Social Issues In The Crucible

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“The Salem tragedy, which is about to being in these pages, developed from a paradox. It is a paradox in whose grip we still live, and there is no prospect yet that we will discover its resolution.” -Arthur Miller (Act I)
In the early 1690’s of Salem, Massachusetts, a disorganized, panic-driven investigation was undergone within, and for, the people of Salem, intended to weed out what was believed to be devil’s work, and resulting in nearly 200 citizens accused of partaking in witchery and the unlawful hangings of 20. In the novel, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, the acts of hysteria and lying to protect oneself are portrayed in Acts II and III of the novel to convey social issues that negatively affect the stability of a society.
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“Don’t touch me- don’t touch me! ...You’re the Devil’s man!” (III.III) This quote is pulled from the scene in which Proctor forces Mary to the court to reveal the truth- that there is no witchcraft in Salem- and when Abigail and her squad blame Mary for imaginary attacks, she reverts to the lie to save her life. It shows that false witness for selfish reasons is destroying social structure because a false confession is what the court encourages, which means the false confessions will persist. Selfish lying can also be found in Abigail’s claim of attacks by Mary’s spirit in court, prior to Mary’s fake confession. “Mary, please don’t hurt me!” (III.III) This reflects the cycle of lying and self-regard which not only prompted Mary to contribute to it, but also empowered this cycle to continue to strike the people of Salem. Lying for selfish motive really fucks with social order.
Furthermore, social issues like uninformed hysteria and false witness for selfish reasons in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible largely affect the wellbeing of a society like Salem’s. Miller’s purpose for composing the play- to expose how these issues can destroy a civilization- holds importance when examining other instances such as the Salem witch trials, like the Red Scare of the 60’s, or islamophobia today. With this exposure, comes the possibility that this knowledge be used to uncover the resolution to such social errors, in hopes to prevent any instance like this one from occurring in the

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