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The Crucible: Play Vs. Film

             One of the most awful chapters in human history, is oppression. Parallels between The Crucible, and more modern examples of oppression such as the McCarthy hearings of the 1950's, are appalling. Each in the midst of an emotional time, societies often trying to suppress an individuals freedom, in order to maintain social order.
             Arthur Millers' The Crucible depicts the Salem witch trials during the end of the seventeenth century. It is a portrayal of young women who are caught practicing witchcraft and dancing, in a strict Puritan community. Essentially, they were merely being teenage girls, in a confined society where they needed to break loose. They made up a tale of being bewitched by local housewives, in order to clear them of guilt. This point was proven when Abigail tells John, "I am but God's finger, John. If he would condemn Elizabeth, she will be condemned." The cycle expands with each person accused: the supposed witch must decide whether to plead guilty to a crime he/she did not commit and name others who are also innocent in order to save his/her own life, or whether to refuse to incriminate himself/herself or others and face death. The irony is that the accused can save their lives only by admitting guilt; furthermore, any protesting of innocence or criticism of the court is considered proof of guilt. The enthusiasm finally dies down, but the court does not admit its failure in any way, although the church does abolish the accusations of those who have died. Such points are proven when Judge Danforth states, "Who weeps for these weeps for corruption.".
             As we turn another page in history, the real question is whether the witch-hunts ended in the 1690's or was the "Red Scare" of Senator Joseph McCarthy of the 1950's another example of how radicals have been used to repress civil rights. The Crucible is a terribly accurate portrayal of the accusations of communism in the United States.

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