Hello fellow wikigoers! My name is Matt, and this is my wikispace for a class project, Honors American Literature to be exact. We have recently finished reading The Crucible, by Arthur Miller. This is a fictional play whose events were based on the Salem witch trials of 1692. To read more on these events, here is the link to the Wikipedia article. We then went on to explored the literary themes of Gothicism, transcendentalism, and read Narrative of the Life of frederick Douglass: An American Slave. These themes have been incorporated later on and added in addition to the original Crucible project.


As we were reading this book, the main theme that stood out to me was why the villagers of Salem were actually condemning their neighbors to be hanged. In the beginning of the play, the witch hunts started out as a way to get rid of all the undesirables in the society, such as Tituba and Sarah Osborne. From there the accused, as well as some other people, began blaming some of the middle class members of society because of personal grudges, like the accusation of Goody Proctor. It then escalated to the accusing of anyone who did not conform to the strict standards that the Puritan society had set, regardless of their social status. It was a well known fact that John Proctor was not regularly attending church, and that Giles Corey had a rebellious nature, both of which caused them to be looked down upon by the rest of society.

What was the common link between the condemned in this play? At first, it would seem that the victims were completely unrelated. When I began to compare the play to real world events in class, however, I began to see some connections. It is my belief that the sole reason that so many people were accused is simply because they were different, and society was scared of them. Humans like being in control, and are very uneasy when they cannot have it. Since the oddballs would not submit to them, the villagers took the matter into their own hands, and persecuted any non-conformists, effectively gaining the control that they had been longing for.

Looking back through history, this theme of controlling the rebels has arisen multiple times, each time wearing a different mask. The prevalence of this theme in the play suggests that this is one of Miller's main reasons of writing it; to warn us of the dangers of creating a scapegoat. It is my personal philosophy that there must be a scapegoat present in every society. Therefore, for this project, I will choose to explore scapegoats throughout history, and the role they played in society. Enjoy!