##tribution Of Hysteria To The Breakdown Of Society In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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Portraying the contribution of hysteria to the breakdown of society, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible depicts the moral trials of Puritan man, John Proctor, as he attempts to save the women of Salem from accusations of witchcraft made by his young mistress, Abigail Williams. By exploring the text through both socio-political-historical and gender perspectives, the power dynamic between males and females, as well as the suppression of society through fear, may be explored through the text and related to the social and political climate of Miller’s time to reveal ideas regarding the repression of free thought and unfair treatment of individuals during the McCarthy era. Socio-political-historical Perspective The 1953 play was written by Miller to indirectly comment on the social and political happenings of his time. The Salem witch trials of The Crucible are used as an allegory to the investigations conducted by the House of Un-American Activities Committee into communists residing in America during the 1940s and 1950s. The moral panic and rampant hysteria generated by these trials are compared to the sweeping fear of witchcraft in Salem, 1692 to critique the irrational madness of McCarthyism. Oppression of political opinion and suspicion of one’s neighbours pervaded the era in which Miller wrote his play, with the rising fear of communism prompting hysteria among the masses. The anti-communist investigations conducted by Senator McCarthy during the time were fed by this hysteria

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