Mass Hysteria In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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Arthur Miller defied the regulations during the 1950s in America and wrote The Crucible. It was written during the Red Scare, a time in which the United States was becoming increasingly concerned about the rising power of the Soviet Union. By writing this play Arthur Miller became suspected of being involved with communism. Within the play he uses the ‘Salem Witch Trail’ as a metaphor to draw national attention towards the doings of the McCarthyism propaganda. Arthur Miller discusses the hardships and different aspects of the lives of people during this time. Such as the importance of one’s reputation, the occurrence of closed-mindedness, and mass hysteria.
In The Crucible a character’s reputation is something that is scrutinized at great lengths.
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Mass hysteria played a big role within the plot of the play. It all ignited when innocent girls were accused of witchcraft. The people of Salem became delusional over the accusations of people being involved in witchcraft weather real or not, it resulted in chaos. One clear example of mass hysteria within The Crucible, is in act one when Abigail reacts to Reverend Hale questioning her about conjuring a spirit onto Betty, she then proceeds to utilize Tituba as a scapegoat for her own safety. Claiming that, “she sends her spirits on me in church; she makes me laugh at prayer.” Abigail does this in order to not face the consequences, which was to be burned and hanged. Therefore Tituba confessed to these false accusations. Abigail continues to make these false allegations to build up her reputation as a saint in the community and to minimize the attention from herself. She not only minimized the attention from herself but began to use mass hysteria as a weapon against anyone who defied her. Another example of mass hysteria that is clearly displayed within The Crucible would be when Mary Warren tried to testify against Abigail and the girls, stating that they fabricated the whole idea of them perceiving spirits. In act three, while at court Abigail begins to announce that she sees a figure, and asserts that it is Mary’s spirit who is after her. She begins to holler “Oh, Mary, this is a black art to change your shape. No, I cannot...” (The Crucible by Arthur Miller) As Danforth begins to yell, Mary commences to become nervous and yells “You’re the Devil’s man!” (The Crucible by Arthur Miller) to Procter as if he was behind everything. The girls course out of the court house into the village, screaming hysterically. By them screaming hysterically, it influenced the villagers to scream and run after them as if something had gone horribly wrong. Thus, mass hysteria is

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