Identify two quotes from The Crucible that address the issue of a witch hunt in modern times.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that this is a highly relevant question.  I would propose that one of the best quotes that can apply to a modern witch hunt would be something that Proctor speaks in Act II, Scene i.  When sides are being clearly chosen, Proctor says, "I like not the smell of this authority.”  This reflects how authority during a process of a witch hunt, or a demonizing of "the other," does not really behave like an authority figure.  Rather, this "authority" seeks to consolidate its own power and it is up to individuals to recognize this and stand against it, as Proctor indicates with his position at the earliest possible moment in the drama.  Another quote that is relevant to the modern witch hunt would come at the very end.  Proctor's impassioned plea to keep his name resounds quite lucidly as the ultimate stance against a witch hunt:

Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul, leave me my name!

It seems to me that if nothing else is gained from the drama, Miller wants the reader to fully understand Proctor's demands before his death to cleave to one's name, one of the first casualties in any demonizing of "the other" or in any state of affairs where truth and justice is precluded by the pursuit of individual gains at the cost of social solidarity.  Proctor's demand to no longer live a life of lies and embrace truth at any and all costs seems to be a message as to how to avoid a witch hunt in the modern setting.  Both quotes go very far in ensuring that we, in the modern predicament, do not embrace the tenets of a witch hunt that so many in Salem and in other times of history so easily embraced.  It seems that Miller's construction in giving Proctor some of the best lines that speak to a world that is so much in opposition to the tenets of a witch hunt could serve as a lasting legacy of both work and artist.