A Goodness In Humankind Essay Research Paper

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A Goodness In Humankind Essay, Research Paper In 1692, the Salem Village of Massachusetts fell victim to an outbreak of mass hysteria caused by a fear of witchcraft. This fear of witchcraft was caused by a small group of girls who accused innocent people of the village of being under the influence of the devil and harming them with spells of witchcraft. How would a town so concerned with religion react to such crazy accusations? Arthur Miller describes such reactions to these in The Crucible. In this story Miller describes how different people having different perspectives on the events handle this type of hysteria. Some people join the afflicted girls and participate in the hysteria out of fear for their lives. Others grow suspicious and try to find an explanation on how

honest these girls, or “victims”, are in accusing them otherwise innocent people of witchcraft, if witchcraft is even the cause of the girls’ hysteria. Arthur Miller writes the play to demonstrate that human nature is actually good regardless of how easily humans can be influenced by the spread of evil. Miller illustrates how pressure created by fear, intolerance, and frustration can cause people to accept their personal responsibilities. Although fear often drives people away from their responsibilities in the story, it is shown that a person’s fear can push him to realize and accept his purposes and responsibilities. John Proctor, a main protagonist in the story, realizes how dangerous the witchcraft accusations are when the court officials arrest his wife, Elizabeth,

for witchcraft and attempted murder: “‘…The little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!…I’ll not give my wife to vengeance!’’’ (Miller 77). John Proctor is fearful for his wife. Before his wife was arrested, John was really unaware of the extent of danger behind the accusations of witchcraft in the village. At first, he feels suspicious about the hysterical girls’ behavior, but the fact that the trials did not directly affect his family makes him handle the events less seriously. Elizabeth’s arrest was a wake up call for John because now he is alert and aware that the witchcraft accusations must be stopped because innocent people are being put to death. As he reacts to his wife’s arrest, he makes a very

important decision. It is up to him to protest against the ongoing trials because no one else will. He then discovers that Mary Warren, the family’s servant knows much about the trials because of her role as a officer of the court. “‘You’re coming with me, Mary, you will tell it in the court…We will slide together into our pit; you will tell the court what you know.’’’ (80). John discovers that Mary knows that he witchcraft accusations are false. He thin comes to this decision that it is his responsibility, as well as Mary Warren’s, to tell the court that the hysteria in Salem is based on lies and false accusations. It is because of a fear for Elizabeth’s life that John realizes his individual responsibility to save his wife, as well as to protect other

innocent people from being accused and sentenced to death. The story shows that frustration can not only cause a person to deny responsibility for an action, but also that it can cause a person to realize his errors and take responsibility to redeem himself as a good person, as Reverend John Hale demonstrates in the play. Reverend Hale first enters the play as a person who is called upon the village of Salem to find a cure for the illnesses caused by the witchcraft. He looks at his calling as a “beloved errand for him; on being called here to ascertain witchcraft he felt the pride of the specialist whose unique knowledge has at least seen publicly called for” (33). He takes his calling as a compliment, thinking that the people of Salem look up to him as a savior bearing good