Recent reports reveal that the people of Salem are convinced that Rebecca Nurse is innocent. There are rumors around town that a rebellion is sparking, something Reverend Parris especially fears. Another rumor is that Andover has thrown out the courts and will no longer hear anything of witchcraft. As a result, Reverend Parris asked Judge Danforth and Hawthorne to postpone the executions of Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor, but Danforth refuses.
As the trials go on, many more accusations are made. Giles Corey accuses Putnam of trying to get other landowners hanged for witchcraft so that he can have their land for himself. Marshall Danforth asks for a source and the person’s name. Giles says that he cannot give out the person’s name. Giles is in the court because his wife, Martha Corey had been arrested and accused of witchcraft. She gave away a pig to a man, and the pig became ill and died shortly after the pig was acquired. Francis Nurse is in the court because his wife, Rebecca Nurse was arrested too. He along with Giles continue to confront Danforth about Putnam’s doing, but Danforth responds with that they will have to put their thoughts into writing
Reverend John Hale, an educated man of the Lord, arrives in Salem and unwittingly starts the Salem Witch Trials and reveals the theme that lies blind even the most well intended from the truth. Reverend Hale represents a good uncorrupt holy man, unlike Parris, and we have chosen a New Testament bible due to his piety, but also due to the Congregationalist Protestant faith which settled in New England. Hale presents himself as an educated man of the world and at the time only priests became educated so we have chosen a textbook. From the very beginning, Hale searches for the truth behind the “witches” in Salem and he remains determined to reveal the lies told by Abigail. We have chosen to represent his determination by a magnifying glass or
Quickly after Mr. Hale’s arrival in Salem, the situation regarding witchcraft escalates. Mr. Hale gets sucked into the middle of something which didn’t impact his life personally in the first place. As rumors of the devil spread around, more names known to be “seen” with him are mentioned in the court. Mr. Hale takes it upon himself to visit the houses of those who are accused of involvement in witchcraft. “No— no, I come of my own, without the court’s authority. Hear me. I know not if you are
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
I think we ought to rely on the doctor now, and good prayer.” Rebecca’s purpose in the play is to be a voice of reason and show the audience the fallacies and biased nature of the 1692 witch trials.
Mr. Putnam is a very wealthy and influential man in Salem. As a result of him being driven by power and wealth he uses the witch trials to his advantage. In the past, the Nurses and the Putnams have had disputes: “Thomas Putnam’s man for the Salem ministry was Bayley. The Nurse clan had been in the faction that prevented Bayley’s taking office” (Miller 27). Thomas Putnam would have gained power by having his choice for the Salem ministry chosen. He would gain status and the favor of the leader of Salem, but the Nurse family stood in his way. This incident sparked anger in Mr. Putnam against the Nurse family and now he is out for revenge and he is using the trials to get it. Another grudge he has against the Nurses is connected to land: “Another suggestion to explain the systematic campaign against Rebecca, and inferentially against Francis, is the land war he fought with his neighbors, one of whom was a Putnam” (Miller 27). The Putnams have a history of fighting over land with the Nurse family and this gives him a motive to go after them and their land. Putnam’s desire for land and wealth also gives him the motivation to take the land from the Nurse family in any way he can, including blaming them for witchcraft. This dispute is important because it gives motive to the Putnams and shows their determination to get what they want.
Mrs. Putnam quickly decides her daughter’s, as well as Betty’s condition, without further analysis, when she says: “Her soul is taken, surely” (Miller 13). Mrs. Putnam models a hasty generalization because she promptly declares Betty and Ruth taken by the Devil without any consideration for another explanation. Mrs. Putnam moves the scene along when she acts illogical, yet persuades others to believe her- setting up the plot for the rest of the play. She wants to believe in the supernatural to rationalize her children’s death, so she quickly chooses witchcraft as the cause for the strange recent occurrences. Miller utilizes Mrs. Putnam’s personality to support the idea that the entire play revolves around hasty generalizations, as she easily convinces most Salem residents of witchcraft, with little
John Demos’s nine point portrait of a witch is one way to analysis the case of Rebecca Nurse. To do so, one must first evaluate and understand the history of Rebecca Nurse and her role in the Salem in the late 1600’s. Rebecca Nurse was the wife of Francis Nurse, a farmer who became wealthy after buying and tending a large plot of land between Salem Village and Salem Town. Together they had eight children, and as a family they were prosperous. Connecting this information to Demos’s portrait of a witch, Rebecca Nurse falls under the first four points made in his sketch. These first two points are that she was “female” and that she was of “middle age”. However, the latter point is slightly inaccurate because Nurse was older than sixty years. The final two points that Rebecca Nurse falls under in Demos’s portrait of a witch are that she was of “English” and “Puritan” descent and culture, and that she was “married”, with little or no children. Again, the latter point is not fully accurate because Rebecca Nurse, while married, had, in fact, eight children in her lifetime. The significance of these traits of Rebecca Nurse agree, for the most part, with the
Although Hale’s overall goal was to bring justice and protect those who were innocent, Giles Corey’s only priority was to protect his wife from being falsely convicted of being involved in witchery. Corey’s guilt is intensified when, because of his comment about his wife’s reading habits, she is accused of being a witch. Believing that his comment might lead to her ultimate demise, Giles Corey heads to the court with Nurse, Hale, and Proctor to plead his wife’s case. Once in the court, Corey attempts to bring to light the fact that greed and selfishness are the motivation for the accusations of many of those convicted of being witches. He even believes that this is the cause for his wife as well stating that “Thomas Putnam is reaching out for
One of the main rivalries in the play is the dispute between Thomas Putnam and Francis Nurse. There are many disputes between the two, and Thomas Putnam took advantage of his power and went after Francis Nurse. One thing that Mr. Putnam was not happy about was the fact that Francis Nurse played a big part in not allowing Putnam’s brother-in-law from being elected to Salem ministry. Another situation Thomas Putnam is not happy about, is that Francis is in a heated land dispute with one of Putnam’s relatives. Putnam abuses his power and somehow finds a way to convict Francis’s wife, Rebecca Nurse, that she supposedly killed the Putnam’s dead kids. This is just one example of a man, Thomas Putnam, who is jealous of the Nurse family, and abruptly uses his power to lie to the court and have Rebecca Nurse killed for nothing she did not do. There were many other instances where the court of Salem leaned toward the word of jealous citizens.
First, Rebecca Nurse. Nurse is the wife of Francis Nurse, a man who owns about 300 acres of land and got into a land war against the Putnam family (Spoiler alert: the Nurses’ won the land war). Together with all that land, they formed a new community outside of
Several characters that accused others seemed to have other motifs than to cleanse the town of witchcraft. One, for instance, was Thomas Putnam. Putnam was a wealthy and greedy citizen of Salem. During the play, he accuses people of witchcraft to acquire more land. In the play, Giles Corey states that Putnam told his daughter to accuse George Jacobs of witchcraft. If Jacobs were to hang, the only citizen in Salem wealthy enough to buy his land was Putnam. Giles reported this and when he would not name the man who told him, Danforth arrests him for contempt of court. They torture Giles by placing large stones on his chest, making it hard to breathe, until he confesses. The only words Giles spoke were “more weight”.
The affected girls were accusing the most likely culprits. Powerful and wealthy families were blaming the less fortunate. According to Jenrette, one well-known family feud at the time was of the Putnam family and the Nurse family. Ann Putnam, age twelve, accused Rebecca Nurse of being a witch. The Nurse family was working towards owning about three hundred acres of land while being targeted by the Putnam family (Jenrette n. pag.). The family’s progress stopped abruptly after Rebecca Nurse was accused of being a witch. Jones stated by the time the trials were over, more than one hundred and fifty people had been accused of being witches. Looking back in history, most of the colonists were accused because they were older, poor, and in family
Rebecca Nurse then proves herself an honest character that is well respected through the plot of the story. She is so well respected that even male figures throughout the play respect her advice. This is shown when Rebecca gives honest advice to John Proctor saying “No, you cannot break charity with your minister. You are another kind, John. Clasp his hand, make your peace” (Miller 181). This is important to Rebecca Nurse as a character because it entails an honest opinion that John should just make peace with Reverend Parris rather than fight fire with fire against him. In addition, when Goody Nurse is convicted of witchcraft, Reverend Hale knows that Rebecca is a very honest and trustworthy person and that in the end she would not be convicted in a trial of witchcraft. This evidence is essential when analyzing Rebecca considering the fact that she was able to Justify in the short time she was with Reverend Hale the honest and trustworthy women she is. All in all, Rebecca Nurse manifests herself as an individual who is can always give her honest opinion and is well respected.