The Crucible is based around a small, religious town in Salem, Massachusetts. The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller around the theme of the Red Scare. Like the Red Scare, people were falsely accused of committing crimes against the people, however, unlike the Salem Witch Trials, the Red Scare was secular and focused around the Russian dictatorship. During The Crucible justice, integrity, and mass hysteria are all key themes.
Justice in Salem was determined by accusations of being the devil's servant, the church held all the power, and an appeals system was non-existent. The main way ‘witches’ were found was people accusing others of committing witchcraft. These baseless accusations led to false allegations for vengeance or self-gain. When accused of being a witch, the church would sway most influence of what events proceeded. Unlike todays current justice system, there was no way to appeal; as Judge Danforth said “This is the highest court of the supreme government of this ...view middle of the document...
”, (1131) this shows how important integrity is to Paris, and how he later goes to ruin others integrity to save his own within the community. Being labeled a witch in Salem would shun an individual from the community; causing them to lose respect, their job, and friends. Court systems would play on the integrity of individuals, no one would want to ruin their title and die a witch. Courts also played on integrity in God’s eyes, if someone lied and said they were a witch they would go to hell for lying, but if they told the truth they would be hanged. Integrity killed many in The Crucible, but hysteria sealed the fates of death’s kiss.
Hysteria was caused by poor understanding of how the world works, fear of witchcraft, and the sheep effect. In the sixteen-hundreds people had a poor understand of how the world works; medical diagnoses were made by assumptions and not facts. Witchcraft was a major fear during this era: it explained miscarriages, illnesses, and unexplained events. The sheep effect bred hysteria; much like the holocaust when people feared the jews and thought they were taking over the world, Salem thought witches were out to kill and harm people. Hysteria can be shown when Putnam says “She cannot bear to hear the the Lord’s name, Mr Hale; that’s a sure sign of witchcraft afloat.”, (1149) the quote above shows how they believed witchcraft was the source of all their problems, thus leading to blaming innocent individuals to backup the false theory.
Throughout history we’ve continued to have ‘witch trials’ caused by: personal vendettas, fear of the unknown, and a lack of understanding. The abhor for illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States is an example of a current witch trial. We pair Mexicans with drug dealers, job stealers, and ruining our economy, when in reality most are just trying to get away from the hardships in Mexico; taking jobs we’re too lazy to do ourselves, and often for much lower pay. We are quick to paint groups with the same brush when we have poor understand of circumstances they have been in; the average american is just a sheep in the herd, and has little understanding of what’s really going on. In conclusion, the Salem witch trials covered fundamental issues in the government / leading body, how one’s integrity plays in making important decisions, and how mass hysteria can lead to improper judgement.