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The Religious Aspects Of The Crucible Are Immersed In Hysteria - Discuss.

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Introduction

???The Religious Aspects Of The Crucible Are Immersed In Hysteria - Discuss. The Crucible is a play, which draws a parallel between the Salem witch-hunts of 1692 and McCarthyism in the 1950s. Arthur Miller, author of the play, was put in prison in the early 1950s owing to his slight left wing sympathies. In this period of time, the American regime was very strict and paranoid; this was caused by fear of 'reds under the bed' (communists in America). When Miller was released from prison he chose to write a play outlining his views on America, but instead of directly using his own situation, he used a parallel event to put his ideas forward. The chosen event was the Salem witch-hunts of 1692. Miller portrayed the puritanical Communist regime, seeped in intrigue, suspicion and fear, as the society that was in existence in Salem, the town in which the play is set, prior to the religious hysteria, which swept the community. Salem was a theocracy, which means 'a system controlled by aspects of religion', or in Salem's case, people who took the every word of The Bible literally. ...read more.

Middle

The lowest and most despised inhabitant of Salem was Tituba, the black, slave-girl of the Reverend Parris. As the hysteria within the community increased, their social positions are dramatically changed. The chaos started when two of the town's teenage girls, Betty and Ruth were struck down by a mysterious illness. The girls had been participating in a black magic ritual in the Virgin Forest the previous night. Once the townsfolk heard of this, they immediately connected the two events and assumed that the devil and witchcraft had infiltrated the village. Miller linked this to communism spreading through America. As in the Salem witch-hunts, special committees were set up, led by McCarthy. Their aim was to search out Communist sympathisers in the United States. Many 'suspected' Communists were persuaded to confess and name other sympathizers to avoid punishment. As a result there was a mad hysterical rush to falsely accuse fellow citizens, thereby shifting the possibility of guilt from themselves. Once these rumours started, the townsfolk of Salem were able to use the situation to accuse their enemies of using black magic and witchcraft to gain vengeance and retribution. ...read more.

Conclusion

By trying to maintain their virtuous society according to their beliefs, they were effectively destroying it. Towards the end of the play the hysteria only existed because people wanted it to. It "suspends the rules of daily life and allows the acting out of every dark desire and hateful urge under the cover of righteousness." At the end of the play the religious framework was drastically changed. The leader of the community, Reverend Parris, had his power usurped by the 'black magic worshipping, teenage girls, in the fervour of the mass hysteria. He was not excused from the accusations either from Tituba. The hysteria surpassed racial and sexual prejudices. The teenage girls soon found, that if they made a simple accusation, this could incarcerate and convict some of the most important citizens of Salem. The once respected and worthy citizen, John Proctor, no longer had any social clout and found himself examining his own conscience and responsibility for the mass hysteria that had swept his town. Because the people have been suppressed in their thoughts and actions for so long, they were unable to apply mature thinking and reasoning to the events surrounding them. Ryan Keefe 10HR Mr Munn The Crucible Essay 10th November 2004 Source - http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/crucible/ ...read more.

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