How Is the human experience of cruelty shown through the theme of self-preservation that leads people to commit unspeakable atrocities in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"? How is this same human experience and theme shown in The Crucible by Arthur Miller?

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In “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, evil arises out of the need for self-preservation in that people in the small town depicted in the story genuinely believe that committing an annual act of human sacrifice is essential to maintaining the overall well-being of the community.

In killing someone each year...

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In “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, evil arises out of the need for self-preservation in that people in the small town depicted in the story genuinely believe that committing an annual act of human sacrifice is essential to maintaining the overall well-being of the community.

In killing someone each year in such a ritualized manner, the townsfolk are convinced that their crops will be protected. And in protecting their crops, they believe that they're also protecting themselves. This attitude leads them to commit unspeakable acts of murder year after year without any moral qualms.

A different kind of self-preservation can be observed in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Once the witch-craze gets underway, everyone is frightened that the finger of suspicion will be pointed at them and that they'll end up going to the gallows on trumped-up charges of witchcraft.

As a consequence, many of the townsfolk of Salem start making false accusations of their own to settle scores with their enemies and also to make it look like they're not involved in any kind of witchcraft themselves.

As with “The Lottery,” the end result is the same: innocent people killed in acts of cruelty arising from superstition and a powerful impulse of self-preservation.

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