Mass Hysteria Essay

1838 words - 8 pages

Mass Hysteria
If you’re in a store with a large number of people you might get followed around. If you’re walking at night and you see a group of men ahead of you, you might cross the street. A group of people will alienate others or be alienated because there is something inside us that reacts unconsciously to fear. Our heightened fear of something can cause us to react hysterically. In an event of mass hysteria people will setout on a witch-hunt. Throughout history there have been numerous accounts of witch-hunts. A person’s or group of people’s beliefs/accusations can cause a whirlwind of hysteria in a society. As a result, innocent people are scapegoated in order to justify the ...view middle of the document...

This man is killing his neighbors for their land.”(Miller 99-100) In the story Thomas Putnam convinced his daughter to cry witch on George Jacobs so he could acquire his land. The third set of victims includes John Proctor and Giles Corey. John Proctor is accused after attempting to unveil the falsity of accusations against people in the town.
The accusers in the story are Abigail Williams, the Putnams, and the Girls of Salem. Abigail accuses Elizabeth Proctor because she is in love with John Proctor and jealous. She believes that with Elizabeth dead John will marry her. The Putnams, in the story, do not directly they accuse anyone. They instigate the situation and insinuate the people they want accused. The Girls of Salem accuse people because they themselves do not want to get in any trouble. They are scared and feel trapped so they follow what people are telling them to do. All evidence against those accused was completely spectral. None was concrete. Everyone went off of what the girls said happened and they believed them.
The big question is how did these people fall victim to an accusation such as witchcraft. What is it they really did that made people accuse them? The perceived crime in the story was that they were all guilty of witchcraft and conversing with the devil. Their actual crime was nothing as such. Rebecca Nurse’s actual crime was being smart and having many children, which made her the envy of Ann Putnam. George Jacobs’ actual crime was owning a large piece of land that was desired by the greedy Thomas Putnam. John Proctors real crime was standing up against the court. Many of the victims actual crime was what had gotten them accused in the first place.
The outcome of the story was not a pleasant one. Those accused who continued to claim their innocence were convicted of witchery and hanged. Others confessed to avoid death. Abigail stole all of Reverend Parris’ savings and ran off. After the hangings, Reverend Parris was voted from office, and the power of theocracy in Massachusetts was broken.
One of the most infamous witch-hunts in history is The Holocaust. This term is used to describe the genocide of millions of people in Europe during World War II. The Holocaust is widely and more familiarly known for the killings of Jews, but they were not the only victims. Other victims of The Holocaust included Homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Slavs, Freemasons, and the disabled and mentally ill. These groups of people were seen as inferior and blamed for all the problems occurring in Germany. The man behind these accusations was Adolf Hitler. Hitler headed the Nazi party and from 1933 to 1945, was the authoritarian leader of Germany. He believed in the concept of “social hygiene” and applied social Darwinism to human beings. He openly expressed his German nationalism and hatred of Jews.
The actual crime of victims of the Holocaust was that they were non-aryan in a time when nationalism was high....

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