The Crucible Hysteria Essay

Topics: Salem witch trials, McCarthyism, The Crucible Pages: 4 (1439 words) Published: December 2, 2013
Hysteria
The Crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller in 1953. The Crucible is about a group of girls who practice witchcraft and then accuse innocent people of being witches in order to avoid consequences. Miller wrote The Crucible in 1953 during the McCarthy period when many Americans were accused for having Pro-Communist beliefs. The Crucible draws many parallels between the witch-hunts of the 1690s and the McCarthy trials of the 1950s

The Puritan life was a very plain, straightforward life; their religion was a very harsh and strict religion. The Puritans’ life was mostly based on discipline and religion. Back in the 1690s, “A thousand Puritan settlers arrived in New England in 1630 after leaving England. In the next fifteen years the Puritan community in the New World would have almost 20,00 members” (“Overview: The Crucible” 1). When the Puritan came to the New World, they had to face a new harsh environment. So, “to combat the harshness of life in the Massachusetts wilderness, as well as the temptations of sin, the Puritans employed a rigid sense of discipline, placing the good of the group over the rights of the individual” (“Overview: The Crucible” 1). Puritans feared witchcraft the most; “in the early 1690s the Puritan community of Salem abruptly exploded in terror over claims that some of its citizens were practicing witchcraft” (“Overview: The Crucible” 1). Witchcraft began in many ways during the 1690s, but according to The Crucible, “The hysteria over witches in Salem began innocently enough with the play of young girls” (“Overview: The Crucible” 2). Many innocent people during the 1690s were accused of witchcraft, and many were executed. The crime of witchcraft was a felony and “of the 100 people accused before the 1690s, at least twelve were executed” (“Overview: The Crucible” 2). Witchcraft was not just a problem in the Puritan religion, but “such accusations were commonplace in many religions of the world in the seventeenth century....

Cited: Johnson, Claudia Durst, and Vernon Johnson. “Witch Hunts in the 1950s. Understanding The Crucible: A Student Casebook and Documents. Westport, CT. Greenwood Press, 1998. 133-135.
“McCarthyism.” Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. History: Government and Politics. Anne Marie Hacht and Dwayne D. Hayes. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Student Resource Center – Junior. Gale. St Francis High School – GA. 27 Aug. 2012.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York: Penguin, 1953. Print.
“Overview: The Crucible.” Literature and Its Times: Profiles of 300 Notable Literary Works and the Historical Events that Influenced Them. Joyce Moss and George Wilson. Vol. 1: Ancient Times to the American and French Revolutions (Prehistoric-1790s). Detroit: Gale, 1997. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 8 Aug. 2012.
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