Hysteria in Salem In 1692, in Salem Massachusetts, the superstition of witches existed in a society of strong Christian beliefs. Anybody who acted out of the ordinary was accused of being a witch and the accused would actually be forgiven if they blamed their accusations on another individual. In this play, a group of young girls is accused of being witches. These girls then blame other people in order to get out of trouble and even pretend to be "bewitched" in front of the court during a trial. This leads into the deaths of the innocent people who are accused and automatically found guilty.
The image of light and darkness are used to highlight good and evil. When Lady Macbeth was attempting to conjure up the courage to go on with the murder, she asks darkness to make her like a man in order to carry out the deed. She is quoted saying “Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry 'Hold, hold! '” The use of darkness in this scene tells the reader just how desperate she is to become Queen. She would go as far as to ask evil to fill her soul with hate and take her remorse in order to gain power.
You drank a charm to kill John Procter’s wife" (Miller 19). This allows the reader to become aware of the severity of Abby’s ruthlessness. Her loathing of Mrs. Procter goes to such great lengths that she would go beyond the point of extremities. As an example of her demonic acts, she mutilates her stomach with a sewing needle and claims it to be Elizabeth Procter’s voodoo spell. "…and struck two inches in the flesh of her belly, he draw a needle out she testify it were your familiar spirit pushed it in."
Gillian MacDonald 21 March 2013 ENG 4U Mr. Chalmers The Ringleaders of the Salem Witch Trials In the book The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the theme of hysteria is dominantly present throughout the entire play. It is not hard to narrow down the cause of the widespread hysteria to three people that inevitably had their hand in the trials. The devious character, Abigail, shows her wicked mind and skill of manipulation in the play so she can get what she wants, John Proctor. The slave, Tituba, gave into the accusations and started the hysteria of the witch trials. The last character that contributed to an entire town’s belief in witches would be Danforth.
Character Analysis: Medea Medea may be considered one of the world first feminists. Her story is a jealous and vengeful one of a woman betrayed by her husband, Jason. And though she is believed to be truly evil, she is the protagonist of the play. Medea left her father (King Aeetes), her country (Colchis) which is barbarian territory, and manipulated the daughters of Pelias to murder their own father (Jason’s Uncle) all out of her love for Jason. The play begins as he leaves her and marries the daughter of Creon, ruler of Corinth.
“Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself,” (Act 1.2 line 319) this line is a direct stab at Caliban and his witch of a mother. By calling Caliban “poisonous” and his mother the devil, Shakespeare makes it very clear that the audience should not feel pity on Caliban and his slave hood. Caliban is sowing a situation in which he reaped. Caliban was taking in after Sycorax died and was giving everything needed to thrive by Prospero. Prospero’s daughter, Miranda, even “pitied thee” (Act 1.2 lines 353) and thought Caliban English.
But when Mrs. Proctor began to suspect her of messing around with her husband, she threw Abigail out. But Abigail was already in love with John and so began to accuse people of having dealings with the Devil after her younger cousin, Betty became ill. The events and accusations snowballed until finally, Abigail pressured Mary Warren to accuse John Proctor of witchcraft. Those that were accused of witchcraft were then hung, burned at the stake or died in jail while waiting for execution. Joseph McCarthy was a government official who in the 1950’s began what is now called The Red Scare.
But in Glück’s poem, this brings to mind the Salem witch trials or Joan of Arc burning at the stake. Gretel is in darkness, but the witch is lit forever in our minds by fire. Women are tortured as witches, and the child who grows into a woman is forever tortured by that memory. Orange blossoms are the traditional flower of weddings, but in Mock Orange the sickly-sweet flower is a symbol of sex as an imposed rite. That is also the theme in A Myth of Devotion.
John Proctor’s true major downfall proceeds later in the story when Abigail starts to accuse villagers of also being witches. Among the accused, was Elizabeth Proctor. During her trial, John Proctor stood up against Abigail, which allowed him to become one of her prime targets. John Proctor is then also accused of witchcraft and is sentenced to death by the noose. When comparing the theatrical story to real life, there are a few parallels that don’t exactly match up.
Brabantio had an extremely racist attitude towards Othello. He was so astounded and horrified that his fair Desdemona had even considered eloping with a coloured man. Brabantio refuses to believe that his daughter would have done this off her own accord. In fact he is convinced that Othello conjured some sort of magic and witchcraft and used it on his daughter. Brabantio made a very long speech about this and protested heavily that Desdemona had nothing to do with falling in love with the Moor.