Fear is a human emotion. It is almost inevitable. Fear can lead people to react and act in unexpected ways due to its intensity. Famous man Franklin D. Roosevelt once stated, “There is nothing else to fear than fear itself.” This is true for McCarthyism as well as Aurthur Miller’s The Crucible. Despite obvious differences in the sequence and people involved, Miller’s play alludes back to McCarthyism. He acknowledges the hesitancy and promotion of fear and challenges authority, which is why his play can be called an allegory. McCarthyism was a destructive force in 1950s society and had a devastating impact on many lives. McCarthy’s accusations at the time were not challenged by many people. People feared they might be labeled disloyal for speaking out against McCarthy. They could also be accused of being communist sympathizers. The support of communism was frowned on and meant that you were opposed to the United States government. People suspected of supporting Communism were often taken into police custody and investigated. Many suffered from reputation damage, business failures, and career destruction. The fate of those who sympathized with communists or were associated with them was also tragic. Because of this, many of the suspects lost their friends and were left behind by their families. The Crucible is Aurthur Miller’s story. A witchcraft accusation or suspicion meant that you were arrested and interrogated. Danforth ordered that all names on the list were taken into custody to save the wives. Ninety-one people signed the list to prove Elizabeth, Rebecca, Martha Corey innocent. Danforth felt, as McCarthy, that these people were being against him for sympathizing with women. Most people fear “going against grain” today. Adults at work are not allowed to speak out about new policies. Teenagers may break rules to appear cool to their peers. This is how McCarthyism was born. Two spy convictions led to fear among Americans that communism would take over. Ethel and Julis Rosenberg were convicted of spying on the Soviets. Ari Cushner says that many people “saw communists everywhere” (Cold War/Red Scare). McCarthy claimed that he had a list of 205 communists in 1950. Later it was revealed that the list McCarthy claimed to have was fake. After witnessing two real spy executions, fear set in and people began to accuse anyone they could of being on the list. The Crucible by Aurthur M. Miller had similar elements. People can do strange things to protect themselves from fear. The McCarthyism era saw panic and fear leading to the destruction of innocent lives. The Crucible by Authur Miller is a similar story. This play is about many aspects of McCarthyism and the red scare, but it focuses on fear-mongering and resisting authority. Fear is the only thing to be afraid of and it makes people fearful. Works Cite
PBS, Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 10 March 2017. 2017, www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/arthur-miller-mccarthyism/484/.
Learning, Ari Cushner. “US History II (American Yawp).” Lumen, courses.lumenlearning.com/ushistory2ay/chapter/the-cold-war-red-scare-mccarthyism-and-liberal-anti-communism-2/.