This short essay focuses on three specific lessons that I have learned from the play, which are the negative effects of mass hysteria, the consequences of deviating from social norms, and the dominance of patriarchy. The first lesson that I learned was that mass hysteria often creates harmful stereotypes. In the play, mass hysteria spreads throughout the entire community that there are young girls who are capable of witchcraft.
These rumors are spread although there is no tangible proof. This is significant because it fuels stereotypes, I. E. All women who deviate slightly from social norms are witches. This is a very valuable lesson in today’s society, as people often participate in mass hysteria, which strengthens harmful stereotypes. For example, if there is a group of men on a plane and each man is wearing a turban and speaking softly amongst each other, then other people on the plane might start gossiping and spreading rumors that the men are planning a terrorist attack.
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In several minutes, the whole plane might be in an uproar over the thought of a potential terrorist attack and the men might be classified as terrorists and even brought into custody, although there is no physical p roof. The second lesson that I learned was that communities still treat those who deviate from social norms differently. As Detonator says in Act Ill, “[A] person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road in between” (p. 94).
As we read, the girls who deviated from social norms, the “witches,” were hanged and toned because the community thought that that was the only way to restore the community purity. This is an extremely important lesson, as it is very current with today’s controversy over same-sex marriage. For example, there are thousands, even millions, of Americans who believe that people who deviate from heterosexuality are damaging the purity of marriage and family. Just because someone deviates from the “norm,” it doesn’t mean that he/she is harmful to society.
The third and final lesson that I learned from this play is that this world is still run by patriarchy. In the play, the church is ran by Judge Detonator and Reverend Par’s, who are both white men. As we know, the church’s laws define the town’s laws. Therefore, it is white men who make and enforce the rules. Women have no say in the rules. It is important that women, and other minorities, have an equal say in the legal and societal laws that rule their lives. This lesson has been seen throughout the entire history of North America, right up until 2013 and will, unfortunately, continue.
White men made the rules about aboriginal people and took away their land and engage. White men made the rules about if slaves were considered people or property. White men made the rules about if a woman could file for a divorce or take although Canada is a country of many different people. In conclusion, this short essay explains three lessons that Miller wanted to point out to his readers: don’t Judge a person based on rumors and stereotypes, don’t treat those who deviate from “normal” as being immoral/wrong, and don’t let others make decisions for you without your own voice/views being considered.