Hysteria And Paranoia In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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Hysteria and paranoia have been a part of human life for a very long time. This tactic was used to scare people in many different ways. It has also become a byproduct of terrorism in modern times. An earlier event where hysteria and paranoia played a big part is in the Salem witch trials. This event is described in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the theme of hysteria and paranoia is present in the character of Rev. Parris; the development of this theme demonstrates Miller’s belief that hysteria can create an entire chaotic problem. The character this theme is present in is Reverend Parris. He was paranoid from the very beginning when his daughter became “afflicted.” Parris was very confident that witchcraft was the cause and was the start of something much bigger. Parris states, “She called the Devil?” (Miller 40). All it had to start with was one lie, that someone was a witch, and everything turned into utter chaos after that. Once one person was on board, everyone else followed suit. This shows the hysteria among the people living in Salem. Soon, everyone was paranoid because of a few words spoken by Parris. He gets to the point of accusing others of being witches, furthering the chaos and paranoia. He describes how he thinks Proctor is overthrowing the court to cause more chaos, “They’ve come to overthrow the court, sir!” (Miller 82). Eventually this leads to even more paranoia over the people they thought they could trust not to be
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