Is The Crucible an allegory?

Yes, The Crucible is an allegory for the "McCarthyism" of the early 1950s, a period in which many Americans were falsely accused of being communist sympathizers. In writing The Crucible, Arthur Miller aimed to draw a parallel between the famous witch hunt of seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts, and the ongoing persecution of alleged communists in twentieth-century America.

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It's no secret that The Crucible is an allegory for McCarthyism and communist "witch hunts" of the early 1950s. The play's author, Arthur Miller, was himself a victim of McCarthyism and has explicitly said that the parallels between The Crucible and the "Red Scare" of the 1950s were intentional.

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It's no secret that The Crucible is an allegory for McCarthyism and communist "witch hunts" of the early 1950s. The play's author, Arthur Miller, was himself a victim of McCarthyism and has explicitly said that the parallels between The Crucible and the "Red Scare" of the 1950s were intentional.

It's not hard to see why the events of the Salem witch trials should form the basis of an allegory about the anti-communist hysteria that gripped the United States in the decade or so after World War II.

During this dark period in American history, Senator Joseph McCarthy and his allies in politics and the media openly attempted to destroy the lives and careers of numerous people by accusing them of being communists themselves or sympathetic to communism. Virtually none of the people so accused were guilty of the charges laid upon them, but this didn't stop McCarthy, whose single-minded crusade was based on lies, smears, and innuendo.

The parallels with what happens in The Crucible are not difficult to spot. Abigail Williams, like McCarthy, seeks to increase her power by making false accusations against innocent people. As the hysteria surrounding witchcraft grows, cynical individuals exploit the hysteria to target individuals they dislike and settle old scores—this is exactly what happened during the "Red Scare" instigated by McCarthy. Just as accused witches in Salem were forced to name other witches to spare themselves, accused communist sympathizers were strongly encouraged to name others, and Arthur Miller himself was convicted of contempt of Congress after refusing to implicate others.

Although no one ended up going to the gallows as a result of McCarthyism, the lives and reputations of many individuals were destroyed, mirroring the devastating impacts of the Salem witch trials.

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