At the end of Act One of Miller's "The Crucible" the old man Giles goes so far as to implicate his own wife, Martha. His evidence? That she was reading a book and tries to hide it from him. Hale tries briefly to reason with Giles, but the old man engages in a logical fallacy. He tells Hale: "Last night -- mark this -- I tried and tried and could not say my prayers. Then she close her book and walks out of the house, and suddenly -- mark this -- I could pray again!"
Hale buys into the "logic" of Giles' accusations. When he begins to question Betty, Parris quickly responds, with fright and indignation: "How can it be the Devil? Why would he choose my house to strike? We have all manner of licentious people in the village!" But Hale, already convinced of his logic, stealthily responds: "What victory would the Devil have to win a soul already bad? It is the best the Devil wants and who is better than a minister?"
It is this kind of false step leading to false step that propels the tragedy of "The Crucible." It is also the exact same kind of false reasoning that led to the McCarthy Red Scare, Miller's impetus for writing his play.