|Abstract: ||在我的論文中，不諱言的，大眾歇斯底里是主要焦點，但偽歇斯底里在其中的重要性也不可輕忽。而所謂的大眾歇斯底里，在薩勒姆女巫跟麥卡錫時代 ，也都以不同形式出現。在薩勒姆女巫時代 ，年輕女孩們指控無辜的人，使全城陷入慌亂，而其中蒂度帕跟阿比蓋兒可說是其中的禍首；而在麥卡錫時代，麥卡錫和非美活動調查委員會被指控參與了共產黨的女巫審判，迫害全國人民。而類似的歇斯底里現象變成一種炙手可熱的議題，促使米勒將兩個現象做類比， 讓前面時代發生過的事情變成《熔爐》的主題，而我的論文就是要討論其假定是錯誤的。
In my thesis, the phenomenon of mass hysteria is a main focus, but that of mis-hysteria (complacency) will not be ignored, either. So-called mass hysteria was presented in different forms in the Salem, Massachusetts and McCarthy eras. In the former era, young girls accused mostly innocent people of witchcraft and threw townsfolk into a panic. This was begun by Tituba, Abigail Williams, and others, all figured in Arthur Miller’s play. In the later era, Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) were eventually accused of engaging in a communist “witch hunt”, persecuting people around the country and terrifying many. This sort of smoldering hysteria became a hot issue, leading Miller, who lived through the latter era and drew parallels between the two phenomena, to make the incidents of the former era the focus of The Crucible. This thesis argues, however, that some of his assumptions were false.
Besides the phenomenon of mass hysteria, however, the advent of Tituba, arguably an epitome of Elia Kazan, can be attributed to Miller’s inclination towards mis-hysteria. Namely, because of his complacency, Miller thought that neither the Salem witches nor contemporary American communists were a threat, seeing McCarthy as the evil root behind many fabrications. But the truth is that some women saw themselves as witches, while communists were doing great harm in America, as verified by the Salem archives and the Venona project. Unfortunately, these mis-conceptions that witches and communism as dangers did not exist, and that McCarthy was a villain polluting the minds of his contemporaries, stemmed from what I term mis-hysteria.
Moreover, the media (to which I devote a chapter) became catalysts and accomplices in all the turmoil. To sum up, the different standpoints of Miller and Kazan, as celebrated in A View from the Bridge and On the Waterfront, respectively, can be attributed to their life experiences. This shows that biographical and historical elements in their time really played pivotal and indispensable roles in the formation of their works.
Following up this question, in my concluding chapter, I show that the danger of communism is not only existent, it is more salient than ever.