Fear of Unknown In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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Fear of the unknown, a person’s natural tendency of perceived fear based on an absence of information at different levels of consciousness. This year celebrates the 65th anniversary of ‘The Crucible’ written by Arthur Miller based on the Salem Witch trials in 1692. He was denounced for discourtesy and condemnation of the U.S. Congress as Miller was ineffective in providing names of various individuals who attended consultations with him, this encouraged Miller to write a play reflecting the political madness fabricated when the United States Government fought to overpower radical liberal action and communism and to secure his career as a critically acclaimed journalist and playwriter.

‘The Crucible’ is a parable for the McCarthyism insanity. McCarthyism is the premise of the Salem witch prosecutions displayed throughout the play. Joseph McCarthy a representative who misused and exploited the fear of others, to gain political power. The Salem Witch trials, and McCarthyism were both used to ruin reputations. The accusations were based on little to no evidence the accused committed the crime. If the accusers provided evidence, it was often biased and unreliable.

From the beginning of time, fear has prompted some of the most horrific actions by man and has collapsed some of the largest organisation. Miller illustrates throughout ‘The Crucible’ how fear can gradually cause deterioration to one’s rational thinking, prompting a widespread hysteria and panic.

The community of Salem, Massachusetts feared the unknown and what they couldn’t control. There fear of the unknown and supernatural fuelled the conflict throughout the community. They were terrified of being labelled as a witch if they communicate their disagreement with the trials. This is an example of the McCarthyism insanity, everyone feared being blacklisted because of association with or being a communist.

Abigail and several others were found dancing naked in the prohibited forest by Reverend Parris. When they attempt to conceal what they did, the issue just develops. The girls were afraid of what might occur if anyone found out want happened in the forest, they feared the unknown, there subconscious imagined the worst punishment. To conceal what they did Abigail abused and exploited the towns fear of the unknown, there subconscious imagined the worst punishment. Abigail and her adherents continued to accuse the multiple individuals for witchcraft acquiring no evidence.

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Fear is politically interchangeable through the media’s manipulation. Basic sources of anxiety regularly go unrecognized and denied. These characteristics are what give terrorist its political power. Terrorist use fear to ingrain power over society. The fear of crime is worse than crime itself. The media can inform and entertain, however the allegation that the media causes more harm than good concerning the effects of the public. Fear based stories pray on our anxieties and weakness they hold us hostage this is the case for terrorism.

Terrorist utilises social fear to gain and instil political power. Terrorist can cause genuine, harm however not through body tallies, but through disestablishing all normalcy characterising operational societies, by invading rational thinking by planting disunity within society. The media provides a misleading impression on Muslim’s and terrorist. When you think of terrorists what do you think of?? Islamist, executions 9/11, beared Arabs, women in burqas, bombings and mutilation are pictures that continue to govern Western newspapers overlook on Muslim’s. Western media portrays Muslim’s as culprits of brutality, torment and deprivation. The minority of Muslim’s, extremist use the bad media coverage to their advantage to instil fear and gain or increase their political power.

Fear can be used as a tool of manipulation. Manipulation is control someone has establish or tried to instil control over a situation in an underhanded manner for customarily for personal gain. In ‘The Crucible fear was utilised to control the community of Salem through false accusations of witchery. Arthur Miller elucidates this through various stylistic devices and characters, Elizabeth Proctor, typically an honest person for example was a victim of manipulation. Elizabeth was already aware her husband John Proctor committed adultery with the young Abigail Williams. Elizabeth’s apprehensions of tarnishing the Proctor name, despite John confessing the truth and pleading Elizabeth to tell the truth about the affair, she denies the accusations as fears John will be vexed, so she forfeits herself to protect the Proctor name. Manipulation protects the Proctor name, however aides Abigail to appear more reliable. Abigail utilises various methods of manipulation throughout ‘The Crucible’. She utilised the witch trials to accuse Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft so she could have John to herself, Abigail was driven by lust and temptation. Her manipulation tactics were used for her personal gain.

The society of Salem feared being called witches if they expressed their disagreement with the trials. For today’s society, climate change and our destructive ecological footprint. The unstable condition mother nature is the new nightmare distressing society. Climate pessimists are on a scaremongering campaign following any chance to pin naturally occurring environmental disasters on climate change. Ecological lobbyist sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg and activists’ groups such as extinction rebellion have only fuelled the conflict and is being used to generate fear in today’s society. It’s manipulation of data, opinion and beliefs that has created exceedingly biased view that is not supported by actual atmospheric data. Those behind the movement use it to gain power and control societies beliefs and manipulate their opinions. A large portion of the world’s population is unaware, unquestioning and has fallen victim to the Western media’s propaganda, causing a widespread of misapprehension. Whilst climate change is real issue and should not be overlooked, utilising fear as a tool of manipulation to achieve a point is not the correct approach nor ethical way to go about it.

Fear was used and still is used to gain power. Fear is used exploit societies fear of the unknown, prey on the weak, and manipulate societies opinions and beliefs to fit their own. ‘The Crucible’ is an example of how fear was used for personal gain. Abigail used fear to her advantage to manipulate the townsfolk especially John Proctor. Abigail was the ringleader, she used fear to gain power and drive the town into hysteria. This can be said for today’s society politicians, terrorist and activists all prey on societies fears to gain power just as Abigail did throughout ‘The Crucible’.

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Fear of Unknown In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/fear-of-unknown-in-arthur-millers-the-crucible/
“Fear of Unknown In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/fear-of-unknown-in-arthur-millers-the-crucible/
Fear of Unknown In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/fear-of-unknown-in-arthur-millers-the-crucible/> [Accessed 8 Aug. 2022].
Fear of Unknown In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2022 Aug 8]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/fear-of-unknown-in-arthur-millers-the-crucible/
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