The Mystery Of The False Confession In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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The Mystery of the False Confession Noah White Ms. Maney American Literature 12/10/2017 In post-9/11 America, one of the most debated topics is the use of torture and unreliable interrogation techniques to extract information from suspects. Said use of torture is considered not only heinous but somewhat notorious for producing unreliable and false confessions. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a spotlight is shined on this topic by the situation of the Salem Witch Trials in which so called ‘witches’ are forced to confess to their non-existent offenses by threat of hanging. Considering these points, the question must be asked; why are false confessions so prevalent and why do they occur? One of the earliest recorded instances of a false confessions was the confession of Robert Hubert in 1666 after the Great London Fire. The London fire destroyed thousands of houses, businesses, 87 churches, and killed tens of thousands of people. And the man who confessed to starting it? A disabled man in a wheelchair who wasn't even in London on the day that it started. It is speculated that Robert Hubert, after slight suspicion on behalf of the king, was interrogated or even tortured for a confession. According to Rob Jones of History of Forensic Psychology, “Despite the many obvious flaws and impossibilities in Hubert's confession, a scapegoat was needed” (Jones 1). “Only around the 1980’s did psychologists and other social scientists begin to truly investigate the phenomena of the false

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