Societys Scapegoats Essay

800 WordsDec 6, 20114 Pages
SCAPEGOATES IN SOCIETY Whether the “doormat” of the day is President Obama, violent video games, or MTV, society has a need for someone or something to transfer blame to: a scapegoat. Throughout history, these blamable persons have been targeted by the masses in order to divert both fault and responsibility, as well as to act as the receiving end of subtle plots of revenge. The scapegoat’s position and esteem within society has no matter; when a populace needs a person to force their tribulations upon, any individual is a prime target. However saddening the concept may be, society has an inherent need for a scapegoat to divert blame away from itself and heap unwanted responsibility upon another. For one, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible excellently exemplifies society’s need for a culpable person. Mrs. Ann Putnam, a woman who has suffered through the recurring deaths of her newborn babies, is quick to peg someone within her community as a witch in order to explain their losses. In a spirited speech, Mrs. Putnam exclaims, “I take it on my soul, but who else may surely tell us what person murdered my babies…they were murdered, Mr. Parris!” (The Crucible 15). Her words reveal that she is unwilling to accept the idea that the death of her children may have been of her own doing (or perhaps something more explainable than the Devil’s handiwork), and therefore ready to cry “witch!” so that any possible blame is deflected away from herself. Despite the fact that her accusation could have devastating consequences on any number of people within Salem, Mrs. Putnam attributes the deaths of her children to some mysterious “power of darkness”, and places any possible guilt on anyone or anything but her own person (The Crucible 15). Further illustrating the society’s need for a scapegoat is the outcry that takes place near the end of Act One of The

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