Hysterical Disbelief

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Hysterical Disbelief
There have been many events in history in which hysteria has led to an unfortunate series of accusations, as well as unnecessary amounts of fear. Arthur Miller recalls one of these events, known as the Salem Witch Trials, in his play, The Crucible. He uses this script as a tool to expose the nonsense of McCarthyism spreading throughout the United States in the 1950’s; which he finds highly relatable to the tragedy of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. False accusations, unbelievable lies, and fear stricken followers lead to mass hysteria; which transformed a once peaceful place into a living hell of unbearable pain, sorrow, and confusion.

When the joys of exaggerations in tall tales are put to practice, growing madness will quickly spread. After Betty falls ill, rumors sweep through the town considering witchcraft to be the cause of her sickness. “Uncle, the rumor of witchcraft is all about; I think you’d best go down and deny it yourself. The parlor’s packed with people, sir” (Act 1 Page 67). After people begin to hear of these rumors, mass amounts of villagers begin to expect explanations and answers. This brings on the beginning of unrealistic accusations. Tituba is quickly blamed for Betty’s sickness, assuming that she has casted her spirit out on her under the Devil’s command. “You have sent your spirit out upon this child have you not? Are you gathering souls for the Devil?” (Act 1 Page 84). Mr. Hale leaves no room for Tituba to deny anything and is left with no other option but to confess a lie. Without giving the option to deny, Tituba is later pushed to either admit to bewitching Betty or pay the price. When threatened to confess or be condemned, anyone who loves life will tell a false confession; allowing the hysteria to grow and suspicions to increase. These suspicions will later lead to unrealistic theories which convict the innocent; even though their involvement is absent. After searching through the Proctor residence, a small...
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