Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” was written in response to the United States and Russia Red Scare. Miller used the “The Crucible” to inform people of how hysteria of the Salem witch trials resembled the communist accusations happening within the American government. At the time, McCarthy’s “witch hunts” for communist committing sedition.As opposed to the Red Scare, “The Crucible” started due to an actual witch craft incident. The Red Scare however, began due to real accounts of treason and communism within United State government. A speech made by Joseph McCarthy, a senator during the Red Scare, started the communist hunt, the speech mentioned government workers who showed obvious signs of communistic characteristics, a man of the name Gustav Duran was called “a notorious international communist”, Duran worked as an “assistant secretary of state in charge of Latin American affairs” after being convicted he left for “chief of Cultural Activities Section in the office of the assistant secretary general of the United Nations”(McCarthy). This was in parallel to “The Crucible”, the court considered Abigail Williams a member, even though she was involved in witchcraft and her reputation was no longer credible. By allowing Abigail to assume this kind of power she was put in the position of “God’s finger” (Miller 1179 ; Act II) within the courtroom.
In The Crucible, Reverend Parris, the leader of the church and town of Salem, used the witch trials to his advantage, to keep his position in office he allows for the fear of witchcraft to escalate. Abigail is Parris’ niece, Parris is concerned that if Abigail is involved in witchcraft his enemies “they (would) ruin (him) with it” (Miller 1131; Act I) as a result he continuously adds to the ‘fire’. The Red Scare was quickly escalated in terms of severity because of people manipulated communist paranoia for their own political gain such as Parris. Parris is a symbol of the United States government and Abigail is a symbol of the traitors in the Red Scare, which is manipulative when it comes to power such as McCarthy and can pose as a threat for the governing system. With constant worry of losing their job due to being convicted of communism, the government would often cover traitors while denying the accusations. Reverend Hale from The Crucible initially brags about the number of death warrants he has previously signed to witches, and essentially flaunts his power this relates to McCarthy who conjured “57 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the communist party” (Joe McCarthy and the Press 21). Hale and McCarthy resemble each other considering the fact that Hale put the idea of witchcraft in the heads of the citizens of Salem, and McCarthy insinuated that people were communist. Proctor describes Hale as a “broken minister” (MIller 1179; Act II) just as McCarthy was a broken senator, “a revolutionist without any revolutionary vision” (Senator Joe McCarthy; Rovere 8); these ‘hunts’ were not feasible.
A political cartoonist of the time, Herbert Block, drew a vehicle with the words “Committee On Un-American Activities” it was driven by people who worked for HUAC who ran over men and women in the streets, creating panic among the citizens. The caption of the cartoon states “It’s okay— We’re Communist”, which means this is how they tried to justify their actions. McCarthy was able to gain popularity at the expensive of the public’s fear, running over innocent Americans for a crime that couldn’t be proven. America’s view change from communist to anti-communist. HUAC is similar to Abigail’s entourage who tried to save themselves from being accused of witchcraft. Around this point in time the world began to see how corrupt McCarthy’s communist hunts were, likewise in “The Crucible”, the court begins to questions Abigail reliability.
On both counts, the accusations proceeded in order to save the government and courts reputation. In the Crucible, Mary Warren is called upon to testify against the girls convincing the town of witchcraft, Reverend Parris, who is bias, acts in an unfair manner, and commands her to “faint. Prove to us how you pretended in the court so many times” (Miller 1178; Act 3) she is unable to perform the task asked, because she is succumbing to the beliefs of mass hysteria. There was evidence proving why the court should have dropped the charges, but they did not. In both The Crucible and the Red Scare the government became the villains, and hypocrites, but this did not go unnoticed, however, if anyone were to speak up against those convicted; The Crucible as witches the Red Scare as a communist.
Cy Hungerford, political cartoonist, illustrated a comic titled “Boiling over” to show how Americans started to realize how the communist hunts were impacting America. Within the cartoon an illustration of Uncle Sam- who represents an American society becoming a “melting pot” of different cultures, underneath the pot was a supporter of communism. The message the cartoon was trying to convey was how McCarthy would continuously blame people of different background; religion, customs, etc. for communism. Mccarthy gave American citizens two options of what they prefered: “democratic Christian world” or “communistic atheistic world”(Enemies From Within McCarthy) this correlates to The Crucible, the court unjustified anything against the Puritan religion as evidence of witchcraft. In The Crucible Act II, Reverend Hale visits John Proctor house in search of anything relating to witchery. Hale says that ” “theology, sir, is a fortress; no crack in a fortress may be accounted small” (Miller 1172; Act II) meaning that odd behavior must be witchcraft.