The Crucible

Whether human nature is good or bad has been discussed in a few works we have read. Hobbes argues that human being is naturally bad and the existence of sovereignty and laws is primarily to stop people hurting each other. I agreed with Hobbes’s idea when reading Leviathan, but when reading The Crucible, I feel that laws and society can also bring out the worst side of people, and the tragedy happens largely because of the state and the society rather than individuals. People suffer from the state ideology and sometimes they have to follow it for their own safety. In The Crucible, the girls accuse others (mostly innocent) of witchcraft, either for their safety or other benefits and it is well known as the allegory of the McCarthyism and the Red Scare. Interestingly, it also happened in a communist state a decade after that, when the Cultural Revolution started in China in 1960s. People accuse others of being a “capitalist” or “revisionist” when they do anything “against” communism and Maoism, and if they know others do anything inappropriate and they don’t accuse them, they will be charged in the same way as being a “capitalist”.I argue that the rise McCarthyism is largely because of the state ideology, not the bad nature of people. It “forces” people to behave in a certain way for self protection, even though sometimes they don’t want to do harm to others. In this case, the state no longer protects people but becomes a battlefield.

 

Maggie Ma

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