During Arthur Miller’s career as a writer, he encountered an event called the McCarthy political ‘witch-hunt’ held in America in the 1950s. This phenomenon started once the Second World War had ended, but America was still fighting in Korea in an attempt to diminish the flow of communism in Asia, on the other hand the United States of America faced an enormous power bloc such as itself, the USSR (Russia). Both the US and Russia became threatened by each other’s nuclear programme and fear grew as neither of them were sure as to whether the other would attack.
America grew further fearful that the philosophy of communism could be spreading onto its soil and may eventually undermine and destroy capitalism and the American way of life. Senator Joseph McCarthy was appointed to lead a ‘hunt’ where people who where believed to be communists or who have even been involved in meetings or discussions regarding communism to as early as twenty years ago were considered as communist sympathisers.
Miller was one of many that were prosecuted and those who were prosecuted were brought before a Committee to answer charges concerning their involvement in the potential outbreak of communism. He began to link the activities of the Committee to the witchcraft trials which had taken place in the American town of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 where virtually any event that was a mere wrong doing would be considered an abomination and said to have had interference from the Devil. Thus his analogy for the McCarthy trials had begun.
Miller’s production of ‘The Crucible’ expressed that in a community run by a theocratic government the people must abide by the laws of God or more specifically the church. Both these cases were biased as people were not free to express their culture and their desired way of life as they were constantly under threat from the government. The first audience of the play in the 1950’s started to understand the flaws in their political system and how mistakes made by the government can create a tremendous uproar of disarray.
They saw how as America tried to obstruct one system of government from intruding onto their territory, they affected the American way of life themselves by violating innocent people. ‘The Crucible’ is a play that substantiates how an theocratic government can be somewhat bias opposed to people of different culture, backgrounds and most of all the people who may not approve of how the society is run. The Salem society was run as a theocratic system by the Church. Upon how it was governed, the society had to abide by principles that have been put in place.
People were required to only live by prayer and work for this reason when not at work the people were supposed to focus on prayer. In the Salem society you were expected to follow and truly believe everything the Church implied and if you did not, you would be at risk of being excommunicated, executed and often considered to have dealings with ‘Satan’. In Salem a group of girls decide to indulge in a night of attempted ‘witchcraft’ in the forest, which was believed to be the ‘Devil’s sanctuary’.
Here they chant, scream and seek to make their wishes come true until Reverend Samuel Parris had spotted them dancing around and shrieking. Back at the village, Parris claims that the entire event is an act of ‘witchcraft’. Due to this accusation the ingenious Abigail plots her master plan through a turn of slight inspiration or rather an opportunity to get the girls and ‘most importantly’ herself out of the hastily brewing trouble.
While Tituba is being questioned about her ‘association’ with the devil that Abigail accused her of, she ‘confesses’ that she had dealt with the devil and begs for ‘forgiveness’ from God, she is forgiven then asked if she had witnessed anyone else with the devil, she reports that she saw 4 women, ‘Sarah Goody’ is the first she speaks of. Abigail seizes the opportunity to plunge a few adversarial neighbours into a pool of predicament, Elizabeth ‘Goody’ Procter being the main target as a supplement of Abigail’s own agenda – her ‘passionate’ desire for John Procter.
In the course of act three we find Martha Corey being prosecuted as she is one of many women who are accused of being witches and to have affiliation with ‘Satan’. She protests against all allegations and feels that she is not clearing her name successfully however Giles bursts into the seeking utter attention ‘I have evidence for the court! ‘, this gives the audience a slight hope and assurance that the girls’ trickery may soon come to a halt.