Theocracy As The Cause Of The Salem Witch Trials

Decent Essays

Theocracy as the Cause of the Salem Witch Trials
The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a play that shows how the Salem witch trials unfold. As a Puritan society, Salem functions as a theocracy. Unlike today 's United States government in which Church and State are entirely separate entities, a theocracy is essentially the Church acting as the government. Because of the theocratic nature of Salem 's governing body, religion plays a principal role in the lives of every character and has a major effect on the progression of the plot. In The Crucible, theology is used as a tool to accomplish ulterior motives of greed and vengeance, allowing the witch trials to gain momentum. The theocratic governing body in Salem is ultimately responsible for the witch trials due to laws based on religion rather than reason that are enforced by a corrupt criminal justice system.
In the Puritan society, laws are based purely on biblical teaching, even if they are not grounded in logic. For example, the illegality of dance is irrational, since dance poses no harm, but due to Puritan teachings against it, dancing is against the law. Abigail Williams and several other young girls begin the momentum of witchcraft accusations after they were found dancing in the woods. Although they had done other, presumably worse, things than dancing, the fact that their simple, childish act is worthy of legal punishment is incredibly unreasonable. Their behavior prompts several accusations of witchcraft by the

Get Access
Get Access