The Crucible and Good
Night and Good Luck are not based upon the same events but some situations
that the characters are involve are somehow similar. In both stories, the
characters have to fight for what they believe is right and obstacles that they
need to be conquered are presented. Both had different outcomes and both
manipulate the situations in different ways.
The play and movie had many
similarities between characters, but the two more noticeable ones were Abigail
Williams and Senator McCarthy they are both strong examples of demagogue. They
falsely accuse others to obtain power, and anyone that opposes them is accused.
Abigail and the senator enjoy ruining people’s lives and use public fear to
gain power. And in these stories there are also two other characters that are
quite similar, John Proctor and Edward R. Murrow. Both characters attempt to
defend people that had been falsely accused. They were up against the power the
government had upon them, and both were falsely accused for standing up for
themselves and other.
Both stories have excessive and uncontrollable
emotion such as panic and fear. They are separated by two parties that are
unwilling to accept their different beliefs. The characters are people who
achieve power primarily by appealing to others’ emotions and prejudice.
The McCarthy era and the Salem
Witch trials were driven by different beliefs and false accusations.
“How much of this was achieved by military
force and how much was achieved by traitors and Communist-line propagandists in
our own government and in other free governments?” (Good Luck)
He is making accusations and is
justifying them with the beliefs of the ones he is accusing. He is trying to
get more people on his side by making this type of accusations without real
For instance, there is a scene in
the beginning of the Crucible where Abigail Williams and her fellow friends are
accused of dancing in the woods, committing witchcraft and inflicting spirits
on her younger cousin. All of these accusations were made with real evidence. So
in an attempt to get out of trouble, she uses these tactics to focus attention
on others. She purposely uses religion and belief to defend herself and
manipulates the situation to make other people seem guilty.
“I want to open myself. I want the sweet love
of Jesus! I dance for the devil; I saw him; I write in his book; I go back to
Jesus; I kiss his hand. I saw Sarah Goody with the devil! I saw Goody Osburn
with the devil! I saw Bridget Bishop
with the devil!” (Miller, pg 45)
Abigail is directly accusing people
of witchcraft without any real evidence. She is manipulating the situation and
turning it into a religious issue. She is trying to cover up or dissimulate the
real evidence that is being held against her and the innocence of others to the
subject to shape the situation in a way that would benefit her.
This kind of action can be justifiable
with hunger for power or revenge that are both shown in The Crucible and Good
Night and Good Luck. As a matter of fact, the main reason why conflicts started
in both of these stories was that the characters needed a safe excuse that
would generate influence over others. False accusations were the easy way to
create fear over the public and influence them until they had power over their
way of seeing things.
Those in power use their resources
to create public hysteria and create fear of the unknown to manipulate
situations and stay in their positions of power.
Mr. Murrow did a report on Senator
McCarthy in his show. In this report the senator was free to express the way he
felt towards the situation that was happening during this era. McCarthy made statements
that established his political belief and empower his ideas.
“The American people realize that
this cannot be made a fight between America’s two great political parties. If
this fight against communism is made a fight between America’s two great
political parties, the American people know that one of those parties will be
destroyed, and the Republic can’t endure very long as a one-party system.” (Good
He is attempting to divide the
public and make them believe that there is only one and one belief that are
right and whoever is against that is to be fear. He is doing this with the
purpose of creating fear and making people rely on what he is implying is safe.
A pattern somewhat similar is shown
in the Crucible when Reverend Danforth was pointing out to John Proctor that he
must not be believed because he wouldn’t be available to know the truth. His
only reasons to make this claims are not supported with real evidence but only
what a group of teenagers said.
“In an ordinary crime, how does one
defend 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, pg. 93)
Danforth shows the terrible effect
of the logical extension of belief in witchcraft. Of course, the part he leaves
out in his discussion is whether or not the victims are trustworthy. He was
manifesting his anguish with expressions that were used with the intent of
creating fear and doubt. Both of
them help create public hysteria and have the people of Salem give more power
to the court and the accuser.
In the 1940s, America was living in
fear, just like in the 1692. Both eras were filled with panic. Politicians in
this two stories enlarged the public’s panic by making false accusations that
would harm the innocent and create more power for themselves.
all the characters had differences they manipulated situations in similar ways
and got different outcomes. However, these differences and outcomes were mostly
related on the era these situations were settled.
We would like to think that our
society has advanced to an age where witch hunts and infiltration of the
communist government could never happen. Now days our society has learned from
those mistakes and has helped the growth of our society.