Hysteria In The Crucible

755 Words4 Pages
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. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the people of Salem are responsible for the witch hysteria. The person with the most influence on the hysteria is Abigail. In the past, Abigail had an affair with John Proctor. She gets jealous when Proctor leaves her to go back to his wife, Elizabeth. Because of this, Abigail, a few other girls from the village, and a servant from the Caribbean named Tituba dance around in an order that they believe will kill Proctor's wife. When Abigail is questioned about this, she denies everything. She is desperate to not to get caught. While lying with Betty, she warns the other girls, “If anyone breathe a word or the edge of a word about the other things, I will come to you in the black of some terrible night” (). However, when the news of her and the other girl's strange actions spreads like wildfire, the hysteria sets in. Abigail only contributes to the hysteria, though. She makes up lie after lie just to conceal her wrongdoing. She even pretends to see Mary Warren take the shape of a yellow bird while in court just to take the focus off her and John’s affair. Abigail’s fear of telling the truth, provoked the hysteria to an extreme level that otherwise would not have been reached.
John Proctor was another catalyst to the witch hysteria
Open Document