Examples Of Hysteria In The Crucible

1404 Words6 Pages

Injustice and hysteria are all too frequent in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, as people become convinced that false statements and accusations with insufficient evidence are truthful. The people in Salem fall victim to false preconceptions of guilt about those accused, making it almost impossible for the accused to defend themself. Now, they have to prove innocence on top of already having to defend themselves from further accusations. In The Crucible, Miller conveys the idea that people tried in court should be seen as innocent until proven guilty to prevent hysteria and preconceptions ruin a fair trial through the actions of Abigail Williams, Judge Danforth, and Reverend Hale. Abigail Williams, the main accuser in The Crucible, plays a big …show more content…

Judge Danforth is the person who bites the hardest on the idea that John Proctor and all the other innocent people are working with the Devil. Hysteria has gotten such a firm grasp on him that he goes as far as to say that “[t]he pure in heart need no lawyers''. (Miller 93). He continuously falls for weak evidence, Tredell describing it as “the same kind of ocular proof that Deputy Governor Danforth cites in act three against Hale, who is increasingly doubtful: ‘I have seen marvels in this court. I have seen people choked before my own eyes by spirits; I have seen them stuck by pins and slashed by daggers’”. (90). All of the proof Judge Danforth listed can be easily faked, like the choking, or is something that someone could do to themselves, like slashing themselves with daggers and sticking pins in themselves if they wanted to. Judge Danforth is so convinced that Abigail is telling the truth, that not even testimony from an ex-accuser stating the falsehood of the accusations would satisfy him. Mary Warren, who works at the Proctor home, was one of the girls found dancing in the woods and was one of the girls who was on Abigail’s side, was forced to testify against Abigail in court when she returned to the Proctor house one night, informing John Proctor that his wife, Elizabeth Proctor had been accused of witchcraft. Mary Warren said to Danforth that she and the other girls were faking everything and …show more content…

Reverend Hale is “[a]n educated man in the last decade of the seventeenth century”, and despite this, he “seems to have no sense… of the conflict between religion and science [and] faith and reason”. (Tredell 55). If a person like Reverend Hale can fall for the illusion put forward by the girls’ accusations, it’s understandable to see how everyone else fell for it as well. The people of Salem trust whatever Reverend Hale says, at first, as “[t]he arrival of Reverend Hale with a batch of books seems to promise the wisdom [they desire]”. (Tredell 54). Reverend Hale bought into the idea that witchcraft is afoot, and would say things like: “[n]o man may longer doubt the powers of the dark are gathered in monstrous attack upon this village” and even claims that there is “too much evidence now to deny it”. (Miller 64). The evidence he is referring to is “the ocular proof, what he believes he has seen, which drives Hale’s investigations”. (Tredell 90). All of the ocular proof he is referring to was not proof at all, and nothing more than an act by Abigail and the other girls. Though Reverend Hale does eventually come through and try to make things right, he took little details out of proportion, just like Judge Danforth did. When Elizabeth Proctor was accused of witchcraft, Reverend Hale went to question the Christian character of the Proctor home, he had some suspicions about

Open Document