Hysteria Changes People

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Hysteria is a mental disorder marked by excitability, anxiety, or imaginary disorders. It can play an important role in people's lives. Hysteria supplants logic and enables people to believe that their neighbors, whom they have always considered highly respectable, do things they would never expect them of doing. In "The Crucible", hysteria causes people to believe their friends are committing deplorable acts. The townsfolk accept and become active in the hysterical climate not only out of genuine religious piety but also because it gives them a chance to express repressed sentiments and to seek reparations from grudges. Hysteria suspends the rules of daily life and allows the acting out of every dark desire and hateful urge under the charade of righteousness. In "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller, the hysteria due to the paranoia of witchcraft causes Abigail to lie in order to save herself, Danforth to ruin the community, and Proctor to be convicted of witchery. The hysteria surrounding the witchtrials causes Abigail to lie in order to save herself. She is affected by the hysteria because she does not want to exposed as a liar. She forgets about the people that are close to her in order to protect her reputation and identity. Abigail abandons Tituba, and accuses her of "sending her spirit on me in church; she makes me laugh at prayer" (41). Abigail also says Tituba "comes to me every night to go and drink blood (41). Abigail reacts like this only to save her from being suspected of witchery. Another way Abigail tries to save herself is when she tries to accuse Mary of practicing witchcraft. She is trying to save herself from being exposed Puyot - 2

as a fraud. Mary was going to testify that Abigail and the girls were frauds, but Abigail says that Mary has descended a "cold wind" (108) upon the courtroom. She then starts to mimic Mary's every words and forces the other girls to do the same. Mary then breaks down and accuses Proctor of being a...
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