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Theme Of Hysteria In The Crucible

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In a small village close to 300 years ago a group of girls were accused of performing witchcraft; one girl would change the town forever. Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible is a powerful portrait of what life was like during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. When hysteria takes over Salem, it creates chaos for in the minds of a conservative Puritan settlement as people believe witchcraft is poisoning the minds of their young. Hysteria is an exaggeration of an emotional response to a stressful situation. In May of 1693, over two-hundred innocent lives were accused of witchcraft. Hysteria continues to impact modern day society. Historic tragedies create hysteria causing people to have poor judgement and hurt fellow human beings. First, hysteria changed characters actions’ in the play The Crucible. For example, a woman named Ann Putnam, also known as Goody Putnam, lost seven children due to complications during childbirth. She claims, “is it natural work to lose seven children before they live a day?” (Miller 40). She believes a witch stole her children. She blames the Devil because it was unnatural to lose that many children during labor. Ann becomes hysterical a her fears of being “sinned by God” continue to grow. In Salem, “sinned by God” is a religious crime with execution being the primary punishment. She has the urge to blame everyone but herself, including, Rebecca Nurse her good friend. Her husband, Mr. Putnam, agrees with her, “She cannot bear to hear the Lord’s name,
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