How does the hysteria created at the end of Act 3, ‘The Yellow Bird’ scene, reflect both the period in which the play is set and the period in which the play was written? The crucible was written in the 1950’s by Arthur Miller when there was great hysteria abut McCarthyism. McCarthyism is the making of accusations and was named after a man called Joseph Raymond (McCarthy Joe). Joseph was a US right-wing republican politician and in the 1950’s, he had an unsubstantiated claim that the state department and the US army had been infiltrated by communist.
This started a wave of anticommunist hysteria, wild accusations, and blacklists, which continued until he was discredited in 1954. He was then censured by the UD senate for misconduct. McCarthyism then came to represent the practice of innuendo (indirect accusation) and unsubstantiated accusations against political adversaries. So Arthur Miller decided to write this play because it reflects both the period that it was set an the period that it was written because in both times no one knew any better than to falsely accuse people of things.
In this essay I am going to talk about the ways in which how this play is written to show not only how people who lived in the time that this was set followed the crowd, but also the time in which it was written. Act 3,’ the yellow bird’ scene, is the highest point of tension in the play. When this play was set in the 1690’s every person was naive. They all would believe anything that anyone else would say, because of the fear of denial. No one would go against a crowd in the even that they would be falsely accused of being bad people. At this time every one was extremely religious and everyone was very strict about religion and what they should do by being a good and proper Christian.
They followed the bible very closely and if anyone did something suspicious like practicing witchcraft which was completely against being a Christian, then that person would be hung or burnt because it was believed that going completely the opposite against the bible meant that you were with the devil. These people were being accused of witchcraft and so the only way to stop them contacting the devil would be to resort to the punishment of death, which would be the only way to stop them. So people would believe anything bad about anyone else if they were accused because, they themselves did not wish to be associated with the devil, which would lead them final to a horrible death. This shows mass hysteria because everyone would believe the worst if someone said this and then everyone would become hysterical because they didn’t know any better.
The way that Miller makes the girls think they are seeing a bird coming from Mary shows hysteria because, they all think they are seeing it but nothing is there. So then Mary gets scared starts to shouts that she is not doing anything, then the girls start to copy her and Mary ends up giving into them by saying that Procter is the enemy. Salem did a witch hunt because it was scared; all the high up and important people were scared that they were net so, they brought in someone straight away.
In the 1600’s everyone was scared of being accused of being a witch, or the devil. They were very religious, but in the 1950’s they were afraid of having bad health, and very concerned with wealth and loosing their wealth. In the end, people realised what they were doing, and that they were killing innocent people, because Abigail had run away, and the girls were not really shouting witch any more. They had killed far too many innocent people by this time and so felt really bad.
The yellow bird scene shows the highest point of tension because of this big accusation being made; it’s not lightly taken, because Mary is saying that all of the girls are lying. So the court no that either the girls are lying or Mary is lying, but they hope that Mary id lying because if all of those girls are telling a lie, then they have already sentenced all of those other people to die and it would have been the courts fault, and the court did not want to get into that much trouble, so they don’t want to believe what Mary is telling them.
Even more so is when the girls imagine the bird, being sent from Mary to come down and hurt the girls. The girls get so worked up; with Abigail leading them, that the girls really think they can see a bird. This makes the judges and people in the court rather scared, but quite suspicious of the girls because they, the judges cannot see anything, so how could the girls. Not as much tension would have been in this play if it had not been for the yellow bird scene because so much hysteria happened in that scene.