Essay On The Crucible: How Fear And Ignorance Lead To Chaos

1295 words - 5 pages

Are You Afraid of the Dark? "Shh! What was that?!" "I didn't hear anything...wait...what is that!?" You're camping out with your friends in your backyard, one muggy summer night. You were confident and excited as your evening began. Suddenly, when your friend begins to hear noises, you think you hear them too. It's dark outside your tent, and you cannot see anything around you. You are ignorant to your surroundings. Since you are unsure what could be lurking in the dark, you begin to believe that anything could be out there. You've heard the campfire stories. Could they be true? Is it the boogie-man, a werewolf, or the villain from the latest slasher movie? From your ignorance, fear is born. The next thing you know, you and your friend are sprinting through the crisp grass, into the safety of your kitchen, and the prior plans of camping out are thwarted. If you had only known there was just a cricket outside your tent, or understood the sounds that fill the night, your problems would have floated away in the misty night air. It is human nature to fear what one does not understand. When people do not understand something, they look to superstition to help them understand it. To explain the creation of the world, or other natural phenomena, early civilizations created myths. Though these tales were far fetched, it gave the ancient peoples comfort to have an explanation for the world around them. Other times, things get out of hand and man surrenders to fear, which can result in disastrous effects. In 1692, when problems arose in Salem, Massachusetts, the Puritan colony didn't understand them, and couldn't fathom the cause for their troubles. Unfortunately, as recounted in Arthur Miller's The Crucible,The Puritans succumbed to fear and ignorance, and resorted to superstition, blaming their problems on witchcraft. Due to the miracles of modern medicine, people of today understand the nature of germs and viruses. However, in the past, ailments were viewed as a punishment for someone's previous actions, or as a curse. When Reverend Parris's daughter Betty falls ill, the doctors cannot identify the sickness. Out of ignorance, he assumes it is a product the supernatural. Susanna tells Parris, "he have been searchin' his books since he left you, sir. But he bid me to tell you, that you might look to unnatural things for the cause of it" (Miller 9). Mrs. Putman adds, "For how else is she [Ruth] struck dumb now except some power of darkness would stop her mouth?" (Miller 16). Since the Puritans have very limited medical or psychological knowledge, Mrs. Putnam believes that the only possible cause is the supernatural. Her ignorance sways her to reach this conclusion. Mrs. Putnam also does not understand why she has have given birth to seven children, all but one dying shortly after birth, while Rebecca Nurse has many children and grandchildren. In her bitterness, she questions Rebecca, "[do] You think it God's work that you should...

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