Superstition in the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Grade Level: 10th
Date Created: September 18, 1995
Grade Received: B
In the seventeenth century, a belief in witches and witchcraft was almost
who are suspicious is accused of witchcraft and hanged. Arthur Miller wrote a
of the parish minister at Danvers were first afflicted. Their actions
of appetite and sickness. A belief quickly spread over Salem and throughout the
of their tormentors with their inner vision” (Miller 1082). and would
and the accused became so numerous that no one was safe from suspicion and its
consequences. Even those who were active in the prosecutions became objects of
Revenge often impelled persons to accuse others who were innocent and
when some statement of the accused would move the court and audience in favor of
the prisoner. “I saw Goody Osborn with the devil” (Miller 1060). The accuser
words in his or her ear. The absurd statement would be believed by the judges.
Some, terrified and with the hope of saving their lives or avoiding the horrors
of imprisonment, would falsely accuse their friends and relatives, while others
moved by the same hopes, would falsely confess themselves to be witches. Many
was one of the most strong prosecutors of alleged witches, was compelled to
resign his charge and leave the country.
The acknowledgments of error and pleadings for mercy, could not restore
the spirits of those who are hanged, nor make changes for the pains’ others had
it was not decreasing for more than a year. During that time nineteen had been
hanged, and Corey Giles who is killed by the horrid process of pressing to death
“more weight” (Miller 1113); until he died. In doing so, his family could keep
As one can see the power of superstition and the hearsay can distort the
The belief in witches did not end with the strange excitement. This strange
an unfavorable impression on others.
Experiance. Englewood cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1994.