Conformity And Mentality In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

1521 Words 7 Pages
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” Throughout his career, famed German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche criticized what he saw as the degression of human society through conformity. It is not necessarily a negative trait, but like a virus it remains dormant until a sickness exposes the host. This vulnerability allows the virus to sweep throughout the body and infect its entirety, dooming any bystanders as it spreads. The Crucible written by Arthur Miller is a historical example of this sickness. Set during the year 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts, the book …show more content…
Blindly following the trends and thoughts of society has sometimes resulted in some of the most despicable and unnecessary events caused by humanity, such as the Salem Witch Trials depicted in The Crucible.
A symptom of conformity is hysteria. It could arguably be a state of psychological anarchy, where emotions and fear take hold and any rationality is swiftly subdued. When the town of Salem showed signs of this symptom, it was thrown into chaos. The root of this problem started with the questioning of Tituba; the Barbados woman and other girls were suspected of
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People’s actions and thoughts are influenced by those around them. The most notable case of this is Mary Warren in The Crucible because she is the exact embodiment of mob mentality. Originally, Warren was a member of Abigail William’s group, the ones who started the accusations of witchcraft. With the guidance of John Proctor, however, she is questioned by the court running the trials and she admits, “...It were only sport in the beginning, sir, but then the whole world cried spirits, spirits, and I--I promise, you, Mr. Danforth, I only thought I saw them but I did not.” (107) Warren had joined Abigail’s mob and pretended along with the other girls to see evil spirits. Consequently, she is no more than a blind sheep who followed the herd because Abigail and the others girls urged her to. Unsurprisingly, Abigail’s group denied that they had been faking their bewitching the entire time and ironically began to accuse Mary of possessing them. In unison they began repeating everything Mary said in order to fool the judges into believing that she was possessing them, and Mary to no avail, was desperately trying to get them to drop the act. (116) Here, Abigail used mob mentality to her advantage and had the other girls copy what she did. Throughout The Crucible, she essentially has a cult following that she can influence for her own gain through mob mentality. Mary Warren, being mentally weak, crumbles as the girls

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