The Crucible By Arthur Miller

1470 Words6 Pages
“I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!” (Miller 45). In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, residents of Salem habitually ‘cry witch’, driven by dismay, suspicion, and retribution. Under a strict theocracy, where the court’s ruling and religious beliefs are exclusively bound to one another, death is practically inevitable for those branded as witches, their names perpetually tarnished. From atop his high horse, one may look upon The Crucible and harshly judge the irrational actions of Salem’s community; however, human emotion drove these injudicious acts, the very raw emotion that often overpowers logic in today’s society. Though theocracy has dissolved in America, one can never…show more content…
Fear that witches were truly among the community of Salem, performing dark magic and wreaking havoc, propelled witch hunters to raid the town. Paranoia. The declaration of Salem’s most admired individuals to have been involved in witchcraft gave residents the excuse to suspect any soul of wrongdoing. Vengeance. Jealousy and dislike spurred citizens to accuse their foes, utilizing witchcraft to justify their personal vendetta. When Salem’s women were stigmatized as witches, two groups were born. Those who believed in the children’s witchcraft allegations, acting primarily on emotion, and those who declared the children of pretense, acting predominantly on logic. However, the group motivated by fear, paranoia, and vengeance greatly outnumbered those driven by logic in both strength and size. Thus this group, experiencing a psychological phenomenon called groupthink, can be held accountable for the execrable Salem witch trials. Irving Janis, a social psychologist, studied how social behavior is influenced in group settings. In 1972, he coined the name ‘groupthink’ to describe observed behavioral changes in individuals belonging to groups. Groupthink is characterized by a group’s pursuit for unity, often resulting in individual members disregarding or altering their own beliefs to coincide with the majority, or group’s, beliefs. This disregard or altercation ensures that the group stays unified; however, results in the group committing illogical actions without considering
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