To learn more about the Salem witchcraft hysteria, Historian Paul Boyer, and Professor Stephen Nissenbaum sought to further understand the accusations of witchcraft. During the late 1600’s life in colonial New England was one led by religion and politics. Salem was broken up into two factions, Salem Village, and Salem Town. Salem Village, which was led by the Putnam family was a rapidly growing
“We cannot leap to witchcraft. They will howl me out of Salem for such corruption in my house.” The fear of the devil gets so strong the town’s justice system take strong actions to keep everyone safe. The paradox between justice and freedom is very unbalanced.
The author focuses on the roles of the ministers in the town, highlighting the corruption in them by utilizing research that proves the ministers that participated in the Salem Witch Trail to be completely driven by money. The author, Ernest King, informs the audience that the reason behind the witch trials is because the ministers used witchcraft as an explanation to get money and land from fellow colonists. King also discusses how the witch-hunt prompted the New England area to transition from a traditional, religion-based society into a community with a more neutral rule system and a higher spirit of unity. Therefore, changing the focus from religious duty of the people to the church to the duties of each person as a citizen. The audience that this article is intended for is people who desire to deepened their knowledge and understanding of the Salem Witch Trials, however people with educational purposes and entertainment can read it. The tone conveyed to the audience is professional, as through the author is lecturing a room full of doctors. The author feels as though the Salem Witch Trials are a serious matter that changed America
“There is a misty plot afoot so subtle we should be criminal to cling to old respects and ancient friendships. I have seen too many frightful proofs in court the Devil is alive in Salem, and we dare not quail to follow wherever the accusing finger points.” Hale shows the mindset of many of the characters affected by hysteria and
Another lesson I learned from reading The Crucible, is to not abuse power. Abusing power is using power to an advantage in a bad way. Good leaders use their power to influence people in a positive way, while bad leaders use their power mainly for personal benefits. In the play, many of the characters with power abused it. They took complete control of situations influencing other characters to do bad things. One character from the book that abuses his power is Judge Danforth. Danforth ran all the trials for the witches , and was completely unfair. He made it basically impossible for an accused witch to be innocent. He also didn’t allow suspects to have lawyers or anyone give information that disagreed with him. He considered different opinions as “contempt of court”. When Mr. Nurse was clashing with Danforth over the issue, Danforth said, “do you know who I am, Mr. Nurse?”(Act lll, Scene l) This shows that Danforth has the cocky mindset that he is above everyone. Good leaders should be able to listen to critics. Danforth believed that everyone accused was a witch; so he didn’t even bother giving them a fair chance. Many people died under his signature. He used his power to contribute to the destruction of the town and many lives.
In 1692 the area of Salem town and Salem village became very vulnerable to conflict. Severe weather such as hurricanes had damaged land and crops, the effects of King Phillips War began to impact New England society, and colonists were being forced off of the frontiers by Native peoples. The Church and the government were in heavy conflict. And those residing in Salem began to grow suspicious of one another when some prospered and others hadn’t (Marcus, p13).
The hysteria, craze, trials, and deaths, still rest an unsolved case. The theories of politics, rivalries, religion and the “circle girls” seem the most believable, in my eyes. However, as the happenings in Salem village still continue to mislead and amaze not only historians, but many others, the witch trials lie a great turning point for Salem, and the lives of many; let alone
Life teaches one very valuable lesson: with power comes the abuse of power, which results in hysteria and fear. Fear comes in many forms; fear for loved ones, fear for health, fear of losing reputation and fear of reprisal. Throughout history, a powerful few have abused their power. An example of this dilemma occurred in the 1950’s when Senator Joseph McCarthy started accusing innocent people of being communist sympathizers. Contemporary author, Arthur Miller, visited this concept of corrupt power and disapproval of McCarthyism in his classic, The Crucible. Good Night and Good Luck, a movie which was about the hysteria McCarthy caused to innocent lives, and The Crucible have one major thing in common: the corruption of power. This thematic idea reveals that the corruption of power can not only affect and impair mainstream society, but also the people which live within it.
In Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, Arthur intrigues audience time and time again with the historical context, social implications, and the Salem, Massachusetts Witchcraft Trials of 1962. Most members in Salem feel the need to prove their authority in ways such as accusing those who have done nothing or hanging them without proving their innocence first. The thing is authority is not made up by an authority figure, but by society. Miller’s The Crucible, demonstrates how people misuse their authority for cruel purposes through a fascinating plot, well-crafted characters, and well-set theme. During the hysteria of witchcraft trials in Salem, there were multiple figures of authority or per say the community who abused their power, Reverend Hale, Abigail Williams, Reverend Parris and Judge Danforth.
Their actions break the cohesion in Salem’s tight knit community. Reverend Hale sees this and warns the officials that they are courting rebellion. As a result of the trials, “cows are wandering loose, crops are rotting in the fields, and orphans are wandering without supervision”. Many homes have fallen into neglect because their owners were in jail or had to attend the proceedings. Everyone lives in fear of being accused of witchcraft.
Power is something almost everybody strives for at least once in their life. In Salem, the men who own the most land or people who have a great reputation for being very religious are the people with the utmost power. Slaves and women, especially unmarried ones, are the people with the lowest status. In The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, the power dynamic dramatically shifts. Tituba, Betty’s family’s slave, brings a group of Puritans girls, including Betty, into the woods. Tituba is from Barbados and practices a different religion, which goes against parts of the Puritan beliefs. When the girls are in the woods, Reverend Parris, Betty’s father, sees them and they all scatter. Betty worries she will get in trouble, so she falls into a trance,
Danforth has an great power and he shows that throughout the play. As he states on page 35, “Peace, Judge Hathorne. Do you know who i am, Mr. Nurse?” Mr. Nurse thinks he is someone more important than Judge Hathorne, he feels he should have the upper hand in the situation that they are in. Nurse thinks that he is more important and that his word has more power than Judge Hathorne because they are not the highest branch of government.
When faced with a difficult task some people respond better than others. Some people may give no effort because something is too challenging or involves too much work. Others may take action and work hard to succeed. Some people have the fear of failure. In “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller, some characters succeed through tough tasks and others accept defeat. Abigail Williams is a 17 year old girl who wants to have a good reputation in the town, but she also takes many interesting actions to boost her reputation. John Proctor is a wealthy farmer who is married to Elizabeth Proctor. John gets into a heated conflict with his wife after she finds out about the affair he had with Abigail Williams. In “The
Ben Vanness Hon. English 11 P. 3 The Crucible Essay Authority is not created by the authority figure, nor given to him by God. Rather, authority is given to him by the people of his own society. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, is a play based in Salem Massachusetts in 1692.