Firstly, Why was witchcraft illegal, why witchcraft stopped being viewed as a crime? The witchcraft in 1735 made a complete switch in attitudes. Penalties for the practice of witchcraft was usually believed by many famous and important people to be an impossible crime, that was replaced by penalties for the lie of witchcraft. The witchcraft of 1735 stayed in force in Britain into the 20th century, because of the illegal ways of telling witchcraft of 1951. (Wikipedia) During the 16th century, many people believed that witchcraft, rather than the workings of God's will, offered better reason of sudden and unexpected bad fortune, such as the death of a child, bad harvests, or the death of cows and bulls.
The Salem witch trials were a time period when any individual could be accused of witchcraft for numerous reasons. In The Crucible, Arthur Miller focuses on the deviation of the trials and how the town’s most religious and honest members of the community are tried with witchcraft. John Proctor, the town’s most honest man, is accused of being a witch and must decide if he should confess or not. Proctor’s confession will stop the town from rebelling and uphold the reputations of Deputy Governor Danforth and Reverend Parris. Hale also wishes for Proctor’s confession so he does not have to feel responsible if Proctor were to be hanged for his witchcraft accusations.
Lying only leads to the truth being told and having worse consequences for the people committing the lies. The Crucible has innocent people that were being accused of witchery. John Proctor was trying to get Mary to confess on her wrong doing and turn away from the girls. Proctor claims that Mary “never saw no spirits”. (Miller 183).
Situational irony is created in the text through Proctor reciting “ thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image… You have said that twice, sir… Adultery, John”(Miller.II.12.). This is an example of Situational Irony because the only commandment Proctor couldn’t remember is the one he broke. Proctor’s inability to remember his commandments causes the community to question his faithfulness to his religion and in return creates conflict later in the trials when people question his judgment and accuse him of witchcraft. Dramatic irony is created in the text through Danforth asking “Why did you dismiss Abigail Williams?”, and Elizabeth responding “She - dissatisfied me”(Miller.III.18.). This is an example of Dramatic Irony because the reader already knows that John has confessed to adultery, but Elizabeth doesn't so she lies in hopes of protecting his reputation.
The accusations against Goody Nurse only became prevailing in court, because of the sheer amount of people testifying against her. The number of people testifying made it seem as if Goody Nurse was more likely to be a witch, but this is not true because the witnesses are untrustworthy and biased against the Nurse family. The witnesses moved their bodies in court the same way Goody Nurse was moving her body to make it seem like Goody Nurse sent out her spirit to control (Lewis). This made it look like Goody Nurse is a witch, but we believe that the Putnams and their friends were doing this as a ruse so that Goody Nurse could be convicted when in reality she is not guilty. These actions by the
An example of this is when Thomas Putman tell his daughter, Ruby, to accuse, their neighbor, Mr. Jacobs, of witchcraft. If people had used evidence instead of just accusations then they would have realized that Mr.Jacobs isn’t a witch, just a person accused for Thomas Putnam's own personal gain. Thomas Putnam's anger toward the town for not getting enough respect is what caused him to accuse an innocent man of witchcraft, demonstrating how emotions can lead to immoral
This decision is then backed up by Reverend Parris, who says that Proctor’s name on the list of confessions could convince the town to stop accusing one another. While discussing Proctor’s confession, Parris says to Judge Danforth, “It is a weighty name; it will strike the village that Proctor confess.” (Miller, 141). Another way that Proctor shows his moral character in The Crucible is when he is being questioned by Judge Danforth. When Danforth asks Proctor who he has seen with the Devil, Proctor denies seeing any other women practicing witchcraft or doing work for the Devil. He says to Danforth, “They think to go like saints.
Finally in act 4, Proctor is asked by the court to confess of having contact with the devil and avoid being hanging and a possible rebellion against the court and they used Elizabeth to convince him but she only tell him that he has the last word, first Proctor decided that he wanted to confess and keep his life, but when he was ready to confess Rebecca, another innocent accused of witchcraft, appeared and said what was happening, said “Oh, John-God send his mercy on you!”(Miller 140) and when she is asked to confess “it is a lie, how may I damn myself? (Miller 140).This event provoked that John had second thoughts, and he confess and sign the deposition but he kept it arguing “I have three children-how may teach them to walk like a men in the world, and I sold my friends?”(Miller 143), and also explain that court already have his word and “I cannot have another life” and “leave me my name”(Miller 143), and he finally ends his fight for keeping his reputation and name clean and do what is right even though if that includes being
Danforth stated “Hang them high over town…” Hale tells Danforth that the other girls are lying about the witchcraft but Danforth didn’t listen to Hale that the accused is wrong Danforth began the hanging ( Also signed the warrant of 72 people). “The accuser is always holy” (Act Two) Proctor states that the accuser is right because they are holy, but the 72 innocent people are killed because all of them were misjudged for being or dealing with witchcraft. “I, Sir, am innocent to a witch. II know what a witch is”-Martha Corey “If you know not what a witch is , how do you know you are not one”-Judge Hawthorne Martha was trying to prove her innocence to Judge Hawthorne in the court but then Hawthorne flipped her word around and made her look more guilty than she already is. Mary Warren states “What'll we do?
The Red Scare during the mid-twentieth century, sparked by Joseph McCarthy’s accusations, is an event in which mass fear and paranoia of communism hypnotized Americans. Convictions made by McCarthy often placed people on a blacklist, destroying their careers. Because of these certain events, it influences playwright Arthur Miller to write The Crucible. The play demonstrates this hysteria through the Salem witch trials. People who were thought to be a witch have a choice of blackening their reputation by confessing, or hanging under the false evidence of witchcraft.
In The Crucible Thomas Putnam’s main motivations are greed and selfishness. He shows this throughout the book, by accusing people of witchcraft. Thomas Putnam’s brother in law was prevented from being elected the office of minister. “Thomas Putnam felt that his own name and honor of his family had been smirched by the village, and he meant to right matters however he could” (Miller1221). To right his name and honor from being smirched he accused many
She was a part of the faction that prevented Thomas Putnam’s brother from becoming the minister of the town. The Putnam’s are very upset about this and Mrs. Putnam also accuses Rebecca of murder. Rebecca is also upset at Reverend Parris because he refuses to preach to the children, even though they seem to be possessed by the devil. She also doesn’t support Parris’ idea to bring Reverend Hale to Salem to help with the witchcraft because she believes that it will send the whole town into arguments and thinking that something is seriously wrong. She believes it would be better to just pray and let the doctor try and save Betty.
These views, in and of themselves, speak to the level of intolerance permeating America and to the level of fear associated with witchcraft. The Religious intolerance and fear experienced in English North America was not a sole construct of Puritanism in New England. These ideas permeated Southwards throughout the length of the thirteen English colonies. Oftentimes, the fear of witchcraft led to colonial governments establishing capital laws against any person entering into communion with Satan. For instance, prior to the union of East and West New Jersey into a single royal colony, East New Jersey, which was primarily a mixture of Dutch reformed and Baptist Congregations, maintained in 1668 that “…if any person be found to be a witch, either
Aside from that, people accused others of being witches or having something to do with witchcraft if they had a grudge against them or needed something. People were able to accuse others of being witches for having too much land or for owning too many cattle. Witch trials were not only a way to get rid of the Devil, but also a way to get rid of people that you disliked. In the case of The Crucible, the witch trials began because of religious beliefs and the fear that Lucifer was controlling the children of Salem. To get out of trouble during the witch trials, those who were accused simply just accused others to be seen as innocent and avoid execution.