The Growth Of Hysteria In The Crucible By Arthur Miller

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The growth of hysteria in America exemplifies people’s tendency to abuse newly-gained power and is supported by Americans’ intolerance of unpopular ideologies. During times of hysteria, one often show his or her true natures. Therefore, human nature can be most easily observed in such times. During times of hysteria, people exploited fear among the public to gain more power, which they abused. In Act II of The Crucible, Elizabeth Proctor told her husband that “Abigail [Williams] brings the other girls into the court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel” (Miller 50). Prior to the Salem Witch Trials, Abigail and her cohorts had very little influence in the society due to their being young women. However, due to their…show more content…
In The Crucible, Reverend Hale tells Proctor that “a rumor…troubles me. It’s said you hold no belief that there may even be witches in the world” (Miller 66). The reason Hale was troubled was that not believing in witches means having a lack of faith. In Puritanical times, one not being a devout Christian means that he or she is an associate of the Devil. John Proctor’s telling the court that the witch trials have no basis on solid evidence was dangerous because challenging the court resulted in prosecution. As he immediately condemned all arguments against the trial as heresy without considering their truth, Deputy Governor Danforth did not realize his mistakes in sentencing more than a hundred people for crimes they did not commit, and continued to persecute more innocent people, which contributed to the further spread of hysteria. Similarly, after writing The Crucible, Arthur Miller was “cited for contempt of Congress, and received a fine and prison sentence” (Bigsby xxiii). Miller was punished simply for writing a play that alludes to McCarthyism, even though he was not involved in any Communist activity. To people at the time, any and all criticism of McCarthyism is considered a sign that the critic was a communist. Such a belief made many afraid to speak against McCarthy’s actions, which allowed McCarthyism to grow due to a lack of opposition. Edward R. Murrow criticized such a belief in Good
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