The Crucible: Arthur Miller Shows How Fear and Suspicion Can Destroy a Community

The Crucible: Arthur Miller Demonstrates How Fear and Suspicion Can Ruin a Community

Style- Fear and Suspicion can destroy society The number of societies have been torn apart and ruined due to the worry of something unidentified or “unnatural”? Three of different celebrations enter your mind when thinking of the concept of a society being destroyed or perhaps just rocked by fear and suspicion. The very first of which is illustrated in The Crucible blogged about the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692. The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller in the early 1950’s which was when another of the three events was happening.

The United States was in the midst of the Cold War with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The fear and suspicion of Communist spies in the United States was excellent. The United States had trials much like those in the Salem Witchcraft Trials to discover those individuals who were not what they stated they were. The other celebration that comes to mind is the Holocaust in the late 1930’s thru about 1945.

During the time of the Holocaust Nazis, led by Adolf Hitler, took over European countries and locked up all Jews and other minorities they found that Hitler believed were the factor they lost World War I and he feared them and the possibility that they might attempt and take him out of power. Various societies have been taken down by fear and suspicion. The worry of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 torn apart the little Puritan neighborhood. In this period the neighborhood had a theocracy which is a federal government combined with religions.

The trials started due to the unexplainable conditions on Elizabeth Parris and her cousin Abigail Williams. They found no medical explanation for the disorders so the medical professionals presumed bewitchment. Quickly enough other girls started having the same symptoms and accused women of the community of witchcraft, therefore began the Salem Witchcraft Trials. In the eight months that the witchcraft trials took place twenty-seven individuals were convicted, more than 100 were locked up, one was pushed to death, and 19 were hanged (pg 1214).

Many of the characters in the play break down when they are accused of witchcraft and even questioned about it; this foreshadows the coming damage of the town and community during these trials. When the “spell” is broken and Betty begins to speak both her and Abigail start to accuse members of the neighborhood of witchcraft state “I saw George Jacobs with the Devil! I saw Goody Howe with the Devil!” and “I saw Goody Sibber with Devil” (Miller pg1235). This starts the downward spiral that is the fate of the town.

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In Act 2 you see how the accusations of witchcraft have impacted to neighborhood when they speak of whom all has actually been accused. The accusations go from simply little non-respected members of the neighborhood to higher standing members showing how everyone has actually gotten more and more paranoid and their fear has actually started to tear apart their community (pg 1242 and 1244). By the end of the play you become aware of cows wandering everywhere having no one keeping them (pg 1265) and the possibilities of a riot (pg 1266). These actions both show that the town’s worry of witchcraft has actually resulted in man y being locked up and eliminated.

They also reveal that the town no longer supports the trials and the destruction it has triggered the town. Suspicion and worry. They have actually messed up many societies and put others in tailspins. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible the Puritan community of Salem, Massachusetts the fear of witchcraft tears their neighborhood apart. It begins being a search to rid the town of the Devil. It quickly becomes a way to get the people you have actually quarrels with locked up and maybe even hanged with a false allegation. The fear and suspicion of anything unidentified can destroy a society and cost many people their lives.