Essay, Research Paper
Individual psychological states are the combination of internal and exterior circumstances. In the town of Salem, a small Puritan Massachuteses town, there were The Salem Witch Trials. A group of young girls cried witch to get those who were innocent condemned by the town. No one actually saw the spirit of Satan, but the girls who cried witch started to gain influence and they actually threw the whole town into mass hysteria. Eventually, the girls had an emotional and psychological stronghold on every single resident. After a short period of time, not only did the girls started to believe the evil spirits were present, but the townsfolk too.
Psychologically, the girls of Salem were one up on everyone else. In the end it caused the hangings of many innocent people because of the one thing that they couldn t get enough of power. Abigail Williams, a conniving young girl, was the reason why all of this commotion started. She was the cornerstone of the witch trials; she could have prevented or terminated the trial with a few simple sentences the truth. Abigail was the catalyst to all of this mass hysteria, so it can be assumed that she had most of the power.
During the trials, when she thought someone that was accused might have a chance of being found innocent, she would flail her arms and scream at the top of her lungs that she saw a spirit. As soon as she began to act hysterically, the rest of the girls would follow her lead and start acting madly. Being accused a witch amongst Puritans was a harsh accusation with spectral evidence for the judge to try and examine, most of the trials were based on the word of the girls against the word of the defendant. If all of the young girls in the town cried, witch pointing at some poor person, it was many against one. In most cases, the many will prevail. The girls knew that they considerable amounts of power over the minds all every single person in Salem. The girls probably did not intend for anyone to die, but the thirst for power went to their heads. They were corrupted and that was their tragic flaw. Anyone who can hold an iron fist over people will get corrupted. For example, in the beginning of the movie, the girls probably never intended to hurt anyone; as the movie progressed to the hanging scene, they were all delighted to see people hang because they knew that they were the ones who decided who lives and who dies. All the girls were wallowing in the power that they had, but Abigail, along with John Proctor, did not buy into the evil spirits and mass hysteria.
Mass hysteria is an ugly thing to witness among a group of people anywhere. Within a town that is mass hysterical, lines will be drawn. People will start to fear, loathe and distrust other people whom they might have known for their whole lives. The public s perception of a person will drastically change if that person is unfortunate enough to be accused. One example of mass hysteria was the Salem Witch Trials, and a more recent example was Senator Joseph McCarthy. He was hysterical that there were Communists inside America and he wanted to root them out one by one. No one could escape his beady eyes; he became power crazy and accused many Hollywood actors and actresses, government workers, Jews, playwrights, and he even made the loony accusation that anyone with a goatee was a Communist. Friendships were torn, people couldn t get the same opportunities anymore, and those accused were looked upon as evil. McCarthy caused a great amount of hysteria in America in the 1950 s.
In the Crucible, there seemed to be two major factions within the mass hysterical Danforth, Parris, and Putnam against Proctor, Hale and Corey. Candidly, Proctor and company knew the truth, and the Danforth contingent didn t.
People becoming corrupted with power and hysterical can cause mass hysteria within towns and counties. It can happen anytime and anywhere. This phenomenon causes people to act differently and throws everyone out of sync because of the psychological and emotional turbulence it has on the mind. The girls in the Crucible had a significant amount of power over the people of Salem and took advantage of that; drunken with power, they manipulated the mind and had dreadful effects on everyone. Power has some benefits but power without restraint, in most cases has severe consequences.