Hysteria is the uncontrollable behavior observed when people experience intense states of emotions such as fear. The behavior often features irrationality and fits.
In the crucible, a story about the Salem witch trials, conflicts among the characters fueled the hysterical situation in the community. For instance, Parris discovered the girls dancing in the woods and suspected witchcraft. His daughter, niece, and servant were among those he discovered. He was worried about his reputation because of the existing conflict between him and a section of the community, represented by John Proctor.
When the issue of witchcraft came to the fore, Abigail took the opportunity to accuse Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft. Abigail had an intimate relationship with John when she worked for the family. After this was discovered, Elizabeth fired her. Abigail feigned fits of hysteria in order to implicate Elizabeth. She further framed Mrs, Proctor in order to enhance the credibility of her accusations.
There were two factions in the Salem community before the witch-trials. The two groups could not tolerate each other and in the ensuing trials, selfish interests took center stage. This as seen when Putnam pushed for Giles to lose his land so he could appropriate it.