What is hysteria? By definition, hysteria is a state of intense agitation, anxiety, or excitement, especially as manifested by large groups or segments of society. In a broader sense however, hysteria is a killer, the delitescent devil. Hysteria was the main cause of nineteen deaths in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Years later, hysteria was responsible for countless ruined reputations and lives during the era of Senetor Joe McCarthy. Hysteria does not just appear out of nowhere though. There are driving forces such as revenge and abuse of power that bring about the irrational fear that can take over society. These are the issues expressed in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. The Crucible is paralleled directly to the Salem Witch Trials and indirectly to the McCarthy hearings of the 1950’s. The story of The Crucible takes place against the background of the Salem Witch, trials but the themes lie much deeper. The main themes expressed in The Crucible relate to the events that occurred at both the Salem Witch Trials and during the McCarthy era. At the Salem Witch Trials, one hundred fifty people were accused of practicing witchcraft and nineteen of those were convicted and executed. The evidence against these people was hardly substantial. At the McCarthy hearings, thousands of people were “blacklisted.” Anyone who tried to oppose the accusations was also viewed as a Communist. No one was convicted due to the more advanced legal system; still, that did not erase the fear that was instilled by the allegations. In 1692, the small town of Salem, Massachusetts was in a state of unrest. The farming families in the western part wanted to split from the town and form Salem Village. These separatists felt that Salem’s increasing economy was creating individualism and taking away from the communal nature of Puritanism. The family leading these separatists was the Putnam family. They started a congregation under Reverend Samuel Parris, which only increased division between the two blocs. The children of Salem did not have many forms of entertainment, especially during the winter. There were no movies or radios, and the adults were always busy with work. Many took to reading as a form of entertainment. The young people of the town became interested in books about fortune telling and prophecies. Some formed a circle led by Tituba, slave... ... middle of paper ... ...and his family and stand up for what he believed in. It ends up costing Proctor his life but he stopped the hysteria. By sitting on the sidelines, Proctor was indirectly contributing to the hysteria. Once he took responsibility, he was a proud man and the hysteria was put to an end. In the final scene of The Crucible, the minister pleads with Elizabeth Proctor to convince her husband to confess. She says “He has his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him.” (Arthur Miller, pg. 145). Hysteria can be started easily and spread like wildfire and can be ended just as effortlessly if one person takes a stand for what is right, no matter what the consequences. References Cited Miller, Arthur. The Crucible, New York: Penguin Books, 1976. Robinson, Enders A. The Devil Discovered: Salem Witchcraft 1692, New York: Hippocrene Books, 1991 Shrecker, Ellen. Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America, New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1998. Sutter, Tim. “Salem Witchcraft: the events and causes of the Salem witch trials.” 2000. Http://www.salemwitchtrials.com/salemwitchcraft.html. [available]. (20 January 2001).
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In “The Crucible”, the author, Arthur Miller, conveys what he believes Senator Joe McCarthy is doing during the Red Scare. The Salem Witch Trials were true events, while this play uses these trials and adds a fictional twist to show a point. Witchcraft was punishable by death during this time. Once names started flying in town it was like a chain reaction, people were accusing others of witchcraft because they were not fond of them or they had something they wanted. Some definitions state mass hysteria as contagious, the characters in this play deemed it true. In this play, innocent people were hung because some of the girls in town cried witch.
Hysteria is characterized as an uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrationality. Wherever hysteria takes place, it seems to condone distortion of the truth, unfathomable actions, and illogical accusations causing communities to rip apart. Hysteria supplants logic and enables people to believe that their neighbors, whom they grown to trust, do things that one would normally find anomalous. People who died in the haste of fear and uncertainty were often unnecessary because fear clouds the judgment and perception of a person.
In Arthur Miller 's famous play The Crucible, innocent people are falsely accused of witchcraft and are killed as a result. Even the thought of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts in the late 1600s would put the whole village into mass hysteria. Mass hysteria refers to collective delusions of threats to society that spread rapidly through rumors and fear. This is the main cause of why so many people were arrested and killed for witchcraft. One way people could save themselves was by falsely confessing to have performed witchcraft. Many people did not do this though. This is because the townspeople were held to very strict moral values and must uphold their good name in society. They did not want a bad reputation. In The Crucible, by Arthur
The novel’s heroine and narrator, Esperanza, is a Mexican girl. She has a big family of six members: her parents, two brothers whose names are Carlos and Kiki, and her sister, Nenny. They lived in America, in different houses that required them to move around each year. When the pipes in their previous apartment broke and the landlord refused to fix them, Esperanza and her family moved to the house on Mango Street, which is owned by them so that they do not have any subject related to landlords or other people sharing the place. However, the house was not as good as they expected, and despite the fact that her parents said they would move out soon, she doubted that it would not be only temporary. The house on Mango Street was an improvement from the previous one, but it was still not the house that Esperanza wanted to claim as hers. She
In The Crucible, the members of the Salem community accept the lies that their neighbors are taking apart of witchcraft as the truth. The lies and deceit in the community help attribute to the play’s overall theme of hysteria. The theme of hysteria is prevalent throughout the play, as the belief that witchcraft is occurring in the town enables members of the community to believe that their neighbors have committed devilish acts. As the town descends into a hysterical climate, members of the community take advantage of the situation to act upon any long-held grudges or repressed sentiment. Characters, such as Abigail, use both lies and hysteria to seek revenge and gain power. This reveals that the lies and deceit told throughout the play drive
The crucible, written by Arthur Miller, is about the Salem witch trials and how people react to hysteria created from the fear of witches. In the play, after hysteria breaks out, the Salem government starts persecute and hang people it believes are witches. This prompts people to start to accusing people of witchcraft. Some people who accuse others of committing witchcraft are Abigail Williams and Thomas Putnam. They do not accuse people of witchcraft to stop witchcraft, but for personal gain or to hurt others. Thomas Putnam, one of the many characters who takes advantage of the witch trials, is able to use the fear of witches to bend the court to his will. Hysteria causes people to believe claims that are clearly false. This allows Putnam to persecute his enemies. He and many other are able to get away with this because hysteria driven persecutions are not run like regular courts and the fact that witchcraft is an invisible crime allows evidence to be made up. The theme of The Crucible is when any persecution is driven by fear and people can and will manipulate the system so they can gain and hurt another.
In the Book women are looked upon as objects by men whether they are boyfriends, friends fathers or husbands. The girls in the novel grow up with the mentality that looks and appearance are the most important things to a woman. Cisneros also shows how Latino women are expected to be loyal to their husbands, and that a husband should have complete control of the relationship. Yet on the other hand, Cisneros describes the character Esperanza as being different. Even though she is born and raised in the same culture as the women around her, she is not happy with it, and knows that someday she will break free from its ties, because she is mentally strong and has a talent for telling stories. She comes back through her stories by showing the women that they can be independent and live their own lives. In a way this is Cinceros' way of coming back and giving back to the women in her community.
When introducing many of her family members, she often expresses a characteristic that makes them unique. When taking about her mother, Esperanza admits that when she's being help by her mother, “She feels safe. (Cisneros 6)” This allows Esperanza to seek comfort in any situation as long as her mother is around. Which is important, especially when Esperanza encounters issues with her house. Esperanza shows her strong sisterly bonds when they both share the same thoughts. When she comments on their house’s appearance, Nenny says “thats exactly what I was thinking. (Cisneros 18)” Their similar thoughts show how much they have in common, and how strong their relationship is. Esperanza shows how much she cares when she begins to thing about the death of her grandfather. In the instance he passes, she would “hold [her] papa in [her] arms. (Cisneros 57)” She knows that it would be difficult seeing him go, but she would be right there by his side. Although Esperanza goes though rough times with family, there is no one that can replace the ones who love
In the vignette, “Darius and the Clouds,” Esperanza realizes, “You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky” (Cisneros 33). This event in the novel proves that Esperanza is growing up because she realizes that you don’t need money to be happy. She is making the best out of what she has. Esperanza also shows change in “Bums in the Attic.” She says, “One day I’ll own my own house, but I won’t forget who I am or where I came from” (Cisneros 87). This quote is effective because it adds to the reader’s appreciation of the story, since many people can relate. Identity can be changed by influences from people or an environment, but some things are permanent. Esperanza must change some parts of her identity to become her true self, the person she has been searching
In this chapter, Esperanza compares herself to the four skinny trees. She grows “down” by adjusting to her new setting, the house on Mango Street. She grows “up” by maturing into a young woman. This particular quote show the motif of “self-identity” it is one of the many times Esperanza uses inanimate objects to describe and reveal her self-identity. The sentence “Their strength is secret.” Suggests that like Esperanza, the trees are underdogs. Furthermore, Cisneros uses strong word choice to describe both the trees and Esperanza. The words “bite”, “violent”, and “anger” show strong word choice from the author. This particular word choice creates a mood tone despite the irony of the trees and Esperanza perceived of being weak, thus further proving the fact that Esperanza is a underdog. Esperanza may be perceived of being weak due to her female gender and her youth. The perception of Esperanza being weak brings up the motif of “gender stereotypes” because females, such as Esperanza, are generally perceived as weak while males are perceived as dominant and
I believe that Esperanza focuses on the hair of her family because it is an adolescent and silly way of categorizing those around her. Early on, Esperanza takes little notice of the boys and men in her neighborhood and in her life in general. She talks about the hair of the men in her family in very plain ways, “Carlos’ hair is thick and straight”, etc. Her descriptions of hair are based on looks, but they are also based on what she thinks of that person. The men in her life don’t take up much of her thoughts, at least initially. Only her father gets an interesting description, “his hair is like a broom, all up in the air”. It’s not a rousing endorsement. Typical for a pre-pubescent girl, she is unhappy with her looks and her situation. She
In The Crucible, the mass hysteria surrounding the witch trials caused paranoia amongst the people of Salem. Miller uses the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 as a symbol and allegory of the fear surrounding the spread of communism during the 1950s in America. The community’s sense of justice was blinded by the mass hysteria and for some, a desire for vengeance and personal gain. The Putnams
Hysteria was a very obvious theme shown throughout the play, The Crucible. It was all started by a few young girls in Salem, Massachusetts. They were all dancing in the woods one night and were caught by Paris, the reverend in that small town. The next day two of the young girls were sick and would not move, talk, nor eat . The town began to start talk of witch craft because of the forbidden dancing that took place the other night. When the girls heard of that at first they denied it, but then they realized they could get out of being punished if they put the blame onto someone else. The began to shout out the names of people they clamed to have seem with they devil. It seemed like a logical explanation to the people in the town, so they had the people accused of being witches arrested. The whole town was in an uproar crying out witch craft to gain respect and power in the town and to get revenge on those who they were jealous of . Everyone began to thrive on this hysteria in particular Abigail Williams. She was having an affair with Elizabeth Proctors husband, John Proctor, when she had lived with them as t...
Salem Village, Massachusetts was the home of a Puritan community with a strict moral code through 1691. No one could have ever anticipated the unexplainable events that were to ambush the community’s stability. The crisis that took place in Salem in 1962 still remains a mystery, but the accusations made by the young girls could be a result of ergot poisoning or the need for social power; this leads the people of Salem to succumb to the genuine fear of witchcraft.
At first, Esperanza is young, insecure, and immature. Her immaturity is apparent when she talks about her mom holding her, saying it is, “sweet to put your nose into when she is holding you and you feel safe” (Cisneros 6-7). This shows Esperanza’s insecurity because her mom is still a big comfort source to her. She feels a false sense of comfort because her mom is there and will protect her. In addition, Esperanza’s immaturity is shown through her dislike for outsiders of the neighborhood when she says, “They are stupid people who are lost and got here by mistake” (Cisneros 28). This indicates how defensive and protective Esperanza is towards her barrio by calling outsiders stupid for reacting the way they do, even though she dislikes Mango Street....