Comparing Mass Delusions And Hysterias : Highlights From The Past Millennium By Robert Bartholomew And Erich Goode

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Fear has become part of humanity as humans evolve over time. Since the beginning of time humans had always been afraid of the unknown and this fear has given humans a drive to progress to be better. In the past, there have been societies that take wrongful advantage of this fear by creating mass hysteria by religious, political, and social activities. The article Mass Delusions and Hysterias: Highlights from the Past Millennium by Robert Bartholomew and Erich Goode, talks about Salem’s situation in 1692. “Salem Village (now Danvers, Massachusetts) was the scene of a moral panic that spread throughout the region and involved witchcraft accusations which led to trials, torture, imprisonment, and executions” (Bartholomew and Goode). The famous play The Crucible by Arthur Miller demonstrates the similar act as the article which led to a mass hysteria between people of Salem for wrongful accusations and death of twelve individuals of Salem for witchcraft. According to the play, the delusions of fear in Salem turned into a mass hysteria. “Mass hysteria is characterized by the rapid spread of conversion disorder, a condition involving the appearance of bodily complaints for which there is no organic basis” (Bartholomew and Goode). In The Crucible, this mass hysteria has been used as a tool by Putnam for personal gain to acquire land of other citizens, Danforth for his political gain, and Abigail for her revenge against John Proctor’s wife Elizabeth. In the play, Thomas Putnam

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