public and characterized by spectacle. Like the Salem trials, the more public panic that could be whipped up, the more legitimate the proceedings appeared to be, and the more credible the authorities seemed in pursuing their often baseless suspicions and allegations.

In both cases, citizens who came under suspicion were offered leniency by the authorities if they implicated others by giving up their names. And in both cases, admission of guilt carried with it the loss of one's reputation. Excommunication of confessed witches from the Puritan church and community and blacklisting of confessed Communists were ruinous to the lives of people in both situations.

The courts of Oyer and Terminer in The Crucible and the HUAC hearings in real life both began their proceedings with a presumption of guilt, rather than the presumption of innocence which US courts offer today.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write7,423 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

For both the Salem Witch Trials and the HUAC, the enemy was...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 557 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write16,848 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial