In Arthur Millers, “The Crucible,” many themes are expressed throughoutthe play. Themes are the undertone of the story. A theme of a book usually setsthe mood and describes what is happening during the time that the story iswritten. “The Crucible” has many themes that show how everything was and howeveryone acted in the year of 1692, in Salem, Massachusetts. Mass hysteria isthe most obvious theme in the story.
Mass hysteria is represented everywheretrouble was. One example is at the end of act one when the girls are screaming,crying, and starting to accuse people of being with the devil. When thishappens, everyone gets scared and calls the marshal. The marshal begins toarrest people and brings them to court. The whole reason mass hysteria broke outis because of Abigail. One vengeful accusation from Abigail to her rival,Elizabeth Proctor, turns the whole village upside down.
This confusion andmadness is one of the main reasons so many lives were taken at the trials. Thisbecomes a place where reasonable human beings can become released in anenvironment that allows little opportunity for relaxing. Another theme duringthe play is how much religion ruled these peoples lives. The court was the mainruling body of justice and was run by the church. The concept of justice in 1692is shown when Arthur Miller dedicates the entire third act to the courtroom.
Abigail pressures the girls to lie in court in order to accuse everyone thatthey didnt get along with of witchcraft. The separation of church andgovernment didnt exist in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. Theocracy meant thatMassachusetts was to be governed by God’s laws. But this mixing up of the lawsof God and the laws of government set up the chaos of the Salem witch trials.Greed and revenge was another major aspect that was shown in the story. Severalcharacters find profit in this mass hysteria and try to change some events fortheir own needs and well-being. Thomas Putnam gains land by having his daughterRuth accuse his neighbors of witchcraft.
Also, Abigail gets revenge on theProctors when her affair with John has been turned off. Superstition was thebiggest cause of these trials. There were no real witches in Salem. Without thesuperstitious belief in witchcraft, this tragedy would have never happened.Arthur Miller clearly explains the how people react to things they do notunderstand.
These were examples why The Salem Witch Trials happened. The themeof the story keeps the plot going. Themes are one of the most important parts ina play. Arthur Miller gives good examples and explains what it was really likeback in 1692 by showing how people acted. All these different moods and themesled up to the witch trials.
If all these untrusting feelings, superstitions, andattitudes didnt exist the trials would have probably never existed.