How do the witch trials in The Crucible empower some individuals who were previously powerless? Is it possible that the situation that happened in The Crucible is capable of taking place today?...

How do the witch trials in The Crucible empower some individuals who were previously powerless?

Is it possible that the situation that happened in The Crucible is capable of taking place today? How would it be different/similar?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the Puritan town of Salem, young women were expected to be obedient, quiet, and God-fearing. Living in a society where males were culturally and economically dominant, young females were essentially powerless. Abigail Williams is the niece of Reverend Parris and is treated as an afterthought before the witch trials begin. She is dismissed from working at John Proctor's home and lives in the shadow of her uncle. Mary Warren is another young girl who goes unnoticed throughout the community before the witch trials begin. However, both characters find prestige and influence by accusing others of witchcraft. Abigail is the ringleader of the group of girls that are accusing citizens of witchcraft. She is respected by the judges and enjoys the power of manipulating Salem's community. Mary Warren also enjoys her position as an official of the court. She even brags to John Proctor at the beginning of Act Two about the importance of her position. Abigail, who was somewhat of a social outcast, and Mary Warren, a timid young girl, both are empowered by their positions in the Salem court.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that a situation similar to the events that transpired in Salem would happen in today's society. Arthur Miller's play was inspired by the second Red Scare, which was when Senator Joseph McCarthy falsely accused many citizens of having communist ties. Miller explores the concept of hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts, which parallels McCarthy's 1950s communist "witch-hunt." Although citizens would probably not be accused of witchcraft in today's society, it is possible that hysteria could result in false confessions from innocent individuals. The government could utilize propaganda to stir American citizens into a state of hysteria and create a situation where innocent individuals are forced to falsely accuse their neighbors of various crimes.

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The Crucible

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