Fear as Persuasion in the Crucible and Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God

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Fear is a strong tool to use when persuading people and trying to get what you want. Just as if a murder held a gun to someone’s head, that person would be submissive to the murderer, Jonathon Edwards and characters in The Crucible install fear into people to achieve certain goals. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God uses fear for good and to help people, while The Crucible uses it for both good and as an evil way to manipulate people. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is a sermon preached by Jonathon Edwards. He tries to scare the congregation in order to save them from going to Hell. One way that he does this is by using the metaphor of God being angry at everyone with a bow and arrow pointed directly at each person; the congregation realizes that they could die at any minute and if they aren’t saved, they will fall into a “lake of burning brimstone [that] is extended abroad under [them]” (Edwards 103,102). Edwards also compares what would keep the lost from going to Hell to a spider web trying to stop a falling rock (Edwards 102). He tries to establish fear into his audience by telling them that God holds them over Hell just like “one holds a spider, or a loathsome insect” and this God also has “wrath towards [them that] burns like fire” (Edward 103). Jonathon Edwards preached this sermon so that the congregation will feel as though they had no other option than to accept Christ as their savior that very day if they hadn’t already. This approach shown to be very effective and sparked the “Great Awakening” of this time period. Not only is fear used as a tool for persuasion in Jonathon Edwards, sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, but it is also used in The Crucible. Reverend Parris and his niece, Abigail, instate fear into people for two completely different reasons. Parris uses fear in his “Brimstone and Fire” types of sermons. He states that “there is either obedience or the church will burn like Hell is burning,” to show that the people who...
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