The Crucible By Arthur Miller (Superstition) Essay, Research Paper
Research Paper on Superstitions
Superstitions have a way of making their way throughout the years. Superstition is a belief or practice generally regarded as irrational and resulting from ignorance or from fear of the unknown (The Encyclopedia of Superstitions 8). In The Crucible by Arthur Miller the concept of superstitions arose that there was witches among the community. Superstition and fear were in every house, in every mind, when accusation was a conviction, when assertion of innocence was regarded as a confession of guilt. Now the intelligent people know better that witches never existed, that human beings never bargained with any devil, and that our pious savage ancestors were mistaken. Although superstition is something that can be scientifically proven wrong, they simple explanation for a coincidence (superstitions 1-4). Here are three most common superstitions and how they came about that have been passed on through history to this very day.
The most popular superstition is that if a black cat is crossing a person s path it will cause that person bad lucks before his or her journey is over. If this occurs the individual can take twelve steps backwards to ward off the bad luck (cat-report 6). This belief originated in ancient Egypt where the cat was considered sacred and to kill one was sacrilege. It is believed that the folklore surrounding the black cat began in the Middle Ages when it was associated with witches. It is likely that a black cat was the pet of some women accused of being a witch. Rumors began that the cat was able to change shape and help the witch cast spells. Since then, black cats have been associated with luck, both good and bad (Customs and Superstitions and their Romantic Origins 7).
Another popular superstition is that a person who walks under a ladder will have bad luck to come. Some believe it originates with the early Christian belief that a leaning ladder formed a triangle with the wall and ground. People must never violate the Holy Trinity by walking through a triangle (Silly Superstitions 9). Others believe that it dates back to Medieval Europe and the attacks upon castles. When invading a castle with its draw bridge up one of the means invading armies used was to place ladder on the walls and send troop up the ladders to fight their way into the castle. One of the defenses for this invasion was to pour boiling oil or tar down the sides of the castle wall to repel the invaders. Those unfortunate souls that had to hold the ladders in place often received a deadly bath. It quickly became apparent that one had to hold the ladder from the front and that it was extremely bad luck to hold it from under the ladder (Omens and Superstitions 1-3). Today it is often still bad luck to walk under a ladder because of paint and other objects that might fall from above.
The most common of all superstitions is Friday the thirteenth considered as a bad luck day. First of all the number thirteen is considered to be unlucky. It is originated from the bible, which is often considered a book of numbers. In the Bible the numbers 7, 12 and 40 appear throughout the Old and New Testaments. The number 12 is considered a lucky number. As a result, the number that follows 12 was thought to be evil (The Encyclopedia of Talismans, Charms and Superstitions 8). Friday is also considered to be unlucky by some. Some people believe that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden on a Friday, Noah s flood started on Friday, and Christ was crucifies on a Friday. Friday also is traditionally considered to be judgment day for the dead. It was, for many years, designated as a day for capital punishment and informally referred to as “hangman’s day (Omen and Superstitions 1). Most believers associated the number 13 with Friday, which originated in contemporary minds, from the fate of Jesus as the 13th guest among his 12 apostles in the Biblical account of the Last Supper. Then the next day, the crucifixion of Jesus, was a Friday. Also noted that twelve witches plus one devil are present at Satanic ceremonies so Friday and 13 make a deadly combination (Customs and Superstitions and their Romantic Origins 7). To this day people still believe in Friday the thirteenth.
From one generation after another superstitions have made their way through the course of History. Superstitions arise when people assume connections among things that happen in the past, present and future. People believe that if something resembles or has been in contact with another thing, that the two have a causal relationship. To back up these beliefs there is no evidence, and there never has been. These beliefs did not rest on any facts. Mistakes, exaggerations and lies supported superstitions. Like these most popular superstitions they are based on some truths but is exaggerated to explain the coincident. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, Abigail and all those girls stretch the truth to be able to accuse all those innocence people of witchcraft. Abigail used the connections from the past to her advantage in the present and caused misery in the future. The town members believed these girls in spite of the evidence or without evidence that all these people were guilty of witchcraft. All of this misery could have been avoided if the town members question the evidences or question that there was no evidence to condemn these people of witchcraft and not to follow the popular beliefs that there were witches among us. Even though superstition still exists, today an intelligent person knows better than to not believe in superstitions.