The Use Of Mass Hysteria In The Crucible By Arthur Miller

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What do you think of when you think of mass hysteria? *hook* In the Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller, is both an allegory and tragedy where the Puritan society of Salem is attacked with the agitation of witchcraft. It all started with five young girls of the Salem society caught dancing naked around a bonfire. This practice is viewed upon by the Puritans as the task of the devil. In the beginning of the play, there was controversy about ownership of land between some of the villagers. Later in the story, people feared for their own safety and begin pointing fingers and accusing their neighbors of witchcraft in order to escape being hanged. This caused the society to get more and more separated as time went on. This emphasizes the idea of how fear and suspicion can destroy a society due to accusations, roundups, and forced confessions. Miller captures the evil of paranoia and fear in his play through emotions by letting them shine through his characters to make the audience feel the tension, the angst and the desperation throughout the play.

Arthur Miller includes a large number of logical fallacies such as scare tactic and slippery slope in order to emphasize the evil or paranoia and fear in his play through emotions of the characters. Miller exemplifies scare tactic when Abigail says “... I saw Indians smash my dear parents’ head upon the pillow next to mine, and I have seen reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!”

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