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The Crucible Essay The history of Salem, a small town in Massachusetts America, has forever been scarred with hysteria lies and murder, all brought about by the fanatical beliefs of an extreme puritan society filled with idealist conforms and rigid rules. The year of 1692 played host to many strange events, which in turn led to many horrendous unlawful deaths. These events all revolved around witchcraft and the hysteria brought about by the fear of it. Hysteria is defined as a crazed state of violent mental agitation, a nervous affliction occurring almost exclusively in women. How much was hysteria to blame for the violent events of 1692? Famous Author and play write, Arthur Miller, responsible for the creation of the world renowned play 'The Crucible' characterized and dramatised the events of 1692. We can use this play to apply a realistic lifelike account of 1692's events and help us to find how much these events can be blamed on hysteria. The beginning of The Crucible opens with a scene in which Betty, the young daughter of the Reverend Parris, is lying lifeless in what seems to be a self induced coma. At this stage it is hard to determine whether the coma's cause is in-fact the physical effects of hysteria or just Betty's way of escaping from the consequences of her actions. ...read more.


In the later stages of Act 1 and throughout the majority of Act 3 Abigail appears to change in the way she behaves, noticing that the adult's in particular Parris and the judges believe her lies and false accusations, she begins to mimic a false form of hysteria to convince people of the accused guilt. Knowing of her immense power over the other girls Abigail only needs to scream and the girls will scream, she simply needs to faint and the girls will too. "A wind, a cold wind, has come" Abigail's eyes fall on the newly accused, Mary Warren, upon this Mercy begins to shiver and shouts "Your Honour, I freeze!" next is Suzanna "I freeze, I freeze". Abigail constantly threatens and scares the other girls to make them follow and obey her "...I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down" her persistent bullying and her constant terrorization has led her to be in almost complete control of the girls. There are many examples of hysterical behaviour during the book. Throughout the play Mrs Putnam, described as a "death-ridden...twisted soul", does well to excite and aggravate the situation in a hysterical manner. Not averse to heartache and death and with her seven children dieing as babies, Mrs Putnam is superstitious and justly callous. ...read more.


Close friends of Reverend Parris seem not to perish to the untrue accusations of witchcraft, just showing the way the 'law' was being manipulated. There are a few cases of revenge being taken out using the accusation of witchcraft, Mr Corey tells the story of how his wife, Mrs Corey, sold Mr Walcott a pig four or five years prior and the pig died, and that he can no longer keep a pig alive because of her witchcraft "...he goes to court and claims that from that day to this he cannot keep a pig alive for more than four weeks because my Martha bewitched them with her books!" In en-capturing these historical events Arthur Miller widened the eyes of a generation to the ludicrous and shocking truth behind the witch hunts of 1692 and in doing so, more discretely implied a political parable to the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1940's and 1950's. I feel that the horrific events of 1692 cannot be solely pinned on hysteria, however powerful or influential the emotion may be. How can the cause of these dreadful events be totally blamed on any one factor? Ignorance, greed, revenge and an over whelming abuse of power are just as prominent and to blame as any form of hysteria. ?? ?? ?? ?? James Windle Page 1 of 3 ...read more.

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