The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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I need a thesis statement for The Crucible by Arthur Miller that compares the Salem Witch Trials to McCarthyism. I need a thesis statement for The Crucible by Arthur Miller that compares the Salem Witch Trials to McCarthyism.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

What really connects these two times is the idea of why people are being hunted.  I would want my thesis to that idea.  I would write something like this:

In both the Salem witch trials and the McCarthy Era, we see that unscrupulous people get ahead by using the fears of other people.  These people, who are hungry for power of one sort or another, pick on some convenient scapegoats as a way of improving their own standing in the community.

This would tie how Abigail and Danforth, on the one hand, and Joe McCarthy on the other used the "witch hunts" to get more power and/or prestige for themselves.

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lsumner eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write1,183 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Thesis 1:

In The Crucible, hysteria is mounting as characters falsely search out anyone who resembles a witch, much like the man hunt for anyone involved in the possiblity of being a communist from the McCarthyism era.

Thesis 2:

In The Crucible, through hysteria, characters are falsely accused of being involved in witchcraft, much like the man hunt for anyone resembling a communist from the McCarthyism era.

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dtarver1003 | Student

 3: Arthur Miller’s The Crucible draws a parallel between the Salem Witch trials of 1692 and McCarthyism of the 1950s, when communism became the devil and a community of people used “evil” as an excuse to take out their personal hatred on those whom they had always wished ill. Miller creates this parallel by presenting Satan as the affront to a society’s way of life, as communism was, and by including details such as Reverend Hale’s books that mirror McCarthy propaganda.

4: The books starry-eyed Reverend Hale has brought with him mirror contemporary events: “In these books the Devil stands stripped of all his brute disguises. Here are all your familiar spirits—your incubi and succubi; your witches that go by land, by air, and by sea; your wizards of the night and of the day” (24). These lines mirror the sentiments surrounding McCarthy’s published pamphlets listing those who were communists. The play suggests the ridiculous nature of the pamphlets by over-dramatizing Hale’s books.

dtarver1003 | Student

 

1: In The Crucible, Arthur Miller draws a parallel between the Salem Witch trials of 1692 and McCarthyism of the 1950s, when communism became the devil and a community of people used “evil” as an excuse to take out their personal spite on those they had always wished ill.

2: Miller sets up the parallel by showing Salem to be a theocracy, which would make the devil and those communing with him enemies of the town; it follows that America, then, is a democracy, which would make communism the modern devil and communists enemies of America (“The House of Un-American Activities”). Reverend Hale’s books are similar to the books, lists, and pamphlets of the McCarthy era that listed communists.