The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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What are some quotes from characters in The Crucible that relate to mass hysteria?

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At the beginning of Act Two, Elizabeth Proctor tells her husband, John, that "There be fourteen people in the jail now [...]."  This is a number that he can hardly believe, and yet, when Mary Warren returns home, she tells the couple, "There be thirty-nine now."  The incredibly rapid increase in the number of accusations and imprisonments is sure evidence of the growing hysteria.  Then, when Ezekiel Cheever arrives, shortly after Mary's return, he says that he was "given sixteen [new] warrant[s] tonight."  This means that the number of accused witches has gone from thirty-nine to fifty-five in the span of an hour or two: yet more evidence of the growing hysteria.

Further, toward the end of Act Two, John cries

Why do you never wonder if Parris be innocent, or Abigail?  Is the accuser always holy now?  Were they born this morning as clean as God's fingers?  I'll tell you what's walking Salem -- vengeance is walking Salem.  We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little...

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