Depiction of Mass Hysteria in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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About this sample


Words: 1011 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Oct 2, 2020

Words: 1011|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Oct 2, 2020

More than 200 were accused of witchcraft in Salem and around 20 people were executed. Having anything to do with Witchcraft in Salem, 1692 was bad and would have got you in huge trouble. Hysteria is where someone creates extreme fear among a group of people and in Salem that was from the ideas of witchcraft. The extent of mass hysteria in Salem described by Millers’ interpolations in the Crucible is a ‘perverse manifestation of the panic…to turn towards greater freedoms.’ The girls scapegoating innocents is a by-product of an austere community that ‘forbids anything resembling…vain enjoyment’ such as dancing in the woods. Through the destruction that ensues in Salem from an oppressed group of girls, Miller suggests that society should analyse itself for the cause.

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Abigail is most to blame for causing hysteria within the town of Salem because she manipulated people with fear to protect herself. Abigail strategically influenced people to get what she wanted or get people to think a certain thing. First, Abigail yells at the girls:

“Abigail: Now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam's dead sisters. And that is all. And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you”.

This is demonstrating how Abigail is threatening the girls who were in the woods not to say a single word about the things they did other than dancing and Tituba conjuring. This demonstrates how Abigail is manipulating the girls to stay quiet because she is stating if they say or breath anything then she will come for them. This will get the girls scared to say anything because they would be scared, which is exactly what Abigail wants. This will also cause the town to now get the truth and still believe what was presented. Second, Betty states that Abigail drank blood:

“Betty: You did, you did! You drank a charm to kill John Proctor's wife! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor!

Abigail: smashes her against the face: Shut it! Now shut it!”.

This demonstrates how she is manipulating Betty now to say anything by fear as she slapped her. Abigail wants Betty to know that if she ever says anything again to anyone that she will hurt them so this creates fear among her. Lastly, this continues the mass hysteria among the town since no one will know the truth about everything, causing a great amount of confusion for who did everything.

Abigail is most to blame for causing hysteria within the town of Salem because she accused innocent people to protect herself from punishment. Abigail does anything she needs to just to make sure she doesn't get in trouble and this causes innocent people to be accused. First, Abigail starts to accuse people to Parris, Betty, and Hale:

”Abigail: I saw Goody Sibber with the Devil… I saw Alice Barrow with the Devil… I saw Goody Hawkins with the Devil… I saw Goody Booth with the Devil”.

This demonstrates how Abigail is accusing these people who she doesn’t even and that were never in the woods. These people are innocent and have nothing to do with conjuring spirits or partaking in witchcraft but Abigail is throwing out all these names so that everyone will worry about everyone else causing her to get out of the punishment. Second, Abigail is questioned by Reverend Hale and states, “Abigail: She made me do it”. This is demonstrating how she lied to Hale that Tituba made her drink the blood because all she wants to do is protect herself and she will accuse anyone she has to just to make sure she is not punished for the things she has done. Now that Abigail is accusing innocent people of things they have never done has now created all this question about whos a witch and who brought the devil to Salem which is causing mass, widespread fear throughout the town which is just another worry for everyone. Lastly, Abigail will do anything she needs, accusing innocent people, just to make sure she isn’t getting in trouble

Some may point out that Tituba was to blame for the mass hysteria as she was the one who made Abigail drink the blood and she was conjuring spirits. Abigail states that Tituba was conjuring spirits and that she pressured Abigail to drink the blood which has caused the spirits to be summoned and is the cause of all the sickness. Abigail accuses Tituba, “She made me do it”. Tituba, in this case, would be the cause of the mass hysteria since she caused everyone to be scared about spirits and the sickness of townspeople. This is all wrong, Abigail lied about Tituba’s intentions to get herself out of trouble and others in deeper trouble. Tituba is not conjuring spirits and did not pressure Abigail to drink the blood. While Betty and Abigail are talking Betty states, “You drank blood, Abby! You didn't tell him that!”. We find out that Tituba was not pressuring Abigail to drink the blood, rather Abigail drank it herself to try and kill Elizabeth Proctor. It was also Tituba who was only trying to bring back Ruth's dead sisters and not that she was conjuring spirits which Abigail states. Lastly, Tituba is not to blame for the mass hysteria as Abigail lied to save herself from punishment

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Overall, hysteria is brought upon throughout the town of Salem. Abigail is the most to blame for starting the mass hysteria crisis as she accused many innocent people who she may not have known and manipulated fellow people with the idea of fear to get herself out of punishment for the actions she did. People should know how one thing can lead to another. For example in the book Abigail causes the mass hysteria in the town just because she was protecting herself. For society, today and day to day life, manipulating and accusing innocent people who did nothing just to save yourself, in most cases, causes huge problems in the future whether if its the person attacking you or you get punished.

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Depiction of Mass Hysteria in the Crucible by Arthur Miller. (2022, Jun 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“Depiction of Mass Hysteria in the Crucible by Arthur Miller.” GradesFixer, 10 Jun. 2022,
Depiction of Mass Hysteria in the Crucible by Arthur Miller. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
Depiction of Mass Hysteria in the Crucible by Arthur Miller [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Jun 10 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from:
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