In the play, The Crucible, the playwright Arthur Miller portrayed many different themes. He uses real life events from the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 to show that fear and suspicion are infectious and can produce a mass hysteria that destroys public order and rationality.
There are many scenes in the play that suggests the theme that fear and suspicion are infectious and can produce a mass hysteria that destroys public order and rationality. One example of this is the afflicted girls use the people’s fear of witches to get rid of people they do not like. The same goes for Reverend Parris when he says people’s names that do not like him to the girls so that they can accuse them and have them hanged for not confessing. The court also goes with this theme by using the fear of being hanged to go against the Christian belief and tell a lie about being a witch so they would not get hanged.
Another theme of the play is reputation. There are many lines in the play about reputation. In Act I, Reverend Parris does not want anyone to think that there is witchcraft on the girls because then people would accuse him for letting witchcraft in the town. In Act III, Judge Danforth says, “…do you know that near to four hundred are in the jails from Marblehead to Lynn, and upon my signature?” (1293) In this line from the play Judge Danforth is speaking to Francis Nurse about his reutation. Francis Nurse is trying to tell Danforth that the girls are deceiving him, but Danforth refuses to taint his reputation and admit being wrong so he ignores him. John Proctor attempts to keep his reputation by saying “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” (1333) John Proctor says this right before he rips up