I actually wasn’t aware that The Crucible had anything to do with the cold war, but that comparison really made me appreciate the play more. The story becomes richer when you think of it as just an earlier example of the human potential for mass hysteria, which was also present in Miller’s time. The cultural transcendence of this issue, which can only be fully understood after knowing the historical context and message of the play, is impressive. The differences between these two examples of hysteria (cold war and witch hunt hysteria) is also interesing. There were real communist spies within America, but there were no witches in sixteenth century Salem. This demonstrates how strong of an emotion fear is. The objective truth doesn’t seem to be as important, even in the cold war/Mccarthy scenario. Rather mass fear and paranoia can create reality for all intensive purposes, and justify deplorable actions as it did in Salem, and for people like Mccarthy. Such justification of craziness brings to mind the complacency of people and their active ignorance of the evils of society we discussed in regards to Heart Of Darkness. Once things are made official and legitimate, or as Conrad put it “efficient”, (as “efficiency is saves us”) seemingly immoral acts can become justified or necessary to people.
On another note, I’m unclear, although interested, about how observing tragedy can be therapeutic, as was mentioned in lecture. Is it a case of morbid fascination and taking comfort in knowing we don’t have it as bad as any given tragic hero does?