Hysteria in the Crucible

Topics: Hysteria, The Crucible, Arthur Miller Pages: 2 (787 words) Published: December 16, 2012
Noname Pete
5th Period
Nov. 27th, 2012
The Role of Hysteria in Society

To begin with, let us define hysteria. According to the Google Dictionary, it is an “exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, especially among a group of people. Symptoms may include selective amnesia, shallow volatile emotions, and over dramatic or attention-seeking behavior.” Ironically, the “disease” was formerly thought to affect only those without Y chromosomes. In a single individual, it is usually treatable and or controllable. However, when infecting a group, particularly one of notable size, the effects are multiplied exponentially, as is shown again and again throughout the course of history. It seems to act like a virus, taking up residence in its host and destroying all logic along with rational thought. Hysteria is not limited to the human race, either. Almost all sentient beings are capable of displaying it just as easily as we are. Why is it that creatures, especially humans with all of their lofty intelligence, can forsake reason so effortlessly? Are we really as different from the rest of Earth's creatures as we think? Yes, we are. However, fear is a powerful motivator that can make a person do things one would not normally do. Take the McMartin Pre-school Case, for example. The sexual abuse of children and alleged Satan worshiping led to the longest and most expensive criminal trial in the history of the United States. Humans are quick to sense when something is wring, and quicker still to lay blame on whatever they believe the cause to be, except for when that cause may be themselves. We are notorious for finding scapegoats to relieve the stress and tension found in society, but slow to take blame on ourselves. Look at the Red Scare, for instance. After WWII, our country was nearly turned upside down for fear of alleged communist influence. People were being accused of beinf communist left and right. Even worse, one often had to prove that they were not...
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