Fear Tactics in The Crucible

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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.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how reverend hale is a witch hunter and spreads fear unknowingly. he is the cause of countless innocent convictions and numerous hangings with more to come.
  • Analyzes how deputy governor danforth does not directly cause fear by his actions, but adds on to it. he doesn't doubt the trustworthiness of the prosecutors and witnesses until abigail and the other girls were brought in for perjury.
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