In "The Crucible" fear was what led to hypocrisy and hysteria among other things. In the Salem Witch Trials, fear had some horrible effects. People were hung based on unstable evidence and many lives were ruined. Even in today's society, fear affects us in negative ways. Fear can cause people to act in ways that they never would otherwise. It is a human trait that can lead to hysteria and rash acts, as is shown in "The Crucible." Fear is a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or feeling of danger.
For example, many people fear the unknown or are scared when they feel that they are in danger. Little children are scared of monsters under their beds or ghosts in their closets. Fear itself can be a helpful emotion. If a person in trouble, that fear can make that person act and may save them from the imminent danger. However, fear can also be a harmful thing.
In "The Crucible", the people of Salem feared the unknown, and this sparked the mass hysteria and the witch-hunts. In the Miller's play, Betty was so scared of getting into trouble that she acted the way she did, making people think that she was "afflicted." Tit uba falsely confessed that she had seen the Devil among other women in the village because she was frightened of the people questioning her. It was fear of death that led many Puritans to cry each other out to save their own lives, and add to the hysteria and suspicion. It was also fear that led Abigail Williams and the other girls to keep up the accusations that caused innocent people to hang. Abigail used it to her advantage to keep the other girls quiet, "Let either of you breathe a word... and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you...
I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!" (Miller, pg. 19) Mary Warren almost put a stop to all the hysteria but eventually fear overcame her and she started to lie about seeing the Devil again. Fear of the court and of evil spirits basically blinded the people of Salem and drove them all to mass hysteria. Also in the recent past, fear has had that kind of potency. For example, during the McCarthy era (or the Red Scare) many people were blacklisted and a kind of hysteria swept through the United States.
People were scared of the spread of communism in America and as a result of the blacklisting, many people's lives were ruined. Even today, fear can be a destructive force, as it was in the past. For example, some people may not understand other cultures and may somewhat fear them. This can lead to suspicion and racist groups. There was also a fear that more immigrants coming into the United States would mean that there would be fewer jobs for the people that were in America before. This sometimes led to racism, prejudices, and suspicion.
There can also be a fear of religions and ideas. More recently, there were the September 11 th security issues. After the World Trade Center was destroyed, many people panicked and as a result, there was a tighter security in airports and public places. Some people thought of this as a good thing because they felt that it protected them and made things safer, but others thought that they were going a bit too far and that it was an invasion of their privacy. This shows that fear can be seen as either as a positive or a negative thing, depending on your perspective. Fear can generally be a good thing, but once it's taken too far, it can become destructive force..