This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Hysteria In The Crucible By Arthur Miller And In The Red Scare

1670 words - 7 pages

What is hysteria? By definition, hysteria is a state of intense agitation, anxiety, or excitement, especially as manifested by large groups or segments of society. In a broader sense however, hysteria is a killer, the delitescent devil. Hysteria was the main cause of nineteen deaths in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Years later, hysteria was responsible for countless ruined reputations and lives during the era of Senetor Joe McCarthy. Hysteria does not just appear out of nowhere though. There are driving forces such as revenge and abuse of power that bring about the irrational fear that can take over society. These are the issues expressed in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.      
The Crucible is paralleled directly to the Salem Witch Trials and indirectly to the McCarthy hearings of the 1950’s. The story of The Crucible takes place against the background of the Salem Witch, trials but the themes lie much deeper. The main themes expressed in The Crucible relate to the events that occurred at both the Salem Witch Trials and during the McCarthy era. At the Salem Witch Trials, one hundred fifty people were accused of practicing witchcraft and nineteen of those were convicted and executed. The evidence against these people was hardly substantial. At the McCarthy hearings, thousands of people were “blacklisted.” Anyone who tried to oppose the accusations was also viewed as a Communist. No one was convicted due to the more advanced legal system; still, that did not erase the fear that was instilled by the allegations.
In 1692, the small town of Salem, Massachusetts was in a state of unrest. The farming families in the western part wanted to split from the town and form Salem Village. These separatists felt that Salem’s increasing economy was creating individualism and taking away from the communal nature of Puritanism. The family leading these separatists was the Putnam family. They started a congregation under Reverend Samuel Parris, which only increased division between the two blocs.
The children of Salem did not have many forms of entertainment, especially during the winter. There were no movies or radios, and the adults were always busy with work. Many took to reading as a form of entertainment. The young people of the town became interested in books about fortune telling and prophecies. Some formed a circle led by Tituba, slave of Reverend Parris. Among those in the circle were Betty Parris, the Reverend’s daughter, and Abigail Williams, his niece. When Betty and Abigail began acting strangely, and a physician could not determine the cause, he blamed it on witchcraft, thus beginning months of ludicrous accusations and executions.
Many in the Salem society readily accepted the witchcraft accusations because witchcraft was highly feared and frowned upon in the Puritan code. It was defined as entering into a pact with the devil in exchange for certain powers to do evil. Witchcraft was a grave sin because it denied...

Find Another Essay On Hysteria in The Crucible by Arthur Miller and in the Red Scare

Themes in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

921 words - 4 pages In every literary work, there are themes. A theme is a broad idea, moral or message of a book or story. One individual may construe the themes of a book or story differently than another, but that is the pure beauty of themes. One great literary work is The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller. Succinctly, the play is about the Salem witch trials that took place in Massachusetts in 1692. Throughout the story, the townspeople indict their

"The Crucible" by Arthur Miller and also discusses the four themes, hypocrisy, authority, guilt, and hysteria

1144 words - 5 pages Arthur Miller set his play "The Crucible" in the town of Salem, Massachusetts, in the year 1692. The story revolves around a farmer John Proctor and his community, devastated by allegations of witchcraft. The play begins with a group of young girls being discovered to have been dancing in the forest. Fearing the consequences of what they did, the girls begin to lie about their actions. When one of the girls falls ill, accusation of witchery

Personal and Social Struggles in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

1101 words - 5 pages Although a strict society composed of high morality and disciplinary laws may be necessary for safety, it causes internal conflicts within the individuals. In The Crucible, by Arthur Miller a theocracy in Salem rules and guides the citizens into doing what is “right”, but eventually backfires due to issues of reputation and jealousy. Society has a lot of influence on the citizens, and with a bad reputation, it is nearly impossible to live in a

Justice and Injustice in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

1220 words - 5 pages Justice and Injustice in The Crucible by Arthur Miller In The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, justice and injustice is portrayed through the characters of John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor and Abigail Williams. It is also shown through the minor characters of Mary Warren and Mercy Lewis, followers of Abigail Williams, and through Danforth and various townspeople. After Abigail Williams and the girls are discovered dancing in the forest by

Vengeance and Dishonesty in The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

767 words - 4 pages Each character has a certain failing that they represent in The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, more than anyone else. For Thomas Putnam his failing is how he would do anything to get vengeance on Francis Nurse. John Proctor failing is dishonesty to protect which undoubtedly cause his own down fall. Reverend Parris whose materialistic ways for money will end up with him having nothing. Putnam’s vengeance, Proctor’s dishonesty to protect, and Parris

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible vs The Red Scare

1072 words - 4 pages In life, there are a lot of historical events people learn about, but not many people can relate to them. The Crucible, by Arthur Miller is based on The Salem Witch Trials, many people can relate to it, it has drama. Drama is a key element in helping people understand things, because we all have drama in our lives. The Salem Witch Trials and The Red Scare both had a lot of drama in them. Miller’s story of The Salem Witch Trials closely

Changes in Character in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

655 words - 3 pages Changes in Character in The Crucible   One definition of  "crucible" is "a severe test of patience and belief, or a trial". This definition pertains to Arthur Miller's four-act play, "The Crucible."  The definition is suiting, because it is during this play that the wills of innocent women and men are put to the test when they are accused of things they did not do. It was the ultimate trial of determination and

The Crucible by Arthur Miller and McCarthyism

2072 words - 8 pages (Nilsen 146). Arthur Miller’s critique of American capitalism was shaped by the horrors he saw during the Great Depression. When anticommunism grew strength in the United States after World War II, Arthur Miller was one people in the show business targeted. Miller held a belief that under communism and other social parties, the public behaved better because it was not one man for himself (Nilsen 147). Many of the antagonists of Arthur Miller’s play are

The Evil of Fear in "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller

571 words - 2 pages In The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller, the strict Puritan community of Salem is bombarded with the hysteria of witchcraft. It starts when five young girls of Salem are caught dancing in the forest. Instead as mere children playing, this behavior is viewed upon by the Puritans as the work of the devil. As the hysteria builds momentum, more and more accusations radiate. Reverend Hale, a well known expert on witches, is brought into

The Importance of Names in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

975 words - 4 pages The Importance of Names in The Crucible by Arthur Miller What is the importance of names? In this essay I will be trying to answer the question “What is the importance of names.” Based on the play – The Crucible. Briefly I will explain what happened in the play. In Salem village, Massachusetts, in 1692, which hysteria swept the area? Salem village was a puritan society, you either loved God and did no wrong or you lived with a

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

886 words - 4 pages things were run at the time. Although many Americans stood back and live their lives the way they were told to, Miller in the other hand felt that things couldn’t carry on the way it is. The Salem witch trials and McCarthyism have similar beginnings and similar results. Such hysteria came about because of the excessive suspicion that was planted in the people's minds, by Parris and McCarthy. Despite this, it was Parris and McCarthy who

Similar Essays

Mass Hysteria Today And In The Crucible By Arthur Miller

850 words - 3 pages good names. Unfortunately, Rebecca was put to death by a court that was overshadowed by hysteria. On the other hand, Ball was cleared. The tribulations of these women show just how far fear will allow people to push the limitations of right and wrong. Works Cited Doherty, Thomas. Cold War, Cool Medium: Television, McCarthyism, and American Culture. New York: Columbia UP, 2003. Miller, Arthur. "The Crucible.” Heath Anthology of American Literature. Volume C: Late Nineteenth Century 1865-1910. 5th ed. Ed. Paul Lauter. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 2053-2126.

Mass Hysteria Today And In The Crucible By Arthur Miller

1689 words - 7 pages must flow with that of the universe embracing the ability to always be ever changing. Works Cited: Chopra, Deepak Creating affluence wealth consciousness in the field of all possibilities. San Rafael: New World Library, 1993 Freedman, Morris Essays in the Modern Drama. Boston: D.C Heath and Company, 1964 Grant, Parthenia O. Honoring the Body Temple. 1st ed Miller, Arthur Crucible a Play in Four

The Witchcraft Hysteria In "The Crucible" By Arthur Miller

716 words - 3 pages The Witchcraft Hysteria^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^In 1692, in Salem Massachusetts, the superstition of witches existedin a society of strong Christian beliefs. Anybody who acted out of theordinary was accused of being a witch and then the accuse would actually beforgiven if the blamed their accusations on another individual. This was themain idea of a play entitled, The Crucible by Arthur Miller. In this play agroup of young girls act up and are

Intolerance And Hysteria In Arthur Miller´S The Crucible

729 words - 3 pages Adapting From Page to Screen The Crucible, play and movie, do an exquisite job of displaying the utter turmoil within Salem and other towns held together by Puritanism. In both interpretations of the story, intolerance and hysteria leads Salem down the path of disintegration. Arthur Miller comments on why he wrote such a story: “Upham had not only written a broad and thorough investigation of what was even then an almost lost chapter of Salem's