In the play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller portrays the downfall of judgment in society when challenged by individuals willing to deceive to satisfy selfish interests. In an attempt to explain the unexplainable, the town of Salem is strongly interested to the idea of witches and devils as an excuse to make sense of tragedies such as dying infants or incurable illnesses. As a result, it is vulnerable to manipulation by greedy individuals looking to escape consequence or sustain reputation by inculcating “fear and guilt [...] in the air of Salem” (Huftel 3). Multiple characters contribute to this outbreak; however, three antagonists stand out: Abigail, Proctor and Parris, all of which spread the hysteria to fulfill personal motivations. Abigail is also motivated by a desire of revenge throughout.
Breith herself spun in her chair, her mouth hanging open. “But I was not given orders to do this, and so I won’t. I won’t even tell the king that you know who she is because I would hate to see you be killed for simple knowledge. My only direct orders were to bring Breith to our king, nothing more.” “And her mother told me to protect her. What should I do now?” “You should trust that I, an armed and honored knight, will be able to protect your daughter on our trip.
Browning uses revealing vocabulary, decisive comparisons, and alliteration to truly reveal the persona in a unique way. Firstly, the persona is seen to be a wicked, dishonest, and depraved through the very strong usage of word choice. Additionally, Browning uses juxtaposition to show how the persona is so intact with the world of envy and deception. Finally, it becomes clear that conclusively the persona is a anger stricken and furious human being through the definite usage of alliteration. The persona is revealed to be a very jealous and sadistic person that sees killing as the answer which exposes her to be a psychopathic person.
This fear pervades the community, inspiring exaggerated reactions and chaos. In the grip of this hysteria, irrational decisions are made, and those who divagated or are associated with the diverged party can be unfairly blamed for actions they did not commit. This is the very definition of a witch hunt, wherein a minority group is harshly prosecuted by the majority for their differences without cogent reason. Throughout history, the actions of individuals have dictated the course that society will take, and this remains true both in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible and in present day. As a whole, society wants to be unified; the same in values and deeds.
Before reading historian Marilynne K. Roach’s Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials, it must be clear that I hadn’t known much about the Salem Witch Trials besides what knowing they were in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692-93. I only recognized that there were a few unfortunate women who had been accused of being witches, sentenced to their deathbeds, and brutally burned in front of the whole town. After reading Roach’s book, I’ve found out that this thought alone was false because none of the accused were meant to be burned at all but instead the whole town was called out to watch these women being hung. It created an example for the town and explained to them the consequences of being convicted of witchcraft. What I’m now recognizing is what I did ignore: how it came to be and how it all ended, who was accused, and was giving these accusations out.
It shows that fear, strong beliefs, and greed cause both ancient and modern-day witch-hunts. Fear is one of life’s greatest motives. It drives us to a point that would not otherwise be reached. Witch-hunts are started and fueled by fear. Fear can be seen in both the individual and society.
It was one of the earliest grotesque, horrific, mistakes of American history, all due to a selfish fear of the supernatural, that will never be forgotten. Works Cited Aronson, Marc. Witch-hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Atheneum for Young Readers, 2003. Print.
9/11 is a horrific moment in history, and is well recognized for it’s spawn of mass hysteria in America. Because of this, The Crucible and 9/11 are highly similar in that both situations caused people to become so fearful and paranoid to the point where they began to treat others unfairly, and become more vulnerable/gullible to people’s selfish schemes. In the Crucible, the people of Salem wished for there to be safety in their town and in their religion. However the fear of witchcraft interfered with that, causing a mass hysteria to flood throughout the town. They began to point fingers.
In 1712, a woman was burned near London for witchcraft and several city clergymen were among the prosecutors. The religion of Salem and Boston was well fitted for developing this very theory of hateful power in “possessed” persons. The teachings that there was a personal devil, that God allowed him to tempt mankind, that there were myriads of devils under Satan’s control at all times, ever watchful to trap the innocent, that these devils were rulers over certain territory and certain types of people. These teachings naturally led to the assumption that the goblins chose certain persons as their very own. The constant reminders of the danger of straying from the strait and narrow way, and of the tortures of the afterworld led to self-consciousness, introspection, and morbidness.
Anne Sexton’s “Her Kind” (273) emphasizes on how a woman is being depicted in Boston Massachusetts during the seventeenth-century. The women in Boston during that time were an outcast due to the society stereotyping that all women were “witches”. The speaker takes in society's refusal of not accepting that these women are liberated and that they are an image of having a good effect for society. The voices of the speaker and society combat about the disagreement that the developing of the modern women are normal and not witches. In the first quatrain, the speaker brings about herself as a witch by saying, "I have gone out, a possessed witch" (1).