Theme Of Mass Hysteria In The Crucible

2701 Words11 Pages
“A person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between” (Miller 87). This particular quote from Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, first and foremost portrays the intolerant nature of Puritan society in Salem, Massachusetts during 1692 at the peak of the Salem Witch Trials. The witch hunts stemmed from a mass religious hysteria that resulted in a tragedy of nineteen executions while hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft. Fear in such an intolerant Puritan society is what primarily fueled this mass hysteria that took over Massachusetts. Miller uses this tactic and focuses on emotions rather than logic to exhibit the psychological representation of a tense period in history. In doing…show more content…
Abigail purposely plants false evidence inside the Proctors’ home by manipulating Mary Warren, the Proctors’ teenage servant. In Act II, Abigail gives Mary a poppet – a doll typically associated with witchcraft – who in turn gives it to Elizabeth. Later, this poppet is used as a weapon against Elizabeth because Abigail accuses her of using the poppet to bewitch her. “‘Stuck two inches in the flesh of her belly, he draw a needle out. And demandin’ of her how she come to be so stabbed, she testify it were your wife’s familiar spirit pushed it in’” (Miller 71). Spoken by Ezekiel Cheever, a clerk of the court, this dialogue shows that Abigail purposely stabs herself to make it seem as if it were the evil act of Elizabeth’s spirit. When the townsmen search the Proctors’ home, they discover the poppet with a needle poked in it (Abigail’s doing). Elizabeth is arrested, and Abigail is satisfied – for the time being. John Proctor, on the other hand, is outraged because he clearly knows the real motive behind Abigail’s deceitful…show more content…
She quickly becomes a part of the court that condemns witches, and at first she seems to enjoy the power that it gives her. “‘Four judges and the King’s deputy sat to dinner with us but an hour ago. I – I would have you speak civilly to me, from this out. … I’ll not be ordered to bed no more, Mr. Proctor! I am eighteen and a woman, however single!’” (Miller 57). Children have close to no power in Puritan religion so Mary undoubtedly revels in the respect and attention that the adults give her when she and the other girls make false accusations. Miller explains the little power young Puritan girls and other minorities had in Salem, Massachusetts during

More about Theme Of Mass Hysteria In The Crucible

Open Document