Hysteria in The Crucible
Arthur Miller’s, “The Crucible”,is about the witch trials that occurred in Salem, Massachusetts in the spring of 1692. For the people in the town of Salem, it was hard to believe that their own neighbors, who they thought were good people, could be witches. The plot of the play is quite disturbing. The play starts off with these 14 girls who cry out witchcraft. The town fears witchcraft so hysteria begins to take over. Later, dozens of people are wrongly accused and no one can blame the accusers until it is too late. The result of this hysteria resulted in the hanging of many innocent men and women. It all begins when John Proctor, the protagonist, who commits adultery with the antagonist, Abigail Williams. In the play, Arthur Miller explores how hysteria works and how it corrupts the town.
Hysteria begins when Reverend Parris’ daughter, Betty, becomes ill after being “...discovered dancing like heathen in the forest,” (I, 10) . Crucible , with his niece Abigail, Tituba, and a few other girls. Tituba was Reverend Parris’ black slave that he had brought with him from Barbados. Betty’s illness seemed to be incurable and she would not wake. A few of the townspeople visited the Reverend Parris’ home to figure out what was happening. They started to develop their own ideas about what might have happened and began to assume it had something to do with witchcraft. Rumors had spread quickly amongst the town. Unable to find a cure for his daughter,Parris sends for Reverend Hale, a specialist in witchcraft, to examine Betty. Hale’s arrival sets the hysteria in motion, but later regrets his actions in attempts to save those who were accused. Abigail, to deflect blame from herself, points fingers at Tituba. “I never called him! Tituba, Tituba…” , says Abigail. (I, 42). Crucible .Tituba was somewhat forced to confess summoning spirits. If not, she would be hanged or beaten to death. “You will confess yourself or I will take you out...
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