The Crucible: Hysteria and Injustice

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The Crucible: Hysteria and Injustice

Thesis Statement:

The purpose is to educate and display to the reader the hysteria and injustice that can come from a group of people that thinks it's doing the "right" thing for society in relation to The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

I. Introduction:

The play is based on the real life witch hunts that occurred in the late 1600's in Salem, Massachusetts. It shows the people's fear of what they felt was the Devil's work and shows how a small group of powerful people wrongly accused and killed many people out of this fear and ignorance. Also important to the play is how Arthur Miller depicts how one selfish, evil person like Abigail Williams can bring others down and make others follow her to commit evil acts. These evil acts affect even the most honest people in the town like John and Elizabeth Proctor, and Rebecca Nurse who cannot fight the accusations made against them by those following Abigail. Those following Abigail are considered to be holy men that are full of honesty and justice, but the play shows that even those who are thought to be respectable and right, like people of government or community leaders can bring death to innocent people if they are driven by something wrong.

II. Plot:

The plot begins with the inciting incident where Rev. Parris finds his niece Abigail Williams and his daughter Betty along with his slave Tituba doing some dance in the forest. Right when he finds them, Betty becomes sick and won't talk or open her eyes, about this time other people's daughters become sick too. Rumors spread that witch craft is involved in Betty's illness and the development of the plot begins. Important to the major development of the plot is the fact that in the forest, Abigail and the others were just playing like witches. But they were following Abigail because she wanted to try to put a curse on a lady named Elizabeth Proctor. Abigail was in love with Mrs. Proctor's husband, John Proctor, and she wanted to some how get rid of Elizabeth. The problem was that as the rumors spread about the devil Abigail went along with it and blamed the slave woman Tituba for forcing her to join the devil. The rising action begins when Tituba out of fear of death starts naming people that she says were with the devil when the devil came to her. This is all a lie though because once Abigail blamed Tituba she did not want to turn the story around and admit that she was lying in the first place because one, she was afraid of the consequences of such a strong lie, and two, because she saw it as an opportunity to get rid of Elizabeth Proctor.

The people of the town made everything worse when they tried hard to find out who was teaming up with the devil. It was easier for them to blame the devil for their problems of society than fix the problems of their own strict way of life. So the girls involved with Abigail, like Mercy Lewis and Mary Warren named many people of the town as witches. These people were put and jail and would be hanged if they did not confess to the crime of devil worship or witch craft. Another part of the developing plot is that John Proctor knows Abigail and her friends are lying, but he is afraid to say any thing because eight months before he had and affair with Abigail and did not want to be seen by the town as a lecher, which means wife cheater. So, Mr. Proctor has to fight with himself to come out and tell the truth or his wife might die because of Abigail saying she was a witch.

The climax of the play is in the court room when John Proctor and Mary Warren finally say that Abigail is lying and nobody was doing witch craft. But Abigail is a good actor and liar and actually turns it around on Mr. Proctor and says he tries to get every one to worship the devil. The court finds him guilty of devil worship and wants to hang him if he does not confess. The falling action of the play comes when Rev. Parris comes to court three months...
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