The Final Judgement: Fear

In Arthur Miller's, The Crucible, and during the time of the 9/11 attacks, fear aroused people to cause fear, rather than use moral reasoning and logic to solve the issues.
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Gone But Never Forgotten

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the United States experienced a tragic moment that ended up affecting the way people looked at Middle Eastern people and their take on terrorism changed. On that Tuesday morning, four planes were hijacked by a group of nineteen men; they were all from Afghanistan and some had attended flight school here in the United States. Two planes crashed into both of the World Trade Center buildings, one into one of the wings at the Pentagon, and another in a field in western Pennsylvania (9/11 Attacks.) Thousands of people were killed in the twin towers including those aboard the air crafts, This event impacted the lives not only of those who lost family members but everyone else in the nation and around the world. Americans felt that their security was at stake and the nation took extra precaution when it came to flights coming in and out of the country. People of descent and/or from the Middle East were looked at with unease stares and their land was invaded by the armed forces from the United States. War raged on in Afghanistan right after the attack and is still going on to this day.
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Arthur Miller begins the play by giving us background information on what is going on especially with the opening scene in Parris daughter, Betty's room. He is having a conversation with his niece, Abigail, and is trying to get the truth out of her. Based on what is being said, it can be implied that anything relating to witchcraft, is not accepted in the Salem community. We see this in Abigail's words to Parris after Susanna Walcott leaves; "Uncle, the rumor of witchcraft is all about; I think you'd best go down and deny it yourself." Her uncle, Parris, then says, "But if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely, my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it," (Miller 1030.) These people were Christians and believed that witchcraft was the work of the devil, therefore if anyone had anything to do with black magic, they would be hung for it. Now with the 9/11 attacks, the people that hijacked the airplanes were of muslim religion. Right after the tragedy happened, people had negative attitudes towards anyone who they thought were Muslim; based on research done in Europe, discrimination towards the Muslim people grew (Sheridan, 2006.) But hatred of witches and Muslims had been around before any of these events occurred. Miller mentions how there had been riots in Andover due to the hysteria dealing with witchcraft (Miller 1100.) Social media is the way to find out about events in other nations in the world, and because of the way that it talked about the violence in Islam, Muslim Americans had discrimination towards them before the attack (Giger & Davidhizar, 2002.)

Throughout the play, Abigail was lying to everyone in the community in order to save herself from the rope and because she was afraid to be hung. Not only did she lie to the officials, but she made all the other girls who went to the forest with her do the same thing; "Now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam's dead sisters. And that is all. And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a point reckoning that will shudder you," (Miller 1034.) It wasn't until Proctor was told by Abigail about them lying that he decided to use it against her in court in order to get his wife, Elizabeth out of jail. But Danforth, the judge, never accepted the fact that she was lying and the lives of innocent people had been taken. Because there was fear going around with all Americans, including those with high official powers, the Patriot Act was passed by Congress and President Bush. It called for extra surveillance in airports, borders, and anyway that people from other nations were entering, or leaving the country. It was made directly after the attacks as an effort against terrorism. Because it was riding on the fear that was overtaking the nation, Jennifer Van Burgen says that it was in a way taking away checks and balances of citizens rights. Based on what Burgen and Miller say, it resembles the change in Reverend Hale's beliefs about Abigail. He had opened his eyes to see that Abigail was lying the whole time and tried to stop the hanging of innocent people but Danforth would turn his ideas down because they were already too into the hysteria; Danforth was afraid people would find out and go after him. This was happening with The Administration during Bush's presidency. Some Congress members were trying to voice out their ideas on the Patriot Act by repealing it or revising its terms. But it had been late for him to do anything (Mass Hysteria 9/11.)

Fear has caused people to be disrespectful to other nationalities or religions and do things that do not have logical reasoning behind it; fear drives fear

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  • Giger, J. N., & Davidhizar, R. (2002). Culturally competent care: Emphasis on understanding the people of Afghanistan, Afghanistan Americans, and Islamic culture and religion. International Nursing Review, 49, 79–86.
  • N.A. "9/11 Attacks." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2014.
  • N.A "Connections to The Crucible." Mass Hysteria 9/11. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.
  • N.A "Journal OfMuslim Mental Health." Attitudes Toward Muslim Americans Post-9/11. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2014.
  • N.A "PATRIOT Act." Electronic Frontier Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.
  • Sheridan, L. P. (2006). Islamophobia Pre-and Post-September 11th, 2001. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21, 317–336.
  • Van Burgen, Jennifer. "The USA PATRIOT Act Was Planned Before 9/11, Jennifer Van Bergen, 5/20/02." The USA PATRIOT Act Was Planned Before 9/11, Jennifer Van Bergen, 5/20/02. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.