Examples of Superstition in The Crucible

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 636 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 19, 2024

Words: 636|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 19, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Belief in Spectral Evidence
  3. Manipulation of Superstition by Abigail Williams
  4. Belief in the Supernatural
  5. Superstitious Rituals and Practices
  6. Superstition Surrounding Religious Rituals and Symbols
  7. Superstition's Influence on Beliefs and Perceptions
  8. Conclusion


In Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, superstition plays a crucial role in the lives of the characters. Set in the puritanical society of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, the play explores the hysteria surrounding the Salem witch trials. Superstition, defined as a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, or trust in magic or chance, permeates the lives of the characters, driving their actions and shaping their beliefs. This essay will examine several examples of superstition in The Crucible, shedding light on the profound impact it has on the characters and their society.

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Belief in Spectral Evidence

One prominent example of superstition in the play is the belief in spectral evidence. Spectral evidence refers to the testimony of witnesses who claimed to have seen the accused witches' spirits or apparitions engaging in malevolent acts. This type of evidence was considered highly persuasive by the court, despite lacking any tangible proof or scientific basis. The characters' belief in spectral evidence demonstrates their reliance on superstition rather than reason and logic.

Manipulation of Superstition by Abigail Williams

The character of Abigail Williams, the primary instigator of the witch trials, manipulates this superstition to her advantage. She accuses innocent individuals of witchcraft, citing spectral evidence as her justification. Abigail's ability to exploit the superstitious beliefs of the community reveals the power of superstition in fueling mass hysteria and irrational behavior.

Belief in the Supernatural

Another example of superstition in The Crucible is the belief in the supernatural. Many characters, driven by their fear and ignorance, attribute natural events or misfortunes to supernatural causes. For instance, after Betty Parris falls into a coma-like state, her father, Reverend Parris, immediately assumes that she has been possessed by the devil. This belief in the supernatural leads to paranoia and a witch-hunt mentality among the townspeople.

Superstitious Rituals and Practices

Furthermore, the characters in the play often resort to superstitious rituals and practices in an attempt to protect themselves from witchcraft. In Act One, Tituba, a slave from Barbados, is asked by Reverend Parris to reveal the name of the person responsible for bewitching the girls. In her desperation, Tituba confesses to being a witch and accuses others, engaging in a superstitious ritual aimed at appeasing the authorities and avoiding punishment.

Superstition Surrounding Religious Rituals and Symbols

The play also explores the superstition surrounding religious rituals and symbols. In the puritanical society of Salem, religious symbols such as the Bible and prayer held great significance. However, these symbols are often misinterpreted or misused, leading to misguided actions and false accusations. For example, when Mary Warren gives Elizabeth Proctor a poppet (a doll) as a gift, it becomes a crucial piece of evidence against Elizabeth when a needle is found in it. The needle is considered a sign of witchcraft, despite its innocent origins. This demonstrates how superstition can distort the meaning of symbols and lead to unfounded accusations.

Superstition's Influence on Beliefs and Perceptions

Superstition in The Crucible is not limited to the actions of the characters but also influences their beliefs and perceptions. The townspeople's belief in witchcraft is fueled by their fear of the unknown and their desire to make sense of the unexplainable. This superstition blinds them to the possibility of rational explanations and leads them to embrace irrational and harmful beliefs.

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In conclusion, The Crucible vividly portrays the destructive power of superstition in a society gripped by fear and paranoia. The characters' belief in spectral evidence, the supernatural, and the misinterpretation of religious symbols highlight the profound influence of superstition on their lives. Arthur Miller's play serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the dangers of succumbing to irrational beliefs and the importance of reason and critical thinking. By shedding light on the examples of superstition in The Crucible, we gain a deeper understanding of the characters and their society, inspiring us to question our own beliefs and biases.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Examples Of Superstition In The Crucible. (2024, March 19). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 13, 2024, from
“Examples Of Superstition In The Crucible.” GradesFixer, 19 Mar. 2024,
Examples Of Superstition In The Crucible. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 13 Jul. 2024].
Examples Of Superstition In The Crucible [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 19 [cited 2024 Jul 13]. Available from:
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