The Crucible and the Mass Hysteria Portrayed
The Crucible composed by Arthur Miller, has many themes that have been explained. The most known theme being hysteria, as well as the role it played in devastating the town of Salem. Hysteria can be defined as behavior displaying excessive or uncontrollable emotion, such as fear or panic and this is evident in The Crucible as the actions of Abigail Williams and her friends are accusing the town’s people of Salem as devil worshippers. This theme has been portrayed through the use of dialogue and stage direction. In the whole event of the witch trials, a few people were able to thrive upon the hysteria and use it to their advantage. But overall the town fell apart due to the blaming of witchcraft made upon innocent people.
Abigail Williams and her friends were dancing in the woods. This event brought the thought of hysteria among the townspeople as many believed the illness suffered by Betty Parris and Ruth Putnam was of supernatural causes. Abigail, fearing the townsfolk of accusing her as being the cause, then accuses Tituba. “She made me do it” (p. 45) corresponding to the dancing and drinking of chicken blood. Fearing being hung, Tituba confesses and accuses other members of the town of witchcraft in order to protect herself. “And I look - and there was Goody Good... Aye sir, and Goody Osburn” (p. 49). At first, the social outcasts were accused, then respected characters such as Elizabeth Procter and Rebecca Nurse are accused as a result of the town's mass hysteria. And so this mass hysteria is created, only by young girls, but it has spiraled into a black hole consuming everyone in the town of Salem, regardless of their social stature.
While the town of Salem was collapsing because of these accusations, there were certain characters who felt as if they benefited from these accusations; including Thomas Putnam and Reverend Parris. For Thomas Putnam, he benefited as his wealth was dramatically increased when his...