Both events emanated from false accusations, gained momentum from the influence of public leaders, and ceased after the accusations proved to be inaccurate. The witch-hunts created two of America’s most infamous periods as they instilled fear into the public and wrongfully punished innocent people. Both affairs would not have originated were it not for the spread of harsh and unjust accusations. Unsubstantiated rumors led to the outbreak of accusations within the two witch-hunts. In the Salem Witch Trials, Sarah Good, Sarah Osbourne and Tituba were the first three women to be accused of witchcraft for allegedly afflicting Betty Paris and Abigail Williams, two young girls, with a demonic disease.
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 today’s time period we try not to look back on the Salem witch trials. We want to believe that we would not behave the way people did back then but in this time period we have more resources to look back on than they did. The Crucible shows us that one girl can corrupt the whole town against each other with lies after lies. Those lies create fear to the town’s people. The fear generates distrust among one another and causes false accusation.
Socially, slaves were bottom the class pyramid and were treated bad and this caused them to revolt. In Salem, Massachusetts the imagination and communication played a huge role in witchcraft trials. The talk of the devil and witches grew and soon any thingthat is abnormal or seen as not common was seen as a characteristic of the devil or a witch.Politically, strange and harsh laws were made in the colonies. Slavery was seen as white man¶s burden and how Africans were uncivilized and those coming to their plantations and working for them will make them civilized. In Salem, Massachusetts strange laws were made when thehunting of ³witches´ began.
In “The Crucible” Mary Warren is accused of witchery. Mary and Proctor agree to side with one another and defeat Abigail. While in court for Mary’s trial Abigail begins to scream and point, accusing Mary of sending out her spirit to attack her. When the other girls in court began to mock Mary’s words along with Abigail, Danforth horrifically yells “Mary Warren! Draw back your spirit out of them!” (Miller 191).
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.
Due to the fact that Elizabethans were afraid of evil, the odd people in communities started being accused of witchcraft. Witchcraft had a great impact of the daily and social lives of the Elizabethans. Soon neighbors slung accusations at each other and started ruckus all over England. Children rolled on the floor having convulsions and blaming random people for hexing or possessing them (Saintives). Anyone with odd names, weird looks, or were found mumbling chants, were accused of witchcraft and were put to death.
Cooney uses MacBeth to prove her thesis; whereas, Lee uses the character Bob Ewell to prove her thesis, and Shakespeare uses Tybalt to prove his argument. In the book Enter Three Witches, Cooney uses the character Lord MacBeth to prove that people who are power hungry and dislike others eventually meet a violent end. In the book, MacBeth is a king who gets his turn on the throne after the death of Scotland’s two previous kings. Lord MacBeth was a terrible and unfair king. He killed many people including innocent children in order to inherit his power.
Nevertheless, it is the innate evil in Macbeth that makes him curious about their predictions. In fact Banquo’s statements on noticing Macbeth’s reaction to the witches’ prophesies, “Look how our partner’s rapt,” make us suspect Macbeth’s integrity. Again, the fact that he gets dependant on the witches for further advice clearly demonstrates the evil in him. While it was the initial influence of the witches, that led Macbeth astray, it is ultimately Macbeth’s decision to commit such heinous crimes.” Apart from the witches, Lady Macbeth also has a profound influence on bringing about Macbeth’s tragedy. Lady Macbeth is an evil and ruthless woman who, being aware of Macbeth’s ambitious nature decides to exploit it and manipulates him into murdering King Duncan.
In order for suggestion to cause hysteria, it needs to be viewed as valid. Often this is a fear or worry held in common by members of the society. In The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, this fear is witchcraft. The Salem witch trials occurred because the whole community feared witchcraft. Had the adults of Salem not believed the girls who were accusing social outcasts of witchcraft, no mass hysteria would have occurred.