Decentralized Decision Making In The Crucible By Arthur Miller

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Humans are taught that often following the group is safer but this herd mentality may be our greatest mistake. In the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller many fall victim to the overwhelming mass hysteria that occurs. The play takes place during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. Several young girls claim to be burdened by witchcraft, starting with Reverend Parris's daughter Betty. The afflicted girls accuse innocent people in the town of witchcraft, choosing victims who they or their families dislike causing an uproar throughout the town. In the twenty first century social media can create this same kind of collective obsessional behavior. Jessica Bennett discusses how a small accusation with little to no proof can cause a sort of group hysteria …show more content…

Once an allegation is made toward someone even with no evidence, a sort of mob mentality will cause the majority to continue to pursue punishment for the accused, this is seen throughout The Crucible. The play is based around the Salem Witch trials, one of history’s most famous examples of decentralized decision making. During this time evidence solely relied on word of mouth which provided anyone the ability to accuse another of committing a crime, and the accused were completely unable to prove otherwise which is the entire plot basis of The Crucible. In act one of the play the main character Abigail Williams begins to accuse community members of practicing witchcraft, this sends the other initially accused girls into a mass hysteria causing them to blame others as a way to keep the eyes off of them. Elizabeth Proctor sees through this madness and describes the …show more content…

In her article titled The Flip Side Of Internet Fame, Jessica Bennett focuses on how social media is a place that’s full of hysteria. Bennett says, “Online there are few checks and hardly any monitoring. Moreover, studies show that the anonymity of the net encourages people to say things they normally wouldn’t.” In an attempt to fit in, many take the side of the most common posted opinion even if extremely vulgar or offensive, which can send a large group of people in the same state of fury. These incidents on the internet can have a more hysteric effect, entire cities, states, and countries have felt endangered over a post on a website. Bennett states that posts are “watched by millions,” and continues with, “sites can make or break a person, in a matter of seconds.” Deindividuation – a person goes along with the crowd and feels less responsible or a loss of self-awareness in groups - is seen everyday on the internet and in historical times like the Salem Witch

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