In "The Crucible," how do Abigail, John Proctor, Elizabeth, Tituba, and Rev. Parris fall victim to hysteria? Can you please provide some examples? I have to write a paper about it and i...

In "The Crucible," how do Abigail, John Proctor, Elizabeth, Tituba, and Rev. Parris fall victim to hysteria?

Can you please provide some examples? I have to write a paper about it and i am totally confused about the hysteria part of the question.

Expert Answers
pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It began from the young girls, Abigail, Betty and others, along with Tituba, who is from Barbados and does harmless chants and tells stories, dancing in the woods.  This is strictly forbidden by the Puritan code of behavior.

Rev Parris finds the girls dancing in the woods, and the girls get terrified about how much trouble they will get into.  As a result, Betty fakes being sick, pretending that she cannot wake up.  Her father Rev Parris, the Pastor of Salem's church, summons Rev Hale, an authority on witchcraft, to come and help Betty and others.

Betty is terrified, when Hale finds out about the dancing, Tituba is forced to tell the story, to save herself from a severe beating she confesses to witchcraft.  Part of confessing is naming others you saw with the devil.  Abigail seizes the opportunity, also confessing to witchcraft as do the other girls, who start screaming names of people they saw with the devil.

This is done to cover their serious mistake of dancing and conjuring in the woods.  They were looking for entertainment, bored teenage girls with nothing to do except worship and work.

Proctor gets dragged in because Abigail accuses his wife Elizabeth of witchcraft to get rid of her, because she is in love with her husband.  They had an affair when she worked for them.      

The hysteria builds and builds as the girls become the sole authority on identifying witches in Salem.

Read the study guide:
The Crucible

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