Millerís McCarthynistic Idea
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Millerís McCarthynistic Idea
November 3, 1997
ďThe play was inspired by Millerís belief that the hysteria surrounding the witchcraft trials paralleled the contemporary political climate of McCarthysim.Ē McCarthysim is Senator Joseph McCarthyís obsessive quest to uncover a communist infiltration of American institutions. Communism is a theory of social change advocating a classless society. In a classless society there is chaos. In the following we will discuss how Millerís political views and experiences effected his position on gender and class in the crucible.
In a communist society, the male gender is always dominant. Women arenít allowed to vote or hold political office. All they do is stay home while the man of the house works, and tends to the household chores. In the play, all the women are housewives but some worked harder than others did. For example, Mrs. Proctor a common house wife says ď Pray God. It hurt my heart to skin her, poor rabbit.Ē She gone out in the woods all by herself to catch dinner. The man of the house expects dinner on the table when they get home. This is an example of a common communistic society.
Through out the whole play, women are being accused of witchcraft. A man could have never been accused of witchcraft in those days. Men were the dominant gender. Tituba is a black servant who was spotted in the woods supposedly practicing witchcraft. She is blamed for the crime, probably because she is a servant of the lower class. But as the play goes on, a more classless society comes into effect. That is when the women of the upper class get blamed for the crime.
At the time of the play, women were afraid to accuse men of any sore of crime. Reverend Hale is the man sent to Salem to investigate the crime. When he asks Tituba if she saw anyone with the devil she says ďMan or woman. Was- was a women.Ē She didnít know who it was, but most definitely it was a women. Being a servant in 1692, she knows that man couldnít be accused of witchcraft. She really didnít see the person with the devil because it was dark. So she just assumed that it was a women because a man would have never been seen with the devil. If she had said that she saw a man with the devil, no one would have believed her.
The witchcraft trials cause great chaos in Salem. Amongst them selves women were being treated equal because of the lack of social classes. Tituba (a servant) was being treated that same as Mrs. Proctor (the wife of a town figure). The authorities were ready to jail anyone, no matter who they were. For example, Cheever is a deputy who was assigned to arrest people for whom he had warrants. He went to The Proctors house to arrest Mrs. Proctor for having a Voodoo doll with a needle stuck in it. The night before, Abby had felt a pain in her side, just like a needle. Little did Cheever know, the doll wasnít Mrs. Proctors, it was her servants. When her servant confessed to ownership of the doll, Cheever still arrested Mrs. Proctor.
In the Crucible, the male gender is treated more sympathetically. The prejudice towards the female gender reflects Millers political and personal views. This parallels his McCarthynistic idea. Through out the play we see this idea that at the time of the witchcraft trials Salem turned into a communistic society. Which in fact caused chaos where it wasnít needed.
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Salem witch trials, The Crucible, Tituba, Witchcraft, Witch-hunt, John Hale
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