The Witchcraft Hysteria in "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller

Essay by MERHigh School, 11th grade November 1996

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The Witchcraft Hysteria


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 then the accuse would actually be

forgiven if the blamed their accusations on another individual. This was the

main idea of a play entitled, The Crucible by Arthur Miller. In this play a

group of young girls act up and are then 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 some innocent people who were accused and automatically found guilty.

I believe, in many ways the people of Salem were responsible for the witch


The person with the most influence was the character, Abigail.

Abigail had an affair with a man by the name of John Proctor. Proctor broke

contact with Abigail and spent time and interest in his wife, Elizabeth.

Abigail gets jealous because of this and Abigail, a few other girls, and a

servant from the Caribbean named Tituba dance around in a order that they

believe it will kill Proctor's wife. Rev. Parris, Abigail's uncle, sees this

and reports it. When Abigail is questioned about this, she denies everything

and doesn't tell the truth about what really happened. The news of her and

the other girl's strange actions gets around and the hysteria starts.

Without Abigail's superstition, and her fear or telling the truth, I think

the events in The Crucible wouldn't have gotten as serious as they did or

even started.

John Proctor was another catalyst to the witch hysteria in Salem.

John Proctor has an affair with...