The Factors Of Fear, Stress And Doubt In The Crucible

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How much power can a teenage girl have? Enough to make her friends turn on someone? Enough for her parents to turn on someone? Or can a teenage girl have enough power to impact a whole town? This very idea was explored in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. In Miller’s play, the character Abigail Williams, convinces people to confess to witchcraft. Most of the main characters confessed because they were doubtful that no one would believe them and lost hope or got stressed out and flustered. Fear is a factor that defeats people, but it’s not the biggest factor, which leads us to believe other elements, such as doubt and stress, can defeat individuals more than fear.

One factor of defeat is setting high goals can lead to sadness and anger, which results in damaged mental health. Most Students who attend school are the ones who set high goals, especially for college. When a student is trying to get into the best school in the country, it may be hard. In order to achieve this goal, they may turn to problematic behaviors, such as, skipping sleep, meals and even enjoyable activities, such as sports, to study. Even after all that studying, they might not make it in. In this example, the student takes time to study and gives up so much to get into their dream school. When the college rejects them, it will it cause sadness and the feeling of wasted time that will defeat the student. This also can defeat them by making them believe that their best isn’t enough. In The Crucible, Abby Williams wanted to end up with Procter which was a long shot because Proctor had a wife. Even though they slept together, Procter doesn’t want to end up with Abigail, because in the 1700s everyone lived by the commandments and one of the ten was no cheating/ adultery. Abby’s plan was to get rid of Elizabeth Proctor by accusing her of witchcraft. Her plan backfired because Proctor ended up dead, and Abby couldn’t handle it and ran away( I,ii). This is a great example because Abby’s great plan to end up with Procter ended with Procter dying and Elizabeth staying alive. Abby was defeated because her plan was ruined and she had to run away.

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Stress is also a factor that is larger than fear, that gets the best of an individual, for stress can lead to bad mental health. In The Crucible, when Mary Warren tried to help John Proctor, all the intense emotions of sadness and aggravation flustered her and influenced her to ditch John and go with the girls (II, i).. Mary was already bothered by the testimony, and then she knew the girls will come after her. This stress adds up and becomes unhealthy for her, which leads her to go back with the girls, where it’s safe. Students also go through an excessive amount of stress. When a student needs to start two projects that are due, the student is already stressed out about getting it done. Then, the next day they get two more projects, and now they have for projects to finish, and the student is stressed out. This is a great example of stress defeating people because the student didn’t have time the student procrastinated on the first projects and got stressed out, now they have 4 projects to start and the student is stuck and doesn’t know how or where to begin, and blames themselves for waiting so long. All this can ruin a person by damaging their self-esteem and self-worth.

When an individual constantly doubts themselves, it can easily be a bigger demotivator than fear. The character Tituba and all her problems through the plot were all started because she doubted herself. Tituba was the first one to be accused of witchcraft, and there were so many factors against her, which led her to doubt that no one was going to believe her up and finally confess (I, ii). Tituba was a slave from Barbados, which already put an easy target on her. She was also the first one to be blamed, so she had no one on her side. Tituba doubted that anyone would back her up, so she was defeated and lost all hope. It was down to death or jail, and she chose jail. Doubting yourself can be so damaging, and when an individual doubts that they can’t get that English grade higher and keeps telling themselves that it’s impossible and unattainable all day, that will defeat them and waste their time. All the doubt can get into the head of the student and defeat them more than fear can. If the student ever thought, “well maybe I can do this.” All this doubting can ruin all the motivation the student once had; The thought of getting the grade up is impossible and is getting the best of the student.

Fear doesn’t overpower a person’s self-worth and self-esteem as much as other factors such as doubt and stress. With so much going on, stress is a major part of the lives of many. Success is what people strive for, but when stress gets in the way, it can be hard to achieve. When stress adds up, it can decrease the motivation a person has and can make the person think it’s impossible to get everything done. This leads them to not do anything and taking a big step backward than forwards.

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