The Crucible

How the Actions of the Court Amplified Hysteria and Expedited the Trials in The Crucible 10th Grade

How is it possible that the actions of a single institution can completely decimate the physical and societal structure of an entire town? In Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, this situation comes to pass in Salem, Massachusetts during the 1690’s. The actions and decisions made by Salem’s court regarding the infamous witch trials unravel the townspeople's sanity and push them to hysteria. Considering the time period, and the unyielding focus on religion that came with it, the court's actions were thought to be within reason. However, the court’s religious bias and single-minded values only amplified the town’s hysteria and expedited the trials.

From the start of the trails, the religious bias of the court has been evident in every one of its decisions. The officials of the court let their belief in God and the Bible wholly influence their decisions regarding the case and blind them to the truth. For instance, when Goody Osburn is on trial for witchcraft, the technique the court uses to assess her innocence is the recitation of the Ten Commandments. According to Mary Warren, Danforth asked Osburn to recite the commandments but “‘...of all the ten she could not say a single one’” (Miller 1272). This admissible piece of evidence...

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