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Word Count: 790
In The Crucible Arthur Miller examines the topic of fear and how it is used to silence the opposition and coerce others into false testimony In this play as in the actual Salem Witch Trials fear was a weapon used by those in power to control their enemies In the late 17th century the people of Salem only a few things to be afraid of Punishment from the ruling authority shame brought onto their name and affliction from supernatural forces In this play the afflicted girls use these weapons to their advantage so as to avoid their own fears of punishment There is but one punishment for a witch who does not confess and that is death When someone is told they will not hang them if they confess their fear of death pushes them to do whatever they can to avoid this fate p 58 It is an ultimatum for many that in their eyes they must be truthful to themselves and die by the noose or lie to authority and live a false life Even the Reverend Hale a man who is not accused realizes that there is a prodigious fear of the court in the country- p98 Hale on of the only enlightened characters in this play sees that fear is what is ruling over the testimonies of the confessing not truth He sees that to confess is the accuseds only hope for life and so they will lie and take life out of fear of authoritative punishment Salem Village though governed by men is ruled by divine forces and it is because of these forces that all its inhabitants pray and fear Abigail uses the common fear of the devil to her advantage when she warns Mr Danforth think you to be so mighty that the power of Hell may not turn your wits p108 By doing this Abigail is instilling fear into those who oppose her
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