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Hysteria in the Crucible


Hysteria in the Crucible

Thesis Statement: Analysis of the source, procedure and result of hysteria dispersing in the Crucible by Arthur Miller

Table Of Contents

  • Intro: Historical background of the play
  • Beginning of hysteria in the Crucible
  • Examples of hysteria involving Tituba
  • Characters utilizing individuals’s bias and worry for their own benefit
  • Utilizing prejudice to lower the town authorities
  • Conclusion: Analysis of power of hysteria in the Crucible compared to real life
  • Work Pointed out

Hysteria in The Crucible Arthur Miller’s, “The Crucible”, has to do with the witch trials that occurred in Salem, Massachusetts in the spring of 1692. For individuals in the town of Salem, it was hard to believe that their own neighbors, who they thought were good individuals, might be witches. The plot of the play is quite disturbing. The play starts with these 14 women who weep out witchcraft. The town fears witchcraft so hysteria starts to take control of. Later, lots of people are wrongly implicated and nobody can blame the accusers up until it is far too late.

Beginning of hysteria in the Crucible

The outcome of this hysteria resulted in the hanging of many innocent males and females. It all begins when John Proctor, the lead character, who dedicates adultery with the villain, Abigail Williams. In the play, Arthur Miller checks out how hysteria works and how it damages the town. Hysteria starts when Reverend Parris’ daughter, Betty, ends up being ill after being “… discovered dancing like heathen in the forest,” (I, 10). Crucible, with his niece Abigail, Tituba, and a couple of other ladies. Tituba was Reverend Parris’ black slave that he had brought with him from Barbados.

Examples of hysteria involving Tituba

Betty’s disease appeared to be incurable and she would not wake. A few of the townspeople went to the Reverend Parris’ home to determine what was taking place. They began to establish their own concepts about what might have taken place and began to presume it had something to do with witchcraft. Rumors had actually spread out quickly among the town. Unable to discover a treatment for his child, Parris sends out for Reverend Hale, a professional in witchcraft, to examine Betty. Hale’s arrival sets the hysteria in motion, but later regrets his actions in efforts to conserve those who were implicated.

Abigail, to deflect blame from herself, points fingers at Tituba. “I never ever called him! Tituba, Tituba …”, states Abigail. (I, 42). Crucible. Tituba was somewhat required to confess summoning spirits. If not, she would be hanged or beaten to death. “You will admit yourself or I will take you out and whip you to your death Tituba! “, states Parris. “This female must be hanged! She should be taken and hanged! “, says Putnam. (I,44). Crucible. Tituba then confesses to save her life. When she confesses names come spewing out such as Sarah Good and Goody Osburn.

Characters utilizing individuals’s bias and fear for their own benefit

Later in the play when Marry Warren is required by John Proctor to inform the truth about her and the other women’ pretenses. Abigail and the girls begin yelling that they can see a yellow bird and is Mary Warren sending her spirits on them. “Why do you come yellow bird? “, asks Abigail. (III,114) Crucible. Mary could not withstand Abigail so she chose to get back at her side. One of the twisted things about hysteria is how individuals have the ability to use it in their benefit to get what they desire.

These people are able to act on hatred and their darkest desires. The 14 ladies in the play utilized the town’s fear to get what they want. For instance, when Abigail sobbed out witch and implicated John Proctor’s better half, Elizabeth, of witchcraft to get to her former love John. Elizabeth is then sent to prison. Back then, children were not appreciated nor offered any attention. For instance “… kids were anything however appreciative for being allowed to stroll straight, eyes a little lowered, arms at the sides, and mouths shut until bidden to speak.” (I,4). Crucible.

Utilizing prejudice to bring down the town authorities

The women utilize the worry to control the entire town and they get all the infamy they want. The women weren’t the only ones that prospered on the hysteria. Thomas Putnam, a rich guy in the village, wants revenge on Francis Nurse so he implicates Rebecca, Francis’ better half, of the supernatural murders of Ann Putnam’s children. Thomas and Francis had a bad relationship together primarily arguing over land borders and how Francis prevented Putnam’s brother-in-law from being chosen to the office of minister. Since then, he has always kept a grudge versus Francis.

Reverend Parris who constantly felt as if he was being persecuted or questioned on his authority anywhere he went, implicates John Proctor of being a witch when he did not participate in church on Sabbath days. “Twenty-six time in seventeen month, sir. I should call that rare. Will you inform me why you are so absent? “, asks Hale. (II,64) Crucible. This obviously makes John look bad and guilty. Hysteria can take place to anybody at anytime and anyplace. The Crucible showed how even the greatest, respected authorities could be targeted.

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  • The Crucible John Proctor Prices Quote

Parris seemed to care more about what the village thought of him than his daughter and how it might affect his credibility. Parris explains to Abigail, “However if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I need to understand it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it.” (I,25) Crucible. Rebecca Nurse who was implicated of the murders of Goody Putnam’s infants, was well respected in the town. John Proctor in the start of the play cared more about his credibility and name than his own stability and what he thought of himself.


But in the final act, he still declines to confess to witchcraft and to accuse others. This time he does it not for what the town might consider him however what he thought about himself. John Proctor, who is known as the terrible hero in the play does everything he might to best his wrongs. John’s mistake dedicating infidelity with Abigail spiraled the entire town into hysteria and accusation. He attempts to repent from any longer sins like confessing his sins in public to conserve his other half. John finds himself not being able to implicate others because he understands he’s the one that triggered all the mayhem and all he desires is redemption. I speak my own sin; I can not evaluate another. “, Proctor states. (IV,141) Crucible. No doubt, hysteria tore the community apart. Credibilities and relationships were completely severed. Without this hysteria a teenage woman had no power till she cried out witchcraft, a man was not able to act on his revenge up until accusing another person. Worry caused the townsfolk to think the crazy accusations that somebody could in fact be a witch. All they were hearing was lie after lie. It’s sad how they actually could think them. Makes you reconsider when you hear of a rumor does not it?

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