Similarities Between The Crucible and Mccarthyism


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Other similarities between The Crucible and McCarthyism are not only forced accusations but also false confessions. In The Crucible many people were forced to accuse others, if they didn’t cooperate they would be arrested for contempt of court or they would be hanged. The motto on the Crucible was “accused or be accused.” Many people gave false confessions and forced accusations to save themselves. All of this began when the idea of witchcraft was brought to the town. 

Many people saw this as an opportunity to take revenge on old enemies. The Putnams accuse Rebecca Nurse since The Nurse family had stopped a relative of the Putnam to become minister of Salem. Abigail accuses Elizabeth Proctor just so she could stay with John. Even the own deputy governor, Danforth, went so far as to suggest the names of people who might work with the devil. An example of this is when John Proctor finally agrees to confess witchcraft and Danforth asks “When the Devil came to you did you see Rebecca Nurse in his company… Did you ever see her sister, Mary Easty, with the Devil? Did you ever see Martha Corey with the Devil.” (Miller 140). By saying this, Danforth makes it easier for John to lie. He doesn’t even have to say a complete sentence, he just has to say “yes”. Danforth already wanted to hang Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey. If John said ‘yes’ now Danforth would have more reason to do it. That’s how they did the forced accusations. Giving them the answers, all they had to do is say yes and live or say no and be hanged. While some people said that they saw a certain person with the devil there’s a man whom everyone admires; Giles Corey. He did everything he could to save his wife, Marta, from being hanged. He recollected signs that affirm that Martha is a stand-up woman and would never make a pact with the devil. He also collected evidence from a source that said that Mr. Putnam had forced his child to lie in court. The kid said that his neighbor was working with the devil just so The Putnams could get his neighbor’s land. When asked to tell the name of his source he refuses. He knew that if he said the name, that person would have to come to court and he couldn’t do that to them. After this, Giles has arrested for contempt of the court. He was tortured to gain information but his last words before being crushed by rocks were “More weight” (Miller 186). Giles died a hero, and he didn’t lie just to save his life. 

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Along with that, there were people during McCarthyism that wouldn’t give false testimonies, and people that would lie to have a good public image. Many people gave names of people they thought were communists. That so that a “blacklist” was created. It included the names of those individuals suspected of being associated with subversive organizations. Later on, McCarthy claimed to have a list with the names of people that were part of the American Communist Party. But they turned out to be there just because of personal reasons. If anyone was a “black-listed person” they would lose their reputation right away, with that, the social concern and hysteria were growing. People would give false accusations just so they won’t get blacklisted. They feared being identified and condemned. But there still were people who showed moral strength, like Arthur Miller. “Arthur Miller was convicted for contempt because he refused to divulge names of associates who were suspected communists. He also “was willing to testify before the HUAC about his leftist activities, but would not name others involved. (Why I Wrote The Crucible 35-36). Arthur Miller would rather be charged with contempt rather than say the names of people who weren’t involved just to save his life. Due to all these reasons, it can be concluded that Arthur Miller and John Proctor would rather die an honest man than hurt other people by saying lies.  

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