Mob Hysteria In The Salem Witch Trials And The Crucible

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Mob Hysteria is defined as the heightened and extreme emotions that can be experienced by people in a large crowd. There have been many outbreaks of Mob Hysteria in history. For example, just recently, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri created mob hysteria that spread like a wildfire throughout the city. Blacks in the city became scared and angry; they started riots, burned buildings, and vandalized. The Salem Witch Trials and the McCarthy Era are two more instances of Mob Hysteria. During the Salem Witch Trials, people were frightened that they would be accused of being a witch, which would result in execution. During the McCarthy “witch hunt”, Communism was formidable. People were being called out and investigated …show more content…
During the Salem Witch Trials and in The Crucible, many people become paranoid that the people around them may be witches. For instance, Giles Corey is trying to plead with Judge Danforth that accusing his own wife as a witch was a mistake. Giles says, “It is my third wife,sir; I never had no wife that be taken with books, and I thought to find the cause of it, d’y’see, but it were no witch I blamed her for” (86). This quote demonstrates how Giles Corey became so paranoid about witchcraft that he even thought his wife to be a witch. Many people during the Salem Witch Trials became so caught up in the witch hunt that they would even start to view the people closest to them as being a worshipper of the Devil. Being paranoid about what is happening is one aspect of Mob Hysteria; moreover, another part of mob hysteria is …show more content…
He was a senator of Wisconsin who tried adamantly for five years to expose the communists in the U.S government. Perhaps one of the most memorable of his accusations was his list of 205 names he had of communists in the State Department. According the HistoryMatters, McCarthy said, “I have here in my hand a list of 205… a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of States as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department” (www.historymatters.gmu.edu). This quote demonstrates how accusations were running rampant during the McCarthy Era. If someone as high up as the Senate could be accused of Communism, who is not to say that regular citizens won’t be called out next. Subsequently, this had people making very prudent decisions so they would not be tried and/or put into jail for something they might not have even been a part of. Joseph McCarthy can be compared to Abigail Williams in The Crucible; Abigail acts almost like a ring leader in the play, starting the accusations, which begins Mob Hysteria, and continuously makes the situation worse, while the same thing can be said about McCarthy during the Red Scare. Accusation was one of the leading causes of Mob Hysteria during both time periods, and it continued to be so all throughout

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