Theodore Roosevelt once said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” What is fear? Fear can be a noun or a verb. In the noun form, it is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. In the verb form, it is to be afraid of someone or something that is dangerous, painful, or threatening. If one person looks into fear, then that person becomes feared. But imagine a whole society or community looking into fear. The fear not only gets larger as it spreads, but it also gets more fearful than it already is. The power of fear can be displayed in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and in Ronald Oakley’s “The Great Fear”. As fear moves on from one mind to the next, it leaves the victim panicked and paranoid about everything that revolves around him or her. This “symptom” is known as hysteria. In The Crucible, the hysteria greatly affected the people of Salem. As well as “The Great Fear”, the whole world was in chaos and turmoil due to mass hysteria. The consequences that followed were innocent people became accused and were persecuted (affected victims), self control and limits to go out of hand (people behaved hysterically), unjustified trials and judgments or accusations to be declared (pressures), and superiors to become defied (misuse of power).
One of the results that hysteria developed in both The Crucible and “The Great Fear” was that innocent people became victims and had to suffer greatly. The most sympathetic victim in The Crucible is John Proctor. John Proctor was not an entirely innocent man because of his lechery with Abigail Williams. His credibility was extremely low and not trustworthy and therefore, he dealt with many hardships and was hesitant for a period of time to reveal the truth. But when he does go to court with Mary Warren, hoping that he would end all the madness, she betrays him and accuses him of being the “Devil’s man”. In the end, he wasn’t able to save Salem and was...
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