Witch Hunts

Witch-hunting hysteria often follows a close investigation upon the activities not solely limited for society, but specifically individual experiences. The frame of the play is set in a theocratic and puritan society where any human event out of the ordinary is immediately subjected to criticism, stereotyping, and bias.

The lack of scientific proof often indulges people, specifically the persons in the play, to associate things out of the ordinary with the supernatural which, under the cultural aspect of theocratic structure, is unacceptable, taboo, and punishable.Miller tries to implicate the phenomenological event of mass hysteria and ‘witch-hunting’ even in the prevailing contemporary structure today. The common term for ‘witch-hunting’ often comes into context as the purge of women who practice black magic and associate themselves with the devil. In a puritan context, the condemnations of such persons are justified by the doctrine of the Church which provides an authoritative entity in such matters. In our context today, the terms ‘witch-hunting’ and ‘hysteria’ are further implied in a more contemporary way.

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Mass hysteria derives from the unreasonable panic brought about by certain conditions which affect or alter the normal way of living (e.g. financial/economic crisis, corporate fallout, etc.).

In this context, witch-hunting involves the apprehension or elimination of individuals, precedents, or causes which provoke hysteria without probable cause or explanation. Society has then the ultimate responsibility to first appeal to reason and rational judgement when it comes to unjustified provocation of mass panic. Better judgement should prevail over unreasonableness in situations that capitalize on fear or panic since society will remain in disorder and chaos until reason can be realized.



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