How does fear influence the way people behave in Act Two of The Crucible?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fear influences how individuals act in the Second Act in a variety of ways.  One such way is that it prevents people from taking action in what they know is right.  John, himself, shows this.  On one hand, Elizabeth is right in terms of her insistence in John telling the authorities that the witchcraft accusations are false.  Yet, John does not go because he is afraid that no one will believe him in that he cannot offer proof of what transpired between them.  The idea here is that fear of being believed prevent John from doing what he and his wife know are right.  The escalation of the accused and the punishment meted out to them is also causing fear in the town, increasing both silence and complicity in the second scene.  The fear that is taking hold of the town, with Abigail at its helm, helps to create a setting where the pursuit of truth will invariably come at a significant and painful cost.