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Life is dictated by an inborn hunger or purpose, and people, in general, will act on this hunger for their own personal gain in their individual ways. This hunger, be it for wealth, land, love, power, revenge, or pride, can, and will be the undoing or failing of all mankind as Arthur Miller so clearly points out in his play ?The Crucible?.

Reverend Parris is the character that initiates the hysteria of the Salem witch trials, in a community where authorities wasted no time minding the business of it?s citizens, what should have been seen as teen frivolity was blown into one of the ugliest moments in American History. Parris sparks this by firstly acting on his own paranoia and calling Reverend Hale in an attempt for self-preservation ??.if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it.? This statement says a lot about the character of Reverend Parris: a greedy, power hungry man who is more concerned with his own reputation than the souls of his niece and daughter. He always acts on fear, a fear that he will lose his position of power in the community. Parris does not want the trials to end as a fraud because the scandal of having a lying daughter and niece would end his career in Salem.

Salem citizens in general were afraid of all ungodly things with their Puritan views. They had no trouble believing that, because Parris had called Reverend Hale, (known for his studies in demonic arts), there must truly be witchcraft within the town. Human failings were acted upon for personal gain and position in the Salem society. Religion pervades every aspect of life, but it is a religion that lacks the ritual of confession. Throughout the play we see how this affects John Proctor, a man so proud of his name that guilt eats at his very heart, as he will not let out his secret pain in a vain attempt to keep his integrity. As there is no ritual outlet to manage emotions such as anger, jealousy, or resentment these trials became to many an outlet for the expression of these conflicts within the acceptable bounds of defending God. Abigail uses the fear within her community to cultivate and expose more and more of the conflicts in that town and the society loses itself to hysteria. If Abigail and her friends point at someone and go into hysterics, that person is arrested for bewitching the girls. The community fears the depravation of their names and standing, and quickly they will offer the names of others to save their own. Friends and neighbors cannot defend the innocence of their neighbors without putting their own innocence in doubt.


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