- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

The True Causes of Salem's Community Collapse

By:   •  Essay  •  916 Words  •  March 15, 2010  •  466 Views

Page 1 of 4

The True Causes of Salem's Community Collapse

The True Causes of Salem’s Community Collapse

Arthur Miller’s depiction The Crucible is directly related to the blacklisting of the late 1940’s and 1950’s. Blacklisting was an action carried out by the HUAC to battle against communism in the United States. The process that frequently would transpire started with an individual alleging without evidence. They would deliberately execute this in order to blotch someone’s reputation. In response, the accused often retaliated by accusing the accuser. The result would be imprisonment, meticulous interrogation, and harassment. Blacklisting occurred typically to famous writers, screenwriters, politicians, and actors. Blacklisting consequently led to the breakdown of Hollywood. Although in comparison to Salem, it was on a much lesser degree. The deterioration of Salem’s social structure was initiated by Abigail and Tituba, escalated by the failure of the justice system, and intensified following each rumor passed in order to avoid blame and benefit them.

Whenever Tituba started pointing her finger at others, the community responds by pointing their fingers at each other. Collective hysteria took its course and “snowballed” out of control. Tituba begins the chaos by announcing the first names. She says, “Aye, sir, and Goody Osburn” (Act. 1 848) in response to Parris pressing for names. I believe this and Hale’s inspiring nature leads to Abigail confessing names and admitting dancing for the devil. Once the 1st names were stated, Tituba and Abigail knew that they could not back out. They continued the lied by declaring, “I saw Goody Sibber with the Devil” or “I saw Alice Barrow with the Devil” (act 1 849), and many other names. Tituba and Abigail were the obvious cause to the breakdown of the community, but looking deeper into the collapse of the society, other contributors can be found.

The justice system of Salem failed to do its job under the pressure of witchcraft accusations towards others. A justice system is designed to protect the people, prevent injustices, and provide remedies to those wronged. In Salem, the system used did not bare these guidelines. Instead, Mary Warren proclaims, “Abby, we’ve got to tell. Witchery’s a hangin’ error, a hangin’ like they done in Boston two year ago! We must tell the truth, Abby!...” (Act 1 847) Here the reader finds out that they could be killed for their actions even if it was just dancing. Also, later we find out that the alleged had two choices. Either confess and be imprisoned, or deny being guilty and be put to death. This system really failed with these conclusions. Solid evidence should have been provided and fair trials been carried out. The puritan church was deeply in opposition to dancing and would act prematurely without proof of the situation. Witchcraft was considered the “highest” form evil in a puritan society. Knowing this fact, having incriminating evidences should have been the prerequisite to death.

The people of Salem passed on the rumors of witchcraft in order to avoid blame being placed on them and benefit fiscally. This conception of avoiding blame by blaming others caused Salem’s

Continue for 3 more pages »  •  Join now to read essay The True Causes of Salem's Community Collapse
Download as (for upgraded members)