With reference to the text discuss the themes of mass hysteria,terror and the misuse of power in The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
One of the strongest themes in The Crucible is how the people in the position of power are able to use mass hysteria and a sense of terror in their own positions of power. Some characters in The Crucible misused power over other characters in the text and some people in Salem also misuse their power in the court of Salem and in the Church.In The Crucible,the people in Salem suddenly turn on each other and accuse people that they have known for years of practicing witchcraft and devil worship. This caused the town of Salem to fall into mass hysteria.
In The Crucible, hysteria plays an important role of tearing apart the community of Salem by creating an environment where people act on their grudges, which is demonstrated by many of the characters throughout the play, such as Abigail, Proctor, and Danforth, as they eventually ruin one another in the process.In The Crucible, hysteria begins to appear after the incident of the young girls in the community of Salem,were caught dancing in the woods in an order that they believe will kill Proctor’s wife, who 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 teaches the girls about spirits 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 powerfully strong attitude that contributed to the hysteria in The Crucible 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 (P.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 misuse of power is demonstrated by Arthur Miller in the play, The Crucible, when there was a misuse of power that put people to death in the Salem witch trials. The misuse of power by Mary Warren, Abigail, and Danforth in The Crucible, proves that absolute power will often lead one to misuse power.Abigail Williams, begins to misuse her power throughout the play by threatening the other girls to do things and continually accusing innocent people in Salem of witchcraft. After the girls initially get caught dancing in the forest, Abigail realises that the other girls are timid and afraid of the outcome. Danforth misuses his power by using his position of power to kill innocent people.This was especially shown when he still commits to the hanging of John Proctor even though he knows Abigail was lying.
In The Crucible, the theme of fear caused the people in Salem to act foolishly.
If there was no use of mass hysteria, terror and the misuse of power in The Crucible. Much of what happened during the Salem witch trials would never have taken place. In The Crucible people show how far they will go to protect themselves and those that they love.