English 11 Block 2
3 October 2012
Fear Makes People Crazy
Fear can cause people to overreact and lose all rational thinking. The evidence for this statement is found in the Salem witch trials and McCarthyism. The 1692, Abigail Williams and a group of girls turned the town of Salem upside down in a fear driven witch hunt. The girls accused innocent people of being witches in order to avoid getting in trouble for dancing in the woods. Fear of being accused of witchery caused the town’s people to not stand up to the madness. It got so crazy to the point where people were being hanged. Elizabeth Proctor said this. “The Deputy Governor promises hangin’ if they’ll not confess, John. The towns gone wild, I think.”(Miller 162).
In the 1950’s Joseph McCarthy, like Abigail Williams became a witch hunter, He accused people of being communist. He spurred an era of fear called the Red Scare. People were so afraid of communism they believed that their friends and neighbors were communist beyond all reason. They accused innocent people of being communists and they were sent to jail and deported. “A number of accused Communists were sent to Prison or deported and one author estimates that from 10,000 to 12,000 people were ‘blacklisted’ and lost their jobs. Some committed suicide as a result” (Price 16). The Salem witch trials and McCarthyism prove that the best weapon against man is his own fear.
Multiple factors contributed to the increasing hysteria and accusations of witchcraft in Salem as well as in the 1950’s Red Scare. For example some people speculated that the girls were actually possessed though unlikely it could be possible. Another possibility is a fungus called ergot that has LSD like affects could have been in the girls’ bread. The most likely reason for their behavior what that they were playacting. (Davis 54-44). The girls knew how to act based on their learning’s of the devil in church so they played a convincing part. Just...
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