The Crucible

The Crucible as an Allegory

In his classic drama The Crucible, Arthur Miller chronicles the horror of the Salem witch trials, an embarrassing episode of colonial America's history. At first reading, one might only view Miller's work as a vivid account of the tragedy of theocracy in America's late seventeenth century. However, with an understanding of the period in which Miller penned his work, one can easily view the witch trials of The Crucible as an authentic allegory of the "Red Scare" of the 1950s in America by drawing parallels in settings, characters, and the pervasive paranoia of both societies.

To begin with, although centuries apart, the two periods have several dramatic similarities in regards to setting. Seventeenth century colonial America was a mysterious, quite often frightening destination for those who had risked the perils of a voyage from England to make a life for themselves to a New World. For these Puritan settlers of The Crucible, their new home of Salem touches "the edge of the wilderness" and appears "[...] dark and threatening, over their shoulders night and day, for out of it Indian tribes marauded from time to time" (Miller 5). In comparison to these colonial emigrants in search of a land...

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