Collective Fear and the Crucible

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Lying, being a hypocrite, betraying people, and judging others are all things that fear can make people do. In Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, witch hunts took place. According to The Crucible, during this time a lot of bizarre things were occurring. Knowing that during this time many Salem people were paranoid and greedy is important to know to help understand why these events were occurring. The people in Salem were Puritans who believed everything happened as either a result of God’s happiness or His wrath. Even their governing body, which was a theocracy, was based on religion. Along with their strong faith in God, the people of Salem believed in harsh punishments, hard work, and they all had their own retributions and long-held hatreds among other members of their community. During the Salem witch hunt trials, many people were afraid of being accused due those long-held hatreds. Collective fear affecting individuals and groups of people is the main reason why the Salem witch trials got started; it’s why the teenage girls acted out and accused people, and it’s why people were going against their beliefs and lying.

To begin, the Salem witch hunt got started mainly because of the fear of punishment. A group of teenage girls were caught dancing naked in the woods. In Salem, being in the woods, showing skin, and dancing were all strictly prohibited behaviors. Also that same night the girls were performing spells with the help from a slave named Tituba. One of the girls, Betty, was the daughter of Reverend Parris. After he discovered them in the woods, she and one other girl became ill. The rumors of witch craft were circulating around the town, a witchcraft expert even came in. He repeatedly asked Abigail if witch craft was involved. She was afraid of the witch craft being blamed upon her so she put the blame on someone else. Mr. Hale, the witchcraft expert, asked Abigail if she sold herself to the devil. She replied, “I never sold myself! I’m a good girl! I’m...
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