The Crucible

Essay by KristenphotoUniversity, Bachelor'sB, March 2005

download word file, 5 pages 5.0

Downloaded 30 times

The Crucible

The people of Salem can hardly be condemned for their actions during

the witch hunts of 1692, as described in the play The Crucible, for they were

merely products of their time. This is shown through an examination of the

theocratic society in which they lived, the patriarchal snobbery they

exhibited toward each other, their lack of medical technology and in depth

knowledge of disease and of an analysis of the fear they displayed of the

unknown. This is important as it shows that the Salemites were not entirely

evil people, for they were only reacting to a situation in the only suitable

manner they knew.

At the time of the witch hunts, the Salemite's society was an organized

theocracy in which their Puritan church ruled. It was instilled to ensure

moral order and justice within Salem and 'to prevent any disunity that might

open it to destruction by material or ideological enemies'.

While espousing

purity and godliness, the Puritans of Salem were a political group with

leanings toward power and weakness. They were unable to keep these two

characteristics in check at the time of the witch hunt. This resulted in the

witch hunts becoming 'a perverse manifestation of the panic which set in

among all classes when the balance began to turn toward greater individual

freedom'. Their theocracy allowed for no expression of individuality, lest the

individual, in short, ask for public condemnation. The theocracy of the

Salem society at the time was an enormous factor to the conditions

surrounding the witch hunts.

The Salemites exhibited patriarchal snobbery toward each others and

those who were different. 'Their church found it necessary to deny any other

sect its freedom, lest their New Jerusalem be defiled and corrupted by wrong

ways and deceitful ideas.'. As Puritans, felt they...