University of Humanities and Social Science, Tunis
This paper explores The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s dramatized version of
the 1692 Salem witch-hunt, from a psycho-sociological point of view, using
mainly the Girardian theoretical notions of scapegoating and sacrificial crisis
as expounded in his seminal work The Violence and the Sacred (1972).
The snowballing effect of paranoia in Salem is regarded, in the first part, as a
means for the hide-bound and male chauvinistic community to exclude
non-conventional women; and in the second part, as an outlet for the latter to
challenge oppression and an opportunity to assert themselves within the
community. Now given entire credit by the court of law, the female outcasts use
victimization through daemonic possession as a suitable stalking horse to grow
in heroic and saintly stature and gain back admission, if not vengefully attain
absolute power in the community that has hitherto oppressed them.
Arthur Miller, The Crucible, Puritanism, scapegoating, exclusion,
inclusion, witchcraft, daemonism, hysteria, patriarchy, feminism