• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How Fear Encourages Selfishness in "The Crucible".

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Fear to Stimulate Perpetuation Above Societal Preservation ?Panic?, Arthur Miller asserts, ?sleeps in one unlighted corner of [the] soul? (Miller). It consumes a spot of one?s mind, and influences actions by draping them with a mask of fear. Being very relevant in a society like that of The Crucible, it is shown that the personal desire of each character result in motives through which they seek individual gain rather than societal preservation, leading to an instilled sense of hysteria. This becomes a frightening example of how each individual?s desire to appease their own motives may be an aid to themselves, but in contrast, a bludgeon to society. Through the selfish actions of Abigail, authoritative decisions of Danforth, and fearful motives of Mary Warren, Miller shows that in the midst of fear, the desire for self-survival is much greater than the desire to preserve society as a whole; this widens the gap between the citizens and their society, deepening the instilled hysteria. This sense of personal motivation greatly exceeds any drive for social responsibility as fear becomes not only the ally, but the enemy of every inhabitant. Abigail, a manipulative and cunning girl, becomes obsessed with the desire for power and need to satisfy her desires, which she attempts to achieve through selfish actions, ultimately jumpstarts the hysteria. ...read more.

Middle

Danforth is perceived from beginning to end as an authoritative, dominant figure whose sole desire isn?t necessarily for purity or equality to be established throughout Salem, but rather to maintain his position as a supreme authority. Though Abigail was like the seed, or initial source of the fear, Danforth can be seen as the affirmation. He has the power of convicting the Salem?s inhabitants regardless of facts, but rather ?spectral evidence? as Miller points out and was used to ?control thoughts and actions?. The accusations made weren?t true, but based on fear; in order for one person to save themself, they turned to conviction in which they knew they could save themselves. Thus, by convicting others, this sense of social responsibility is gone and rather everyone is cruelly fighting for their own life through methods which rather than helping the community, greatly impair as the number of convicts rise exponentially. This being said, it?s visible that Danforth is a major source of power and contributor of chaos. His extreme reliance on spectral evidence instills the fear of death and results in self-preservation. Even John Proctor, a man disgusted by society?s new craze, was determined to emit himself from the chaos, but ended up confessing that he ?want[s] [his] life? (4.530) ...read more.

Conclusion

It?s a chaotic world in which everybody is trying to save themselves and the well-being of one?s neighbor is of the least concerns while fighting for one?s own life. Fear is the basis of all paranoia and through Abigail?s seeding, Danforth?s growing and Mary Warren?s cultivating of the hysteria in society, it?s evident that fear is not only a predominant feeling throughout the play, but also a major factor which turns this pure, people-based society into on similar to a savage animal kingdom where each person is fighting to save their own life, disregarding the safeguarding of anyone else. Abigail?s intimidation, Danforth?s status, and Mary Warren?s fear become the stepping stones which Miller points out are the basis for a society that consumes its people. Rather than striving to preserve the structure of society, each individual fights for personal survival, thus creating a chaos-stricken land in which every man is in for himself. Though different motives, the characters still plant the seed of fear, showing that it?s not the problem that causes the hysteria, but rather the solving approach of the people. The problem doesn?t begin on its own, and in the end, rather than benefitting one?s self by lying and seeking personal gains, all these people are doing is further destructing their society, making it nearly impossible to repair. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Arthur Miller essays

  1. Act 4 of The Crucible provides a powerfully dramatic conclusion to the play. ...

    - He is fighting with himself inside; his mind and his heart are tearing him apart. "It is evil is it not?" He is desperately questioning Elizabeth, he needs some support, he cannot decide by himself. "Would you give them such a lie?!

  2. Crucible craetive ewrting and commentary. Through this dialogue I wanted to portray how powerful ...

    Abigail also states her reason for hating Goody Procter and goes on to mention "our love would follow us to our graves" meaning Abigail's and Proctor's love. However, this ironic as Procter's hubris and love for Goody Procter follows him to his grave.

  1. How is Abigail presented in 'The Crucible'

    lie as an attempt to protect herself such as when Reverend Parris and Mr Hale, the minister are questioning her and she says "...Tituba, Tituba..." as though she is trying to involve Tituba, the maid in her unjust practices which she succeeded in doing as Mr Hale asks "Did Tituba ask you to drink it?"

  2. "The Crucible yields a number of scenes which are prime examples of Arthur Millers ...

    Miller, expertly makes Tituba's confession slow and brocken up by her poor English, and suddenly he quickens the pace into the hysteria that follows. This change of pace from an already tense situation to one so tense that the

  1. The Crucible - Character at odds

    It also suggests that Proctor is against the church which in itself would be a hanging offense as Salem is a highly religious town. Furthermore this hints at the fact Proctor will not submit to the corruption that has overcome the authorities.

  2. The Crucible

    together into our pit; you will tell the court what you know." Proctor is willing to tell the law what he and Abigail have done to save his wife. Thus it shows he is loyal to his wife. Then in act three Proctor's integrity is furthered when he does finally

  1. 'Whilst we are appalled by Abigail Williams, we are fascinated by her as well'. ...

    inherent downfall as Proctor and Giles finally break the cycle of hysteria that she sparked, only possible with their deaths. It is clear that Miller presents Abigail as a character we grow to detest for her immoral actions that result in taking the lives of several, and as the audience

  2. The Crucible Revision Notes

    lustful, vengeful, controlling, violent, manipulative Effect on plot After Tituba is forced to confess, Abigail jumps in and starts accusing others.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work