Themes in “The Crucible”
The play The Crucible introduces us to some vital insights by the themes presented throughout it. One of these themes is that fear and suspicion are infectious and can produce a state of general hysteria that results in the destruction of public order and rationality. This theme is displayed in the past in Hollywood as well as Salem. These two themes displayed in The Crucible are applied to today’s life as well as in past historic events.
First off, in order to understand the theme of fear and suspicion being infectious and producing a general hysteria that results in the destruction of public order and rationality, one can look back in time at the communist infiltration in Hollywood in the mid 1900’s. During this period of time, communism was thought by some to be the answer to depression, but to most of the United States it seemed to be an enemy to the order of their society. The citizens as well as the government were very cautious toward “Red Scare” or “Russiaphobia” as it was called. The United States’ fear of this caused the people to be suspicious of Hollywood, believing that some directors were broadcasting communist propaganda in their theatrical releases. The government then decided to regulate the Hollywood directors. All of the director and screenwriters who were accused of being communists were questioned and ordered to name others. Ten Hollywood directors and screenwriters with communist ideals, named the “Hollywood Ten”, chose not to talk and were fired as well as sentenced to serve time in jail for not naming other members of the communist party. During this period of hysteria 324 very talented people were blacklisted from Hollywood.
In addition, the actions of the community in Salem, MA. during the Salem witch trials were similar to the actions taken by the United States toward communism in Hollywood. Many innocent people were arrested or even condemned to d...