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Betty Parris's Power In The Crucible

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Betty Parris’s great power throughout Act I can be seen by her ability to single handedly create chaos and hysteria within the town for her own personal gain. Her power can first be viewed after Susanna Walcott explains the possibility of a supernatural cause to Betty’s illness, leading Abigail to advise her Uncle about “the rumor of witchcraft [that] is all about: [She] thinks [he 'd] best go down and deny it [himself]. The parlor’s packed with people,sir” (10). This is the first hint that others in the town believe in the presence and of the beginnings of the hysteria that follows. Betty started this rumor in the town by pretending to act sick so that she would not get punished for dancing in the woods. She found a way to deflect the blame…show more content…
Reverend Parris, worried for his own job, explains to Abigail that her “punishment will come in its time. But if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it.” Even the idea of witchcraft in Reverend Parris’s house could ruin his reputation in the town and therefore risk his job. By Betty being ‘afflicted’, she is holding power over her own father and his position in the town. She knows that the longer she is asleep, the more desperate her father is going to be blame someone for the witchcraft who is not her. Putnam claims that “There is a murdering witch among us, bound to keep herself in the dark. Let your enemies make of it what they will, you cannot blink it more” (16). Putnam is yet another powerful male figure in Salem Betty has taken a grip over in the town. He, in this quote, truly believes that the devil is among the town of Salem based on Betty’s current condition. Reverend Hale, encouraging Tituba to give more names of witches, tells her to look at Betty’s “god- given innocence; her soul is so tender; we must protect her; Tituba; the Devil is out and preying on her like a beast upon the flesh of a pure lamb. God will bless you for your help”. (47) Betty has convinced Reverend Hale and the others that she is the victim and has done nothing wrong. This innocence is used as guilt for Tituba to make up names, even though Reverend Hale, who came into Salem with such an abundance of power, now is completely lead astray with the fake witchcraft present in the town due to Betty’s control of the situation at hand. Betty, throughout the first act, displayed her manipulative and dominant nature by taking power from certain powerful figures in the
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