The play “The Crucible”, written by Arthur Miller contains many underlying truths about human behavior and thought. One of these truths that seems particularly relevant to the play reads, “To explain the unexplainable, the human mind reaches into a supernatural domain.” This statement is one that explains much of the dilemma that occurs in the play and in the real town of Salem Massachusetts. The aforementioned truth is exemplified even in the very earliest stages of the play. In the beginning, it comes only as an explanation to the mysterious behavior of one small child. This first example occurs when a young girl in Salem named Berry is found to be unable to speak or walk, and the doctors cannot find any known medicine for her condition. This prompts other characters almost immediately begin to assume something else is occurring. Their inability to comprehend the true nature of the situation leads them to deduce that the true cause of their woes were something that nobody could control, the supernatural, and more specifically, witchcraft.
They picked this supernatural cause to blame for their problem, and eventually managed to use it in order to hold the minds of the entire town in a common fear of the supernatural. Personally I believe that the girls, led by Abby, were merely using the supernatural explanation to give themselves power and drive them up among the ranks of the town. I would imagine that they did not truly believe that they were being attacked by spirits of others. The next instance of using the supernatural to explain the unexplainable in Salem came during the court proceedings. In these proceedings, all of the girls who instigated the witch trials would pretend to faint and get cold whenever they were trying to accuse someone of being a witch. Again, since the coldness could not be easily explained by the logic or science of the day, the townspeople, and more importantly, judges, naturally assumed that it must be caused by the supernatural.
I think that the girls could have easily made their arms feel cold before they pretended to faint, possibly by holding them against cold metal or by putting them in water. Either one of these simple tricks could easily have fooled the biased judges into believed that real witchcraft was actually afoot. And, unfortunately for the people of Salem, the supernatural power explanation was once more used to capture the support of the town officials and ensure that the madness continue. The final example of this truth in the play comes when Mary Warren is trying to tell the judges that the entire idea of witchcraft was invented by the girls. When she has said what she has to say, and the judges begin to question her, the girls start to make a commotion about Mary being a bird flying in the rafters. They also start to mime everything that Mary says and does. Since Judges Hawthorne and Danforth have no reason to suspect that a young girl would do anything like this normally, they revert to explaining it using the supernatural.
They use the now regular explanation of witchcraft as a means to justify, in their minds, why such a behavior would be occurring. In this scenario, the judges are using an already determined supernatural explanation to account for an event that would normally make no sense whatsoever. I personally think that using the already known supernatural explanation of witchcraft as an excuse for all of the accusations that occurred was wholly unnecessary. If the Puritans were not so superstitious about everything that happened, and did not have to come up with a reason for everything, they would have never had the entire problem with the witch trials in the first place. The theory that the Puritans should not have attempted to create a reason for everything that occurred is supported by Samuel Beckett in the play “Waiting For Godot.”
He makes a point that there is nothing in life that truly makes sense, so there is no point of trying to make sense of everything. The residents of Salem Massachusetts in “The Crucible” revert to the supernatural domain when they are encountered with the unexplainable. It started with the incompetence of adults to the true nature of the behavior of playful children, and climaxed at the interpretation of senseless behavior as a sign of witchcraft. The entire dilemma in Salem arose from the misinterpretation of unexplainable behavior as witchcraft controlled by the devil himself.