Essay, Research Paper
In this century there have been many catastrophes and bad ideas happen and they all occurred because the person behind the scenes wanted to have more power. Through the use of the Salem witch trials, Miller forces readers to deal with shameful episodes in 20th century history of the United States of America like McCarthyism, the Holocaust, Sacco and Vanzetti, and the Japanese American Interment. Many of these behaviors illustrated can relate to The Crucible, most of these horrible things that happened occurred because people wanted to have more power in their lives. The other bad part is that most of these events occurred in the United States.
In 1950 a republican senator from Wisconsin by the name of Joseph McCarthy started a rumor that the State Department employed 205 communists. After a while the number was dropped to 57. Still this raised a hysteria in America causing many Americans that there were spies working for the country. In the end of this investigation the rumor was proven false and no spies turned up. The word McCarthyism is the unfairly accusing other of disloyalty and subversion. (DiBacco et all, R47) All this person did was just scare many Americans just like in the Salem Witch trials. I guess that was McCarthy s crucible, to make Americans think that a large amount of Communists worked for the State Department. Luckily we had a good congress and they didn t let McCarthy s ideas spread around. This relates to The Crucible by how one man tried to gain power by making false accusations. This is like when Parris saw the girls dancing in the woods he assumed that they were practicing witchcraft and that each girl should be punished for there doing.
Another hysteria that was big and probably one of the key moments in history was the Holocaust. This showed one mans ideas to exterminate an ethnic group and the power that he gained from the people in his country. This man was Adolf Hitler the Fascist dictator of many. What he was able to do through his public speeches was remarkable. He was able to tell millions of Germans that the reason why they lost World War I was because of the Jewish people. Many of the people went with his ideas since it was also the Great Depression all around the world. All he did was form an army and over power many people and make them leave their homes for the Concentration camps. The Nazis also persecuted the Slavs, Roma, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Communists in addition to the Jews. (Hilberg, Encarta) The ideas that Hitler used were not ornate, all his idea contained was round up everyone that he didn t like and put them in a concentration camp until they die. In the end Hitler s power reign died out and he ended up committing suicide. I think one of the main reasons why he killed himself was because he had no integrity. Near the end of the war he made bad decisions and that cost him the war and he didn t want to face the music when he would have been arrested. The Holocaust relates to The Crucible especially during the naming scene. This is when all of the girls accuse many people of witchcraft.
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were two Italian immigrants accused of a murder and robbery in 1920. They were accused of murdering a paymaster and a guard during a payroll holdup near Boston. The evidence provided against these two immigrants was flimsy. Since they were immigrants they were prosecuted and the verdict was guilty. A few reasons why they were guilty was because they were outspoken anarchists, labor-union advocates, and draft resisters. I think that most of those things are not good and that the government should prosecute people who believe in those things. With being guilty they were also sentenced to death. Then Sacco and Vanzetti appealed to the higher courts. At this point it had created a big international conflict. The verdict didn t change and they died in the electric chair.
One reason that they were guilty was because the government was overcome by fear and didn t give equal rights to all of its citizens. I think that the main reason why these two died was because of the ideas that they believed in. There was a time period where many Italian immigrants were persecuted and others were repugnant to them. It goes to show that these two immigrants were innocent because in 1977, the Governor Dukakis of Massachusetts proclaimed Sacco and Vanzetti innocent and declared a Memorial Day for them. (Miller J. et all, 38) This relates to The Crucible in the way that not enough evidence was provided and they still were convicted and ended up dying. In The Crucible many people were hanged because they were accused of being witches.
Another blemish in America s life is The Japanese American Interment. This was when many Japanese immigrants were rounded up and relocated. The main reason why they were rounded up was because the government feared that they were spies and saboteurs. Although the evidence is sparse the government didn t care what others thought and so in February of 1942 Franklin Roosevelt had about 110,000 Japanese Americans rounded up and brought to concentration camps. (DiBacco et all, 612) At this time most of the Japanese Americans lived on the West Coast and they were sent to camps in Colorado and Arizona. They were held in captivity until the end of the war with Japan. Some of the men in the concentration camps were drafted into the military. This relates to The Crucible in the way that anybody who was of Japanese origin was rounded up and in The Crucible anyone who was accused of being a witch was also put in jail. Also many years after the Japanese Americans were let out the United States government said that they did the wrong thing and gave the families of those imprisoned 20,000 dollars. (DiBacco et all, 613) Also in The Crucible a few years after the final hangings the government gave compensation to the victims still living.
The Crucible is based on witch trials but it is also based on the obsession for power by two men. Those men are Parris Williams and Deputy Governor Danforth. In the book Danforth wanted to have more power and Parris went along with him. Those two based the trials on the theocracy that the town was based on. It basically means that they constructed the trial with god and if the people loved god then they would confess to their alliance with Lucifer and if they didn t then they would die.
The Salem Witch Trials were a mistake and should have never happened since there was not enough evidence to prosecute the people that were named by the girls in the end of Act 1. The only reason why some were named was because certain girls didn t like that person and wanted them to die. This goes for Abigail the most, because she wants Elizabeth Proctor to be killed so she can have John. When people were walking to the gallows to be hanged they were sad because they were going to die and that they were innocent. Another reason why they were innocent was that they were reciting the Our Father a Christian prayer. If they possessed by the devil then there is no way that they would be able to say that prayer. The only reason why they were going to die was because they had integrity to not admit to witchcraft and that Danforth just wanted to amuse the village. Also with Giles Cory he had integrity because he died a painful death of stoning and that he never said any names because he knew that no one else did witchcraft.
When John Proctor says that he is a lecture and that he has been with Abigail, he keeps his integrity with telling the truth to everyone who doesn t know. It may not look or sound right to the people of Salem but inside of him he knows he is doing the right thing by telling the truth. The only people who knew were John, Elizabeth, and Abigail. John admitted to this when he tried to prove the girls wrong about them being witches. And that Abigail is a not a good person and should not be listened too, but from what we read and saw Danforth didn t care one bit and had John Proctor hanged. In the end I don t think that Danforth won all the way because of Proctors speech about keeping his name. He didn t want to be thought of a liar so he decided to die.
In this century it has been rough for many people in America and all around the world. I think the biggest catastrophe this century was The Holocaust because it killed almost twelve million people. If McCarthyism succeeded I think that many other people may have died because the government would in fear and have to get rid of anyone that went against the laws. Sacco and Vanzetti are important because it shows that you use the free speech amendment you may go on trial. Lastly the Japanese American Interment was also a bad blemish in this country but it wasn t as severe as The Holocaust. I think how Miller presented the Salem Witch trials gives good examples of our 20th century shameful behavior in America. Lets just hope that in this new millennium everything can be under control and that no one try s to gain power over each other.