Hysteria, paranoia, and delusion was what drove the Salem Witch trials in 1692. Many people were executed by decision of the court because it believed in absurd false allegations. Justice in the court was perverted by fear and delusion (Johnson 9). In the 1940s and 1950s, many people in the United States were living in fear of communism; similar to those who feared “witches” in Salem. In the 1953, Arthur Miller came out with a play: The Crucible based on the Salem Witch Trials tackling McCarthyism; accusing others of being communists trying to overthrow democracy in the United States (9-10). Arthur Miller was a playwright and a political activist speaking up addressing societal issues. One of his most well-known works being The Crucible, addressed McCarthyism and its absurd purpose. Miller, creator of The Crucible was blacklisted, and accused of being a communist along with many other entertainers (“Arthur Miller”). Through all this ignorance and delusional fear, Arthur Miller was inspired to explore the similarities and parallels of the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.
In January 1953, the American playwright Arthur Miller debuted his new play “The Crucible” on Broadway in New York City. It tells the story of the speculative, baseless hysteria and witch trials that took place during the seventeenth century in the village of Salem, Massachusetts and the horrific calamity that ensued. It examines the haunting reality of a society based on rigid, religious customs, superstitious norms and how these can be used as a weapon and prey on people’s irrational fears.
Mass hysteria has plagued society for centuries, whether through religious, cultural or medical reasoning. Even society today goes through phases of fear of the unknown. Throughout history, mass hysteria has taken root at specific points in civilization and is usually caused by a tragedy or some form of cultural acceptance. Usually this fear is mandated by the leader of a particular group, and the majority of the group volunteers to isolate the minorities of the group. This is used in order to make themselves believe that they have solved the issue, while in reality all they’ve done is found a scapegoat. Today, the form of mass hysteria that is most prevalent takes form in our country’s fear of Islamics. This fear Americans have created stems
During the late 17th century a total of 200 people were accused of participating in witchcraft, while 19 people lost their lives to the mass hysteria. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, a group of girls start a huge uproar in Salem, Massachusetts when they start screeching about Salemites being associated with the Devil. Throughout the play write, it shows the consequences of mass hysteria and how it puts people's lives in danger. Abigail Williams causes a wave of mass hysteria and because of her trickery, innocent people have died by her and the other girl’s actions, for this Abigail is the most unforgivable character in The Crucible.
Fear that spread among a group of people in Salem during the Salem Witch Trials, that event in history is a prime example of Mass Hysteria. In Salem the reason why so many women were killed was because of Mass Hysteria. It caused many people, in Salem during this event to think fast, rash and jump to conclusions. “The Crucible”, a short play dedicated to these events in Salem shows us how hysteria was such a leading cause of why the Witch Trials had even occurred. Reverend Hale, Abigail Williams and Judge Danforth. These three characters can be the most to blame for the cause of the spread and start of hysteria in Salem during the Witch Trials. The cause of the hysteria was caused by Reverend Hale, Abigail Williams and Judge Danforth.
Fear has effected much of history. Many of these events in history are very similar. One of the biggest examples in history would be The Holocaust. An example would be the Salem witch trails which were depicted in the book The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The Crucible and The Holocaust are related because one person was to blame for the mass hysteria, there was one person in power, fear was used to control the people and many people were wrongly punished.
When people are placed under an intense feeling of fear, they begin to commit actions they never thought they were capable over. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, a young group of girls commit witchcraft which eventually leads to the arrest of over 100 women. This is similar to a time in the 1950s when Joseph McCarthy accuses government officials of communism and that ultimately leads to hundreds of citizens losing their jobs. The Crucible reveals the similarities between The Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s and McCarthyism of the 1950s because it demonstrates how a society can be tremendously impacted by the feeling the fear.
In 1692, a fear of witchcraft led to the accusation of over 200 townspeople. Of those 200, 20 hanged. Throughout the Crucible, it explains the ridiculous trials the people went through to try to prove their innocence. This is parallel to the Red Scare because people went to great lengths to prove their innocence of McCarthyism. In the Crucible, there is multiple occasions where the events that happen are parallel to McCarthyism because the Crucible is an allegory to McCarthyism.
Arthur Miller's The Crucible takes place in Salem, Massachusetts; a town that is soon to be plagued with dark times. When accusations are made that girls of the town are performing witchcraft, everyone is thrown into mass hysteria. With total chaos, some of the members see this as an opportunity to seize control of the situation. These individuals establish and maintain this power through spreading terror and fear over the majority. This is done by threatening other characters, using their unjust credibility and abusing authoritative positions.
Today, in the world there are so many different types of societies that unite for numerous reasons. They can either be big or small, but no matter what, a society is a society that stays united. However, one of the many things that can destroy millions of a united group in a matter of seconds is the compelling emotion also known as, fear. People who are power hungry individuals, see fear as an easy and beneficial tactic to gain power. In both the Crucible by Arthur Miller and the Red Scare, it is clearly evident that fear does not unite but rather splits both of these societies. Considering that witchcraft and communism were unsuitable practices during these times, it caused people to go insane because of the growing hysteria and accusations
Nearly the whole country watched in horror on the morning of September 11, 2001. As the planes crashed and the towers burned, many thought it simply wasn’t true. They believed that it was impossible that someone could hate America that much. It was true, and it left lasting effects on Americans everywhere. Al-Qaeda had carried out a plan so horrific that it killed nearly three thousand people.
Fear can occur when a person has a feeling of threat or danger and sometimes harm or anxiety for oneself or another. Fear can often influence a person to take extreme measures and act irrationally. For instance there are a number of parallels between the treatment of of the accused during the Salem Witch Trials and the treatment of Muslims after 9/11 ; In both cases, people were being belittled and downgrading, and society was in a state of grief and shock and it all resulted in discrimination of the accused.
The theme of hysteria is evident throughout Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and in everyday life and society. Driven by self-preservation, hysteria influences many characters’ actions and leads to the devastating witch trials in Salem.
Fear is a powerful emotion which controls human beings. Throughout history fear has depicted the outcome of society because few people live with no fear. During horrific events including the Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism and the ongoing battle against terrorism fear was a response to uncertainty. The Salem Witch Trials were the unfair hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft, these trials were expressed in the Crucible written by Arthur Miller. McCarthyism was when thousands of Americans were accused of being communists, the event was portrayed in the movie Guilty By Suspicion. Finally, terrorism is a constant threat which has many people mortified. Fear dictated all of these events and worsened the situations dramatically.
Hysteria is an exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, especially among a group of people. In Arthur Miller's, The Crucible, hysteria plays an important role of tearing apart the community of Salem by creating an environment where people act on their grudges. As a result of these grudges the whole community is turning on each other and blaming people they have known for years on the one thing they believe is true. Members of the community deal with this hysteria in different ways, and some more harsh than others.