Over time the definition of hysteria has been altered. Long ago it was believed to be a medical condition thought only to affect women. Symptoms of the illness included partial paralysis, hallucinations and nervousness. In the late sass’s and through today, It Is looked at as a psychological disorder (“Hysteria”). Merriam-Webster defines it as a state in which emotions (such as fear) are so strong that can cause someone to behave in an uncontrolled way(Webster). Hysteria can influence the way people act and think. Throughout time hysteria has developed in numerous situations.
In some cases the effects are so substantial that they have become significant aspects In history. For example, the Salem Witch Trials, as told in Arthur Millers The Crucible, will always be included In American history. Another historical event is the Holocaust. Some psychologists believe hysteria could be to blame for both of these events. Regardless, hysteria has played a crucial role In both the Holocaust and the Salem Witch Trials, as told In Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible. 1 692 Salem, Massachusetts was the home to many Puritans. A puritan was omen with strict religious beliefs.
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They wanted to keep their community free from the devil so they banned anything that could possibly encourage them to fall Into Satin’s evil ways. The people could not take part in most leisurely activities. The Puritans lived their lives for God, and they did not want anything to interfere with their beliefs. For the Puritans, “Part of their belief system was the idea that Satan lurks everywhere: In the wilderness. In Native Americans, even In neighboring colonies and among rival religious groups such as the Quakers”(“The Salem Witch Trials”).
Puritans believed the devil could be found in everything and wherever they went Satan would be there. Their constant fear of the devil could have led to hysteria, as demonstrated when, “The girls were experimenting with one of Tuba’s voodoo fortune-telling tricks… She immediately flew into hysterics. She started ranting and raving, at times crouching on her hands and knees and barking like a dog”(“Salem Town and Salem Village”). Betty might have gotten scared which caused her to act out In hysterics. Rumors spread about what had happened and soon the whole town lived it had to do with witchcraft.
People started to blame the girls and question what they were doing. Therefore, “the girls realized they could deflect some of the blame onto others. Terrified that their own “crimes” would be discovered, the girls began pointing Town and Salem Village”). The girls did not want their actions to be discovered, so they began accusing others. The town believed them and more and more people were accused. Consequently, hysteria spread quickly throughout Salem, as it also did in another situation. The Holocaust began under the commands of Doll Hitler.
He believed in Antimissile, which is hostility or prejudice against Jewish people. Hitler believed created the Aryan race, and that it would be a sin to dilute I t through racial intermixing (“Hitler, Doll”). Hitler blamed the Jewish population for Germany’s loss of World War l, and he told the German people that they would have won if the Jewish people had not lost it for them. Hitler obtained a severe hatred for the Jewish population. Nazis began invading Poland and other countries and eventually murdered over five million Jewish people (“Hitler, Doll”).
Antimissile was most keel Hitter’s main motive for the Holocaust because, “His intention was to purify the German Aryan race. He used the power of the government to organize the mass murder of people he considered to be impure for his race”(“Holocaust”). Through the government’s power, Hitler was able to convince people to help carry out his plans. People believed him, and the hysteria spread. Hysteria can also be found among the concentration camps, where everyone lived with fear. Everyday people would not know if they were going to live(“Holocaust”).
The Holocaust created a great amount of hysteria. In the Holocaust and the Salem Witch Trials, the hysteria eventually ended. The breaking point was when the situation finally gave way, and the hysteria came to an end. In the Salem Witch Trials the breaking point is demonstrated in the conclusion of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Reverend Paris states, “These people have great weight yet in the town. Let Rebecca stand upon the gibbet and send up some righteous prayer, and I fear she’ll wake a vengeance on you”(Miller 127).
In this scene Reverend Paris is talking about the hangings that will take place that morning. He is eying that the people scheduled to hang are well known and respected in the town; therefore people know they are innocent. Rebecca Nurse is a well respected lady and the whole town admires her devotion to Puritanism. Paris is realizing that people are going to be angry if she is hanged because everyone knows she does not deserve it. The town begins to realize it was all a lie, and this is when the hysteria breaks. During the Salem Witch Trials and the Holocaust, the hysteria ultimately ends.
The Holocaust’s breaking point is in the resolution of the war, because, “In 1945 it was Lear he had lost the war, and as enemy forces were advancing on his location, he committed suicide” (“Hitler, Doll w). Hitler knew Germany was going to lose the war, so he killed himself. All of Germany knew that they had lost, and they began to think that maybe Hitler was wrong because they did not win the war even with Hitter’s Aryan race. The concentration camps were shut down and the survivors were let go (Bermuda). The people no longer had to live in complete fear.
After the breaking point, there was no more hysteria in either of these situations. The events that took place in Salem and the Holocaust had many short-term effects. In The Crucible it states, “There are orphans wandering from house to house; abandoned cattle bellow on the highroads, the stink of rotting crops hangs everywhere”(Miller 130). People were arrested and killed, and all of their belongings were left unattended. Some of these people had children who were left to wander the streets looking for a place to stay. Their livestock was doing the same. Cows were wondering around and no one knew what to do.
Crops were neglected and left to sit out and rot. The play also states, “When I summoned the congregation tort John Proctor’s excommunication there were hardly thirty people come to hear 128). People felt that what the court and church were doing was wrong. They did not want to support it, so only a few showed up at church. The Holocaust also had some short-term effects. Research states, “The communities of Jewish survivors had been shattered, their homes destroyed or occupied by strangers, and their families decimated and dispersed”(Bermuda). The Jewish survivors did not know what to do.
They were wandering the streets looking for a lace to go. Their homes were destroyed, their families were lost, and they had nothing to go back to. Clearly, the Salem Witch Trials as well as the Holocaust caused great misery and confusion. Many long-term effects were produced from the Salem Witch Trials and the Holocaust. The strict Puritan community of Salem influenced a great deal. For example, “All in all, 72 people were accused and brought to trial; 19 were hanged. The rest confessed to avoid execution”(“The Salem Witch Trials”). Victim’s lives as well as their families were changed forever.
Whenever another person was hanged, another family was broken apart. The people who confessed had to live with that the rest of their lives. The play states, “To all intents and purposes, the power of theocracy in Massachusetts was broken”(Miller 146). The Salem Witch Trials were the end of Puritanism. After seeing what happened, people did not want to participate in the Puritan church, so they left and the religion ceased. The Holocaust also contained many long-term effects. About five to six million Jewish people died which impacted their families forever.
It has also been used over and ever as an example of how prejudice society can be (“Holocaust”). For years the Holocaust had been in classrooms teaching kids about prejudice and discrimination. There were many effects of the Salem Witch Trials and the Holocaust, and they will never be forgotten. In several ways the hysteria in both Salem and the Holocaust are similar. In Salem hysteria was caused by fear, while in the Holocaust it could have been from severe hatred. These feelings of fear and hatred were so strong that they caused people to act out uncontrollably, which in both examples led to the murder of innocent people.
However, the number of deaths in each case has a great difference. The Salem Witch Trials resulted in only 19 deaths, whereas over five million deaths occurred during the Holocaust. Another similarity is the desire for attention. Hitler wanted everyone to hate the Jewish population, and look to him as a powerful and respected man. In The Crucible, Abigail wanted John Proctor’s attention, so she started making accusations in the hopes of having John to herself. The hysteria in each situation ended very differently. When the Salem Witch Trials were over the girls realized they did wrong.
Abigail Williams left the town because she was ashamed of what she did (Miller 126). Hitler never understood that his actions were wrong. He killed himself still believing that it was right to kill the Jewish people. Hysteria NAS been the cause tort many events in history. It can cause people to act out in uncontrollable ways, which can lead to an event that will be remembered forever. Hysteria has played a crucial role in both the Holocaust and the Salem Witch Trials, as told in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. These two examples will always be thought of, and used as lessons to demonstrate the power of hysteria.