Which character is most to blame for all of the witchcraft hysteria that breaks out in Salem in The Crucible?

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A number of arguments could be made and supported with anecdotal evidence from the text, but when we evaluate the play as a whole, it becomes very difficult to apportion blame. If one character is most to blame, then it would logically follow that another character might be completely blameless. It seems, rather, that Arthur Miller aims to demonstrate exactly the opposite. Everyone in Salem is responsible; no one can be completely exempted from blame.

Miller presents the situation as mass hysteria: each individual does not merely pass their heightened suspicions along to one other person, but every community member infects others in an ever-widening net of suspicion. The specific accusations mushroom into an epidemic where guilt is attached by contagion. Accordingly, as each person is suspected, they not only claim their innocence but often try to push the blame onto other people; the more they successfully implicate, the more their hopes grow of being exonerated themselves.

The senior...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 838 words.)

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