Formalistic Analysis of The Crucible

Essay by petmydogHigh School, 11th gradeA-, December 2007

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Hysteria is displayed by communities all over the world. It is an important factor in creating and particularly breaking relationships. People who are "hysterical" often lose self-control due to the overwhelming fear. In Arthur Millers, The Crucible, hysteria plays an important role of tearing apart the community of Salem by creating a hostile environment which is exemplified by many of the characters throughout the play, such as Abigail, Proctor, and Danforth, as they eventually turn on one another in the process.

In The Crucible, hysteria begins to arise after the event of young girls of the community of Salem, Massachusetts are caught dancing in the moonlight in an order that they believe will kill Proctors wife, whom Abigail has feelings for. After the girls are caught by Abigail’s uncle, Reverend Parris, they blame their actions and influence on the Devil, and that Tituba, Parris’ slave who teaches the girls about spirits, has called upon him and made them dance.

The girls refuse to confess, and because of this, basically everything goes downhill and hysteria starts. The girls, especially Abigail, begin to accuse innocent people of sending the Devil upon them, and later, eventually anyone in the community who acted out of the ordinary was accused of witchcraft. An example of Abigail’s emotionally strong attitude that contributed to the hysteria is when she says, “I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you…I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down” (Miller 19). This was significant because if someone was accused and denied the accusations, they were immediately hung, yet if one confessed, all they did was ruin their name and not stay true to their faith. The Putnam’s show how hysteria allows...