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The Crucible Theme Essay

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In 1692, in Salem, Massachusetts, the superstition of witches existed in a society based on strong Christian beliefs. Anyone who acts out of the ordinary is accused of being a witch, and he/she will actually be forgiven if they blame their accusations on another individual, or confess themselves as guilty. Hysteria is the main idea of this play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Miller shows how it can destroy an entire community, and developed a theme of how suspicion and panic can lead to extensive hysteria that often can destroy rationality and public/individual persona.

Firstly, the person with the most influence on hysterical ideas is the character of Abigail Williams. Abigail has an affair with a man by the name of John Proctor. Proctor breaks contact with her and starts spending more time with his wife, Elizabeth. Abigail becomes jealous because of this and with a few girls and Tituba dances in the forest to kill Goody Proctor. Rev. Parris, Abigail's uncle, sees this and reports it. When Abigail is questioned about this, she denies everything and doesn't tell the truth about what really happened. The news of her and the other girls' strange actions gets around and the hysteria starts. Without Abigail's superstition, and her fear of telling the truth, the events in The Crucible wouldn't have been so extreme.

Secondly, the towns people start to take part in the hysterical climate as well, not only because of strong religious beliefs, but also because it gives them a chance to express repressed feelings and to act on long-held grudges. The most obvious case, (as previously mentioned) is Abigail, who takes advantage of the chaos to accuse Proctor's wife and have her sent to jail. But others thrive off of it as well. Reverend Parris reinforces his position within the village, even if it is by making scapegoats of people like John Proctor, who question his authority. The arrogant Thomas Putnam gains revenge on Francis Nurse by getting Rebecca, Francis's righteous wife, convicted of the murders of his wife's babies. Many others in the town also become hysterical over the witchcraft accusations and destroy not only many people's public personas, but their lives as well.

Lastly, there is John Proctor, who ends



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