The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, is an intense, drama-filled play about the accusations of witchcraft amongst the town of Salem. Throughout this play, there are many themes that are laid out across all four acts. One of the mayor themes that sticks out and is present in all four acts is intolerance. In the Crucible there are countless times where intolerance is show by nearly every character involved in the play. This intolerance can be related to many events throughout American history and my own personal life. In the crucible there are countless amounts of times when haracters show intolerance.
In the first act when Tituba is accused of witchcraft by Abigail. Parris, Hale, and pretty much the whole town shows immediate intolerance towards her without any proof of her being a witch. Another act of intolerance is when Mary Warren is brought to the court for having a poppet with a needle stuck in the stomach. Abigail accuses her of witchery and all the girls pretend that she is conjuring spirits upon them. Everyone in the court shows instant intolerance towards Mary, even though she pleads innocent and the court has no proof what so ever that she is guilty.
A great xample of intolerance shown by judge Danforth is when Hale questions if all the accused and hung were actually guilty. Hale says that he has already signed 32 death warrants and is questioning the authority of Danforth and the court. Then judge Danforth replies with “DANFORTH: Mr. Hale, believe me; for a man of such terrible learning you are most bewildered – I hope you will forgive me. I have been thirty-two year at the bar, sir, and I should be con-founded were I called upon to defend these people.
Let you consider, now – To Proctor and the others: And I bid you all do likewise. In an ordinary crime, how does one efend the accused? One calls up witnesses to prove his innocence. But witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime, is it not? Therefore, who may possibly be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None other. Now we cannot hope the witch will accuse herself; granted? Therefore, we must rely upon her victims – and they do testify, the children certainly do testify.
As for the witches, none will deny that we are most eager for all their confessions. Therefore, what is left for a lawyer to bring out? I think I have made my point. Have I not? “(Miller Act 3). This quote shows exactly how when Danforth is challenged by hale about his decisions already made, Hale is met with intolerance because Danforth did not want to ruin the courts reputation, even if he knew he was wrong in jailing/killing people for witchcraft. Not only are there plenty of examples of intolerance in the crucible there are many acts of intolerance in American history.
Ever since America became a country in 1776, there have been countless amounts of intolerance such as slavery, World War Two, McCarthyism, and many other parts of history in America. In early American history, there was a civil war between the orth and the south states. The war was fought for many reasons, but the main reason was slavery. Both the north and the south were very intolerant about their views and the opposing views on slavery. The north believed that slaves were a horrible idea and a bad way to treat a human being, while the south were completely intolerant to that idea because they believed that slaves were great.
Another act of intolerance, a bit later in American history, in 1942 president Franklin D. Roosevelt signs an executive order establishing “exclusion zones”, which leads to the forced internment of some 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans. This order was signed shortly after the Pearl Harbor attacks. This act in history shows great intolerance towards the Japanese people because they were put into camps just because they were Japanese and were thought to be untrustworthy. Another act not to long after the war is McCarthyism.
McCarthyism is a vociferous campaign against alleged communists in the US government and other institutions carried out under Senator Joseph McCarthy in the period 1950- 1954. Many of the accused were blacklisted or lost their jobs, although most did not in fact belong to the Communist Party. McCarthyism is a great example of intolerance because as soon as McCarthy accused someone of being a “Communist” they would get an instant hatred sent towards them because of false allegations, and they were often convicted because of it.
The 33rd president, Harry Truman, said “we are going to continue to fight communism. Now I am going to tell you how we are not going to fight communism. We are not going to transform our fine FBI into a Gestapo secret police. That is what some people would like to do. We are not going to try to control what our people read and say and think. We are not going to turn the United States into a right-wing totalitarian country in order to deal with a left-wing totalitarian threat. ” This quote just shows basically how dumb and intolerant McCarthyism really was and how easily fooled the American people were.
Although there are many more examples of Intolerance in American history, there have been a couple acts of intolerance in my own life that relate to the intolerance of the Crucible and American history. In my life, I have been intolerant to many things, and people in my life have shown some intolerance towards my beliefs and me. A good example that can apply to most Americans and The Crucible is religion. No matter what religion you may be, you will always show intolerance towards another religion that you do not believe in because of the fact that you may feel that your religion is superior to another.
Just like in The Crucible how if someone does not believe or practice their Christian religion they are instantly an outcast in the community. Another example of intolerance in my life that can relate to American history is political view. Political view is heavily influenced by your community and your family, so when someone with a different political view tries to express their view, they are met y an intolerant attitude by most Americans of the opposite party. Just like how people of the communist party were met with intolerance by the United states and its many political parties.
A final example of intolerance in my life that can relate to both The Crucible an American history is when someone accuses me of doing something wrong, and whether it is a teacher, my parents, or any other adult, I am sometimes met with intolerance and they think I did the act even if I didn’t. this relates to the Crucible and McCarthyism because as soon as someone is accused they are automatically thought of as guilty ith little to no evidence. Those are just some examples in my life of intolerance that can relate to American history and the Crucible.
With all the above being said, it is clear that intolerance is a common theme in the crucible, shown by almost all the characters in the play. Not only is intolerance just in the Crucible, there are a numerous amount of acts of intolerance in American history that can relate to the play. In my life intolerance is a big theme, and I can relate to the play and history in many ways. Therefore intolerance is a very common theme in my life, American history, and The Crucible.