Examples Of Hysteria In The Crucible

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During the late 1600’s, numerous accusations of witchcraft were spreading throughout the New England colonies, primarily focusing in Salem Village, Massachusetts. Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”, paints a very descriptive image of the several different facets of guile and deception that were instituted in “The Crucible.” In contrast, Miller focuses on one utmost theme, hysteria. Clinical mass hysteria describes the spread of a psychologically-manifested illness. Meaning, one or two people show signs of illness that they blame on things such as genies, ghosts, or in this case, witches and suddenly others begin to show the same symptoms. Mass hysteria typically occurs in high-stress situations among people in confined areas, such as the small colonial village in Massachusetts. The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 were a catastrophic overreaction to mass psychogenic illness. It all began when two young girls began …show more content…

It was first witnessed at the very beginning of act one, when Abigail claims the rumor of witchcraft is spreading around the village. Ultimately referring to her cousin Betty, who at the time was bed-bound in coma conditions. The rumors of witchcraft had spread quickly throughout Salem, and the small close-knit community began to grow fearful. They had traveled not only to their source in fear of the Devil, but also their spiritual advisor, reverend Parris. Adding fuel to the fire, the residents of the town heard about the ongoing rumor, and added onto it with outlandish embellishments as evidenced by the following exchange. The combination of the girls dancing in the woods, which is against the Puritan religion, and the endless amounts of conspiracies pioneered a gossip that filled the town. The town’s ultimate verdict was that the devil had turned the girls into witches, igniting a panic that consumed the villagers until twenty people were tried and

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