The Crucible by Arthur Miller reflects the McCarthy era of the 1950's. Miller illustrates how the Salem witch trials compare to Senator Joseph McCarthy's Communist hunt. Set during the 1692 Salem hearings, The Crucible parallels McCarthy's persecution of Communists.
In both The Crucible and the McCarthy hearings, persecution of certain people in society is the root of the crises. Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin gave a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia on February 9, 1950. He made a very critical point in his speech that he possessed a list of two hundred and five American State Department members of the Communist party. Although he explained some cases in detail, he made several flaws, such as repeating and skipping some of them, proving that his account was not completely accurate. By 1953 he had destroyed many Democrats including Ernst McFarland, Francis Myers, senators Millard Tydings (Maryland), Scott Lucas (Illinois), and Elbert Thomas (Utah)(Herman). Through indicting numerous Democrats in the United States government of treason, McCarthy was clearly persecuting his opposing party. His next target in May 1954 was to be the United States Army, particularly its secretary, Robert Stevens (Friedman). During the infamous Army-McCarthy trials, the chief attorney for the Army, Joseph N. Welch, asked the senator, "Have you no sense of decency?-(Friedman) The end of McCarthy's Red-hunt after the trials proved he indeed lacked affability. Similarly, Abigail Williams, Betty Parris, Mercy Lewis, and Mary Warren in The Crucible use the same method to gain what they desire. Using the knowledge that witchcraft is illegal and immoral, the girls accuse Salem residents of witchcraft. The trials are clearly an attack on women in the community and on those who stand in the girls' path. Abby and John Proctor, a well-respected man in the Salem, engage in an affair in which she cannot forget.