The Crucible: Theme Of Hysteria In Everyday Life And Society

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The Crucible Essay
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. For instance, many characters in The Crucible are driven to execute drastic actions to sustain their reputation and protect themselves. Abigail is extremely concerned with her well-being and reputation. In Act One, Reverend Parris confronts Abigail about dancing in the forest, and, instead of confessing, she begins denouncing others. This illustrates how she is willing to allow others to be harmed because of her extreme fear. One example of this is when Abigail states, “Not I sir—Tituba and Ruth” (Miller 15). The character of the residents of Salem is not exceptional.
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One example of this is the hysteria of McCarthyism in the 1950s. Many people are filled with fear of the Communists and accuse many innocent people. The accused must then say who else they know are involved, and this allows the hysteria to spread and leads to chaos. Another example of this in everyday life is terrorism. Many people in today’s society allow the extreme fear of a terrorist attack to control their actions and perceptions. People assume that because someone is Islam or Muslim that they must be a terrorist, and they become weary of them to protect themselves. These situations demonstrate how permitting self-preservation to lead to hysteria causes destruction and hurt throughout the community. If not fixed, these situations will lead the destruction of the world.
The theme of hysteria and self-preservation is evident throughout The Crucible and in real life. Miller conveys his point that allowing selfishness and fear to consume society can be devastating and harmful to life through his use of the witch trials and the mass hysteria that occurs during

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