Why Did Witchcraft Cause Conflict In The Crucible

796 Words4 Pages
In Salem 1692, witchcraft drives the conflict between the people of the Puritan Society that reside there. Witchcraft is the perfect crime to settle disputes with your enemies. There are many explanations and symptoms, most of which are unprovable. The source of this conflict is the struggle for power and reputation between the people of Salem like John Proctor, Abigail Williams, and Hale. The first motive to cause conflict is the chance to gain power and reputation. Abigail Williams, the 17-year-old niece of Reverend Parris, desperately wants to use witchcraft to gain control over Elizabeth Proctor so that she can be with the man that had an affair with her, John Proctor. In the court Abigail “… screamed a scream that a bull would weep to…show more content…
Thomas Putnam, a bitter and rich man, feels his name was sullied when his brother-in-law was not chosen as the town’s minister. When Betty falls ill, Thomas jumps at the chance to ruin Reverend Parris name by using witchcraft. Thomas says that “there are hurtful, vengeful spirits layin’ hands on” (15) Betty and Tituba. At the end of Act One, all the girls start saying, “ I saw Goody Sibber with the Devil” (48) among listing other names. By doing this it helps them gain validity when talking about witchcraft, but it then forces those people to lose influence. The reason why they lose influence is because the girls admitted to seeing the devil and when they say that there were others there with them, it destroys their credibility and honor. Mrs. Putnam also stirs conflict by agreeing that Goody Osburn of killed her newborns with black magic. She says, “My babies have always shriveled in her hands”! (47) This is referring to all the dead babies and how she feels it is someone else’s fault. She accuses Goody Osburn because she is an easy target to blame for her failure as a mother. The Putnams' and the girls all try to use witchcraft as a way to unleash their anger and bitterness upon people so that they feel above
Open Document