This court room speculation is seen in Arthur Millers novel The Crucible and the film, Good Night and Good Luck. These two resources connect by a very similar plot line even thought one is factual and the other is based off of facts. The similarities and differences between main characters, John Proctor and Edward Murrow are seen by their human traits, actions they took and the results of those actions due to pressure by court cases. Edward Murrow and John Proctor are very similar by certain traits they carried while under court speculation and drama. Both men wanted to stand up for what they believed was right.
They were honest men until the court and certain people wanted to take that away from them. John Proctor told the truth because unlike the court, he knew what he did and did not do. Proctor knew he was guilty of adultery but neither he nor his wife was involved in witchcraft which he was being accused of. Murrow did the exact same thing in his reporting of the McCarthy trials, he wanted people to get the truth. He would go to extraordinary lengths in reporting and drama with his company, CBS to tell the truth. One major difference in the traits of these two men was the amount of support they had.
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Edward Murrow was a household name that had viewers and coworkers behind him and supporting him even if their company disagreed. If Senator McCarthy verbally accused Murrow of certain Soviet actions, reporters would be right there to get evidence to clear his name. John Proctor had less of an advantage in this aspect. It was him against a town with only one woman behind him that was in jail herself. Elizabeth Proctor pushed for her husband even knowing of his affair and her being accused of witchcraft. These two men had similar traits but one key trait of support, which Proctor lacked, seemed to be a very important one in the end.
Edward Murrow was reporting on falsely accused individuals while John Proctor was living it. The actions of these two men under the spotlight of accusations showed some similarities and difference between them. Both men tried to clear their name of the false accusations set before them. Murrow looked into the eyes of the camera and told America he was not involved in Soviet relations. Even the report made by Senator McCarthy of Murrow being involved in a Soviet group twenty years ago, was shot down. John Proctor tried to clear his name as well but found it difficult with the court telling him what and what not to do.
These two men had differences in their actions by how they went about them. Murrow thoroughly investigated before claiming or saying anything to America. John however, not having as much support, made excuses and started accusing others of witchcraft. Proctor fell under the spell of the court and said what would make them happy just so they would stop. He soon began not following his initial idea of telling the truth which Murrow kept through out the accusations and pressures from McCarthy and his boss, the CEO of Columbia Broadcast Systems. Each of these actions made by the men caused the plot line to end with different affects felt.
In the two story lines, both men were falsely accused but resulted in different endings. John Proctor was accused of witchcraft, which he tried but failed standing up for. Edward Murrow was accused of being a communist but stood up for himself creating a different ending. Proctor, unlike Murrow, did not have the power and evidence to clear his name of witchery and also had the accusation of adultery. The affects of his lack of support end with him being hanged of something he tried to prove to the court he did not do. Murrow on the other hand, had support and evidence which caused his story ending to be much different than Proctors.
Due to his amount of determination and with the modern day advances he had, Murrow became a legend for his reporting especially during the McCarthy trials. He went to a new level of reporting by standing up for himself and what he knew he was not, a communist. If Proctor had the modern day media or even more support, one can only wonder how his outcome would have been affected. John Proctor and Edward Murrow, two stand out characters of two different eras, share similarities and differences in their traits, actions taken and results of those actions.
These men were standing up for themselves against strongly set accusers who treated them as if they committed horrific crimes. Whether John did commit witchcraft of Edward was a communist is overshadowed by the way people accused and investigated the men or did not investigate in John’s case. The creditability of the court system is strongly questioned after reading The Crucible and watching Good Night and Good Luck and makes one wonder how trustworthy and fair are the American courts really are.
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