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Mccarthyism Vs The Crucible Comparison

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In The Crucible play, Arther Miller amplifies the theme of fear and hysteria in Salem’s community. Though this theme runs throughout the play, it is especially apparent after the witch trials start. The play starts with the girls dancing in the woods and getting caught. This directly leads to Betty being ” paralyzed” by the Devil’s spirits, although this is not quite the truth. The play then intensifies with a snowball effect that turns into heated hysteria. On the other hand, McCarthy spoke the Enemies from Within Speech during the Cold War. His Speech began with what he described as a shift from peace towards war. However, then it describes communists as terrible enemies who are unyielding in their quest to spread their ideology and that the communist threat is growing. McCarthy deployed the Speech with much rhetoric to stoke fear and mistrust. Although The Crucible is vividly compared with McCarthyism throughout the play, upon closer examination of the true aspects that Miller shapes within The Crucible, one can see that the fear and mass hysteria are cruel side effects of the society present in Salem, Massachusetts, at the time. 

Firstly, both the Crucible and McCarthy’s Speech display that no matter who someone is, they can still get caught up within society’s corrupted ways. Once this occurs, there is no going back without facing corruption in one way or another. The first piece of evidence that supports this is a quote from McCarthy’s Speech of which he states, ”…can there be anyone who is so blind as to say that the war is not on?…. Anyone who fails to realize that…this is the time for the showdown… (and) unless we face this fact, we shall pay the price …(because of)… those who wait(ed) too long.” A literary device that McCarthy used in his Speech is hypophora. He asks the country’s citizens if anyone can ignore the corruption going on, leading him to answer that they will have to pay the consequences for ignoring the corruption if they do not act soon. McCarthy also used foreshadowing to aid in fear of what will happen if they do not act in time. This was an effective way of motivating the country’s citizens to realize the severity of the situation and take control before it was too late. 

Additionally, the second piece of evidence that supports this is a quote from The Crucible, of which Giles states, ” I never had no wife that be so taken with books, and I thought to find the cause of it, d’y’see, but it were no witch I blamed her for… I have broke charity with the woman (my wife)…” A literary device that was used in the Crucible is Tone. The tone that is most apparent in this quote is of despair, regret, and fear. Arther Miller used these moods to help show the crude trials’ effects on the accused and their loved ones. Along with the literary device soliloquy, this quote is of Giles expressing his thoughts and emotions over Salem’s occurrences. These devices’ uses were an effective way of showing the reader, along with having them feel, the emotional effects that the witchcraft trials resulted in. 

Additionally, both the Crucible and McCarthy’s Speech display how society’s corruption has led to the fear and hysteria within people and how it has blurred the lines between good and evil. The first piece of evidence that supports this is a quote from The Crucible, of which Hale states, ” There is a misty plot afoot so subtle…I have seen too many frightful proofs in court — the Devil is alive in Salem, and we dare not quail to follow wherever the accusing finger points!” A literary device that Arther Miller uses in this quote is tone. As Hale is making this remark, he expresses it in a rather weary, dark tone, giving the reader a better sense of the mystery and fear behind what is going on in Salem. Another literary device used is imagery. The phrase a ” misty plot so subtle” aids in creating the play’s leery, fearful setting, which allows the reader to better understand the character’s feelings. These devices’ uses were an effective way of creating the setting and situation to match the darkness of it. 

Additionally, the second piece of evidence that supports this is a quote from McCarthy’s Speech, of which he states, ” At war’s end we were …the most powerful (nation) intellectually and morally. (We)… could have been the … shining, living proof that civilization was not yet ready to destroy itself. Unfortunately, we have failed miserably and tragically to arise to the opportunity.” A literary device that McCarthy used in his Speech is imagery. McCarthy describes the country as a utopian society by stating that it is ” shining, living proof” of society’s hope. This helps to show the hysteria when the actual situation of corruption is contrasted with a hopeful situation. Additionally, this is also an example of juxtaposition. McCarthy uses two different narratives of what the country is and has accomplished to bring about the feeling of fear and hysteria over ” failing.” These devices’ uses effectively illustrate the situation to the country’s citizens and make them want to fix the ” failure” of maintaining a bright and shining country. 

It can be seen within the Crucible play and McCarthy’s Speech that fear and hysteria are vividly present in each society. Both Arther Miller and McCarthy use such vital literary devices to bother to persuade and influence the audience and their messages’ overall theme. They both wanted to spread the knowledge of the corrupted ways and try to find a way to emphasize the fear within the context. Given all of this, It is clear from the hysteria and fear that these types of societies will continue to have corruption occur until something changes to fix this.

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McCarthyism vs The Crucible Comparison. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 29, 2022, from
“McCarthyism vs The Crucible Comparison.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022,
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McCarthyism vs The Crucible Comparison [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 May 24 [cited 2022 Jun 29]. Available from:
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