The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

The Crucible book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What can be held responsible for the hysteria in Salem in The Crucible?

Expert Answers info

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write16,848 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

While there is a list of people in The Crucible responsible for the hysteria that grips Salem, a more interesting culprit might be the town's culture.

Abigail, the girls, Hathorne and Danforth, Reverend Parris, and the Putnams all help to cause the hysteria in Salem. We could even make a case that Hale played a role in encouraging the Salem hysteria.  However, Miller makes a point that Salem's culture was predisposed to the hysteria that is the basis for The Crucible.

Much of the analysis about Salem's culture comes from the Act I stage directions.  Miller's details help us gain insight into Salem.   Miller talks about the town's intense seriousness towards daily life.  They had "no novelists- and would not have permitted anyone to read a novel if one were handy."  There was no theatre or anything "resembling 'vain enjoyment."  Dancing and celebration were seen as work of "jokers" and not encouraged.  The town's extreme seriousness showed a lack of perspective. It is why panic...

(The entire section contains 620 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial