Throughout The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, fear is used as a control tactic. Fear escalates quickly through the responsible parties – Abigail Williams, Reverend John Hale, and Deputy Governor Danforth – and soon the town succumbs to it. Fear is not used by all of the responsible parties for control, as in controlling the people in order to be the “top dog” so to speak, but as a way to prevent their own accusation or conviction of witchcraft. They each used their own methods of creating fear in order to beat the stakes. Abigail Williams is accused of witchcraft early on. In order to avoid conviction she confesses to witchcraft, accuses Tituba of forcing her to drink blood and do witchcraft, and accuses Elizabeth Proctor, Sarah Good, Goody Osburn, Bridget Bishop, Goody Sibber, Goody Hawkins, Goody Booth, and countless other innocent people in court. She throws herself down in the court and does other dramatic actions in order to convince the court that a person is in fact a witch. This leads to people being falsely accused of witchcraft and forced to accuse others in order to live. Because of Abigail's growing power in the court, people become fearful of her. One of the most important people who begins to fear her is Elizabeth Proctor. Elizabeth is afraid that Abigail will accuse her of witchcraft. She also gives more insight into Abigail's behavior in court. She states that Abigail will “scream and howl and fall to the floor” when the accused are brought forth (50). The people and the court begin to believe that Abigail can see who the witches are. Her words and actions become the deciding factors in a defendants fate. Reverend Hale is believed to be a witch hunter of sorts. He believes himself to be a specialist and othe... ... middle of paper ... ... court, there are only two choices for their fate: confess to a false crime and spend time in jail for it, or don't confess and face either torture until you confess or your execution. It is a lose lose situation. This is true for every person who is tried in front of the court. People became fearful of this and they could do nothing but accuse everyone they can in order to prevent accusation of themselves. Danforth, Abigail, and Hale all spread fear throughout Salem, Massachusetts through various means. Not all of their reasons were bad or for their own well being. The responsible parties were, in a way, forced to do the actions they did by the stakes that were laid out unknowingly. Each of their stakes were different and their methods of spreading fear were different. They all, however, spread fear throughout Salem, and cause of massive uproar of panic and death.
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“No one man can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices.” In the case of The Crucible by Arthur Miller, Edward Murrow is uncannily accurate. The Crucible, set in Salem, Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials, proves that when one antagonist has accomplices, they can destroy the lives of many. In this story, Abigail destroys the lives of everyone in Salem. That being said, in times of stress or panic, people's’ true traits and personalities can be discovered, as shown in the cases of John Proctor and his damning indiscretion, Rev. Hale’s panicked realization, and Mary Warren’s naive and fearful indecision; all of which develop throughout the play in response to different stimuli.
Mr. Hale as they refer to him in the play, started out as a student at Harvard College and graduated in 1657. Ten years later he was ordained as a minister of the Parish Church in Beverly, Mass on September 20th 1667. He was the first minister of this church from what I read. A few years past and Hale was called to the Village of Salem to rid its streets of witches and witchcraft. His degree and church background make Mr. Hale the best candidate to earn people’s trust, and use it to make the investigation advantage.
In the play The Crucible, Arthur Miller explores the topic of fear and how it can be used to silence people or force them into false testimony. In this play we can see the fear of witchcraft and becoming condemned, or having a family member condemned, can take over a person and get them to act unusually. Mary Warren makes the decision to switch between siding with the girls and with Proctor out of fear for her life, yet only some of her decisions are justified as only sometimes she was trying to make the right decision and others were to save herself.
Gretchen A. Adams, the author of the journal, describes how the stereotype and image of colonial puritans were portrayed as hasty prosecutors, and victims to mass hysteria. “In fact, Salem’s witch-hunt…operated under the influence of “hysteria, witch hunts, or vigilantes”, this excerpt talks about how even in the mid-20th century people were using the Salem witch trials as an example of hysteria and prosecution (Adams p.24). In ‘Escaping Salem’, Godbeer talks about how even the people of Stamford also went into a panic, “Once the Wescots…had to be willing to speak out” (p.10). This shows that even when Stamford witch hunt was mild compared to the Salem hunts, people still can assume the worst when a conflict happens. The article later mentions how Americans in the 19th century were exaggerating the witch trials as a means of propaganda against the northern politicians, “In the 1850s… uniquely suited to derive the maximum emotional reaction from its intended audience” (Adams
Abigail asks Tituba to help her cast a love spell on John Proctor. Abigail tells the girls who were also involved to keep quiet. Mary Warren begins to feel guilty and tries to persuade the girls to tell the truth. Abigail disagrees with Mary and browbeats the girls “Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things… I will bring a pointy reckoning and shutter you”. (Miller 1137) Abigail is threatening the girls that if they say anything about her drinking blood she will harm them. Abigail threatens the girls for her own selfish reasons, Abigail Williams is a villain because she would rather lie and hurt people than tell the truth.
A crucible is an extremely difficult experience or situation in which different social forces cause a change in a person. With this in mind, Arthur Miller uses this term to title one of his most famous novels The Crucible. The Crucible portrays events and change in people during The 1692 Salem Witch trials. Essentially, fear motivates the characters to change or become dynamic in order to protect themselves. Dynamic characters influenced by events in The Crucible include John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor and Reverend Hale.
...es own fear that the data he had collected was to be false and the town was to be tried by each accused of such hearings of being hanged for witchery. This was Hales demon of fear he could not overcome of being the key holder to these people's lives and caused the court to trial them of false accusations of a few young girls.
Many of the characters in Arthur Miller's The Crucible have specific human flaws that cause the tragedy of the Salem Witch Trials. The Salem villagers exhibit failings, including greed, vengeance, and fear, which eventually lead to the downfall of their town. Many villagers, especially Abigail Williams, take advantage of the opportunity to seek vengeance on others through the trials. Greed for power and land often holds precedence when the hysteria takes over. Fear of being arrested or put to death is the key motivation in turning others in as witches. From these three human flaws, the town of Salem falls into chaos with many innocent people paying the price.
Abigail Williams started the witch trials in Salem all because she and a group of her friends wanted some attention from their town. Abigail thinks she is superior to some people, specifically Tituba and has no problem accusing people she feels superior to. "They want slaves, not such as I. Let them send to Barbados for any of them!"(24). Abigail's first victim in her accusation spree was Tituba. Tituba was easy first target because she is a slave and practices voodoo, both things combined make her the easiest target in Salem. "Sometimes I wake and find myself standing in the open doorway and not a stitch on my body! I always hear her laughing in my sleep. I hear her singing her Barbados songs and tempting me with-"(27). Abigail targets Tituba first so she can gain so...
Reverend John Hale’s changes in his diction reveal his shift from confident claims of witchcraft to determined denials of witchcraft as well as guilt. For instance, when he was describing the contents of his book in Parris’ home, he guaranteed with conviction, “Have no fear now,” (Miller 34) but later on he said to Danforth, “my hand shakes yet as with a wound.” (Miller 92) This shows the huge contrast be...
Fear should not be the way to look for answers when situations arise that can’t be explained. People tend to confuse fear and paranoia with reason and often make rash decisions, because they let their fear run rampant. The role of reason and logic in Puritan societies is often overshadowed by paranoia and fear. In “ The Crucible,” written by Arthur Miller his characters illustrate the development of these traits, and societies reactions to those characters. The characters in “ The Crucible,” aren’t rational thinkers and jump to conclusions, they have problems with being honest, and each character sees the world differently.
In every society, throughout all of time fear is present. It is a an evolutionary instinct thought to have kept us alive, throughout the darkest moments in human history. However as time has progressed fear has had an unintended consequences on society, including the suffusion of incomprehension. During the Salem Witch Trials and Cold War a large sense of fear overcame these societies causing tragedy and misinformation to become commonplace. It is in these societies that it is clear that fear is needed to continue a trend of ignorance. Although bias is thought to be essential to injustice, fear is crucial to the perpetuation of ignorance because it blinds reason, suppresses the truth and creates injustice.
In conclusion, the fear generated by Abigail and the other girls, which began initially with their own fear of punishment, caused the town’s fear and lead to John proctor’s external and internal conflict. Therefore making true the statement the prime instigator of conflict is fear.
The Crucible is a play with many underlying messages and themes. One of which is the idea of power. Power is a very important term in this play in that whoever holds the power, holds the fates of others. The hysteria within Salem has directly effected society. Everything has turned upside down and has gotten distorted. Arthur Miller is telling us that all the power in Salem is given to those who are corrupt and their abuse of it is directly shown through: the actions of Abigail throughout the play, the corruption and desires of Parris, as well as the witch trials held by Judge Danforth.