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Discuss How Atwood and Miller Explore the Theme of Oppression in the Handmaid’s Tale and the Crucible.

In: English and Literature

Submitted By BMcCann
Words 2479
Pages 10
The theme of oppression is constant throughout both The Handmaid’s Tale and The Crucible. Both show how religion can be twisted into a form of control in society and they show the huge detrimental and devastating effects this control can have. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible shows the horror and appalling nature of the Salem witch trials of 1692, but beneath this surface it shows the parallels to aspects in Miller’s own life at this period, with the idea of McCarthyism going out of control in America. McCarthyism was a result of the second red scare in America in the late 1940´s/1950’s. It was a fear driven movement that swept across the United States where the threat of a Communist world revolution seemed like a very real threat. In response to this branches of the government set up organisations such as HUAC (The House Un-American Activities Committee) to help fight Communism from infiltrating the state. Unfortunately in the end it simply led to a ´witch hunt´ in which people were brought to trial and accused of being communist, Miller amongst them. HUAC and McCarthyism were simply examples of how when those in power feel threatened they will do anything to maintain their position which is what Miller set out to show in The Crucible. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood took a different approach, with a dystopian text which shows a world in which women are heavily oppressed and religion is used as a tool to brainwash and control the population. Atwood has made a point of showing how devastating an effect it can be to not allow women basic human rights and how religion can be used as an effective tool to control a population. The inspiration Atwood had for her novel was the second wave feminism that hit in the early 1980´s which clearly reflects strongly onto her novel. Further examples of influence she had can be seen in an article by The Guardian titled ‘For God and…...

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