Theme Of Mob Mentality In The Crucible

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Mob mentality is a dangerous characteristic of a person’s attitude. When in a group people often experience “deindividuation, or a loss of self-awareness” causing “the provocation of behaviors that a person would not typically engage in if alone” (Avant). These behaviors can include poor decision making processes and engaging in the defamation of one’s character. It is important that people stand up to this mentality to stop it before extensive damage can be done. This is clearly defined in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Through Miller’s use of the Hollywood Blacklist along with the characterization of Abigail Williams and John Proctor, he establishes that theme that humans must stand up against mob mentality, in order to break the cycle of …show more content…
Williams is characterized as a “total anarchist who refuses to be bound by any rules” (Abbotson). These characteristics of a teenage girl make her a psychotic leader of Salem’s girls. Abigail sacrifices her friend, Tituba, by alleging her of witchcraft. Each of the girls that look up to her follow this amoral action creating hysteria among the town. Abigail leads her mob of girls to make rash and impulsive decisions, borrowing courage and perceived dignity from their leader and each other. She is the first one to confess, staring as though she is inspired saying, “I want to open myself!... I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil!” (Miller 45). By standing in front of the girls and encouraging them to follow in her accusations, Abigail causes deindividuation and the destruction of morality within her mob. These events in the play allow for the formation of mob mentality and creates the way Miller displays the appalling outcomes of this thought process. As the antagonist, the reader sees her succeed in her evils time and time again adding even more disgust to the mindset. Miller uses Abigail and her malicious ways to prove the destructive effects the mob mentality can have on …show more content…
In manipulating the character of John Proctor, the playwright shows that nobody is free from the mob. He made Proctor a community figure, one of the “most respected” (Polster). Proctor, who was accused solely based on the ulterior motives of Abigail, stood up to the authority attempting to prove the situation false. As the protagonist, John Proctor is viewed as a good person who has made mistakes. Miller utilized this perception making Proctor’s fatal decision have an even greater impact. Proctor attempts to rise up against the mob ideals that have overrun Salem by refusing to confess to witchery, a crime he never committed, saying “You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor… Give them no tear! Tears pleasure them! Show honor now, show a stony heart and sink them with it!” (Miller 133). In proclaiming this, Proctor gave his life to stop the mob mentality. Proctor tells Elizabeth to stop the mob mentality using the memory of his life and the life she still has to live. Miller displays how one cannot just submit to the cruelty of mob mentality and “advocates taking a stand to preserve civil liberties against tyranny” exemplified by the death of John Proctor (Polster). The playwright proves the barbarity of the mob and constructs the theme that people must stand against these actions to create a better

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