The Crucible

The Crucible

The trumped-up witch hysteria in Salem,

Massachusetts, deteriorated the rational, and emotional stability of its
citizens. This exploited the populations weakest qualities, and insecurities.

The obvious breakdown in Salemís social order led to the tragedy which
saw twenty innocent people hung on the accusation of witchcraft. Arthur

Miller, author of The Crucible, used hysteria to introduce personality
flaws in vulnerable characters. A rigid social system, fear, and confusion
were evident conditions that became prevalent before and during the witchtrials.

These conditions only contributed to the tragedy in Salem.

The isolation of the Puritan society created
a rigid social system that did not allow for any variation in lifestyle.

The strict society that was employed at this time had a detrimental effect
on the Proctor family. John Proctor, a hard working farmer who had a bad
season the year before and struggling this year was occasionally absent
at Sunday service. This was due to the fact he needed to tend to his crops.

Also, Proctor did not agree with the appointment of Mr. Parris as the newest
minister, and therefore did not have his last child baptized. With the
latest craze of witchery and swirling accusations, John Proctor was easily
indicted of being a messenger for the devil by the testimony of his disillusioned
servant Mary Warren, who in the past committed perjury. The court who heard
the testimony easily accepts it because she is a church going person, while

John Proctor slightly deviates from the norm. This transfer of blame is
also noticeable when the truth is first discovered about what the girls
were doing in the woods. The girls were not blamed. The blame was put on

Tituba, the "black" slave who was said to have "charmed" the girls. Abigail
swears that "she [Tituba] made me do it".(pg.40) It is obvious that in
the Puritan society that whatever did not conform to what the masses had
decided as proper, then the deviated, but innocent, were to blame. This
practice contributed to the tragedy in Salem.

The fear of what was unknown created an
uneasiness within Salemís population that added to Salemís social demise.

The circumstances surrounding the witchtrials gave residents something
to blame the supernatural on. The condemning of Tituba was mainly due to
this. When Tituba took the girls into the woods, and they performed their
ceremony, something the Puritans were not accustom to, she convicted of
witchery. Along with Tituba, Martha Corey was indicted solely because she
would not allow Giles to read them. Giles also stated that "I tried and
tried and could not say my prayers. And then she close her book and walks
out of the house, and suddenly--mark this--I could pray again!"(pg.38)

This evidence of witchery is preposterous. The only thing that is true
is that Giles was not allowed to read the books, and because he did not
what the books contained, he feared them. This type of reaction throughout
the community to the supernatural, and what was not known indicted many
people, and contributed to the tragedy in Salem.

The state of mass confusion in Salem created
a society of individuals who were only concerned with what was good for
them, so that they would not be the next one implicated in the witchery
scandal. This situation is clearly evident after Hale becomes privy to
the true story of what happened in the woods. Abigail abandons Tituba,
and accuses her of "sending her spirit on me in church; she makes me laugh
at prayer"(pg.41), and Abigail also says Tituba "comes to me every night
to go and drink blood"[devilís blood](pg.41). Abigail reacts like this
only to save her from being suspected of witchery. At the end of Scene

One, many community members are accused of consorting with the devil. These
names were given by all of the girls present that took part in the ritual
in the woods, in an attempt to return to the graces of God and to be declared
bewitched. This was a common reaction that many had when accused of witchery.It
led to confrontations which pitted neighbor versus neighbor and husband
versus wife. The delirium which created this situation aided in the misfortune
proceedings in Salem.

The evident destruction of Salemís social
order was due to rigid stipulations on deviation, fear of the unknown,
and mass confusion. These conditions left Salem susceptible to an apparent
epidemic such as witchcraft. The susceptibility that Salem fell victim
to, was the cause of a great tragedy which saw twenty townspeople hung
at the hands of the state. The Crucible written by Arthur Miller is a story
of a great catastrophe which highlights a "free