The Great Witch Hunt

849 Words4 Pages
Humanity had gone through a number of challenges that tested our beliefs and morals throughout history. In 1692, our humanity was tested in a significant manner when the Great Salem Witch Hunt erupted on the puritans of colonial America. Fear spread among the people and the drive to get rid of the bad was strong, causing many innocent people to be killed. These type of events repeats itself throughout the course of time. It is as if we humans are oppressed for a certain amount of decades and then once fear takes root in our society, we act harshly upon it, as if releasing emotions of desire for personal freedom. Mass hysteria outbreaks occur because of social problems that have been ignored too long, and it only takes a few misleading information to cause it. The mass hysteria that occurred in Salem, Massachusetts was inevitable. The puritan style of living is very limited and strict. People were forbidden to partake in many activities and many acts are punishable by the name of God. Documents from the time, such as John Winthrop’s, an early colonist, “City Upon a Hill”, shows how puritans were “commanded... to love the Lord our God”, and going against the word of God was taken very seriously. Thus, the people lived in fear of getting punished. When an innocent little girl proclaimed to be under the influence of the devil, the widespread fear shook the entire village. Blame starts to be put on people, and soon, the witch hunt commenced. The accused tended to be the minority of the puritans, and it was clear that the people were using the hysteria for their own personal goals. The accused were judged harshly and punished quickly. Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible” was set in the aforementioned events, and he explaine... ... middle of paper ... ...communists by HUAC. In the end, fear makes people take radical actions and make sacrifices in order to feel safe again, no matter if it is 1692 or the 20th century. Metaphorically, a mass hysteria can be described as a flame. Social issues are the tinder since it is where the problem takes root, and oppression of the people is the kindling that will provide a setting for the problem. Fear is the initial sparks of the flame, and combined with political and economical issues, the flame gets bigger. This flame signifies the burning passion of the people within a mass hysteria to destroy, or specifically, eliminate those they fear, in order to secure order again. This is why events such as the Great Witch Hunt of Salem are tests of humanity’s beliefs and morals. It is essentially up to us to stop the spread of the flame and control the outbreak of mass hysteria.
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