Mass Hysteria Today And In The Crucible By Arthur Miller

1689 words - 7 pages

Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible displays the absolute control that the ego can have on not only the individual but on a society as well. A person may think that witch hunts are a confection of the past because as a modern society we do not fall victim so easily to ploys such as those which were created by the young girls of Salem. This however is untrue because within my short lifetime I have seen that we have been programmed to be fearful of terrorists, Ebola, and even ourselves. A great majority of these anxieties have been trumpeted by our media, elected officials, and religious institutions. In seeking my full liberation from such fears, I have come to the greater understanding that love and wisdom are the essential tools for setting one’s own courses. Hence, my purpose is to love unconditionally while sharing my own wisdom with those who have the shared interest; this is my path to liberation. Utilizing events which happened in The Crucible and connecting them to our current culture, I will contend that we still live in a state of fear and are still struggling to progress beyond that level.
The constraints placed by social norms can create a feeling of isolation not only from other humans, but from nature and even the self. Our population has been divided, spliced and puréed according to a plethora of categories which include; gender, sexuality, economic status, “race”, ethnicity, religion, political party and so many more. It really is a wonder how anyone is able to identify themselves within these quarters, for these classifications really don’t allow for one to simply exist. Osho urges one to get out of these institutions, for they are “cages” with “beautiful names” (Osho 117). However, once one has consciously made the choice not to live within those boundaries “the whole universe is available” (Osho 117). We find that in The Crucible the “cages” are ever present with the repression of sexuality, division of class and a “holier than thou” mentality. This can be related to our modern day in the sense that we often mock and persecute those which do not fit into the predetermined states of being within our society. It is those people who are then considered to be the witches, figuratively speaking of course. However the persecutions of such “witches” are quite real and can be found throughout our history.
At the time of The Crucible’s release, The United States was going through yet another “witch hunt.” We find that people such as Senator McCarthy and Alger Hiss as well as many other actors, both on radio and television, were being placed out of work. “Why?” One may ask. The response is clear; it was the imposing fear of Communism which loomed over the nation that led to such measures. There existed circumstances in which citizens would not give false testimony; whereas the people of Salem were denying accounts of witchcraft, the citizens of Miller’s era were denying political affiliations. Robert Warshow takes the context and its...

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