This academic paper titled The Crucible has a total of 2556 words and 9 pages.
Word Count: 2527
In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the madness of the Salem witch trials is explored in great detail. There are many theories as to why the witch trials came about, the most popular of which is the girls\' suppressed childhoods. However, there were other factors as well, such as Abigail Williams\' affair with John Proctor, the secret grudges that neighbors held against each other, and the physical and economic differences between the citizens of Salem Village. From a historical viewpoint, it is known that young girls in colonial Massachusetts were given little or no freedom to act like children. They were expected to walk straight, arms by their sides, eyes slightly downcast, and their mouths were to be shut unless otherwise asked to speak. It is not surprising that the girls would find this type of lifestyle very constricting. To rebel against it, they played pranks, such as dancing in the woods, listening to slaves\' magic stories and pretending that other villagers were bewitching them. The Crucible starts after the girls in the village have been caught dancing in the woods. As one of them falls sick, rumors start to fly that there is witchcraft going on in the woods, and that the sick girl is bewitched. Once the girls talk to each other, they become more and more frightened of being accused as witches, so Abigail starts accusing others of practicing witchcraft. The other girls all join in so that the blame will not be placed on them. In The Crucible, Abigail starts the accusations by saying, "I go back to Jesus; I kiss his hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!" Another girl, Betty, continues the cry with, "I saw George Jacobs with the Devil! I saw Goody Howe with the Devil!" >From here on, the accusations grow and grow until the jails overflow with accused witches. It must have given them an incredible sense of power when the whole town of Salem listened to their words and believed each and every accusation. After all, children were to be seen and not heard in Puritan society, and the newfound attention was probably overwhelming. In Act Three of The Crucible, the girls were called before the judges to defend themselves against the claims that they were only acting. To prove their innocence, Abigail led the other girls in a chilling scene. Abby acted as if Mary Warren sent her spirit up to the rafters and began to talk to the spirit. "Oh Mary, this is a black art to change your shape. No, I cannot, I cannot stop my mouth; it\'s God\'s work I do." The other girls all stared at the rafters in horror and began to repeat everything they heard. Finally, the girls\' hysterics caused Mary Warren to accuse John Proctor of witchcraft. Once the scam started, it was too late to stop, and the snowballing effect of wild accusations soon resulted in the hanging of many innocents. After the wave of accusations began, grudges began to surface in the community. Small slights were made out to be witchcraft, and bad business deals were blamed on witchery. Two characters in The Crucible, Giles Corey and Thomas Putnam, argue early on about a plot of land. Corey claims that he bought it from Goody Nurse but Putnam says he owns it, and Goody Nurse had no right to sell it. Later, when Putnam\'s daughter accuses George Jacobs of witchery, Corey claims that Putnam only wants Jacobs\' land. Giles says, "If Jacobs hangs for a witch he forfeit up his property - that\'s law! And there is none but Putnam with the coin to buy so great a piece. This man is killing his neighbors for their land!" Others also had hidden motives for accusing their neighbors. Once the accusations began, everyone had a reason to accuse someone else which is why the hangings got so out of hand. The wave of accusations can be likened to mass hysteria, in which the people involved are so caught up that they start having delusions of neighbors out to do them harm. One of the main accusers, Abigail Williams, had an ulterior motive for accusing Elizabeth