• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Real Salem Witch Trials

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐The Real Salem Witch Trials Although Arthur Miller fabricated many vital aspects of The Salem Witch Trials in ?The Crucible?, much of what we learn in the play is, in fact, real. There were young girls making wild accusations, paranoia and suspicion amongst neighbours, mass hysteria, merciless villagers, trials, arrests, pardons and hangings. In this essay I will explore the real people affected by these events in Salem, who they were and what they were like, along with the aftermath created by such tragedy and madness. The events took place between 1692 and 1693. Salem was a small town occupied by puritan folk. They were an extremely religious and disciplined people. The children did not play, nor did they read for simple enjoyment. There were no hobbies, no jewellery or make-up for teenage girls to experiment with. The women did not bare skin in any way or form. They did not meet to gossip and giggle. The men did not play sport, or stay home from church if they were tired after a hard day working in the fields. The civilians worked hard and prayed hard, and that was all. In mid-January 1692, Abigail Williams was twelve years old. ...read more.


Abigail did not accuse John, Elizabeth?s real husband, of witch craft. Miller came to his own creative conclusions. Questioning began on March 1st and throughout Abigail and Betty would shriek and throw fits. Unlike Miller?s interpretation of the events however, Abigail was less of a leader than Anne Putnam. It was Anne who accused the first three women, followed by Martha Corey, an established member of the church, and Dorcas Good, the four year old daughter of Sarah Good, who would be chained to a prison wall for weeks. It was these bold accusations that sparked the fear that anyone in Salem could be a witch. Anne?s parents also accused dozens of witchcraft- many being enemies of the influential puritan family. It is said that people from neighbouring town and villages would come to the trials, just to see the theatrical performances put on by Anne and her Mother. They were dangerously talented actresses. Some historians believe that Anne was as much a victim as she was a villain. It is likely that she was manipulated by the adults around her to achieve their own ends. Most of the afflicted and accusers were in some way related to the Putnam family and Thomas Putnam was a chief filer of complaints in the village. ...read more.


He died in1720. In 1699, Anne?s parents died within two weeks of one another. At aged nineteen, Anne was left to care for her nine siblings. She never married and she died at the age of thirty seven. Betty married Benjamin Barron in 1710. He was a yeoman, a trader, a cordwainer and a shoemaker. They had four children. Betty died six years after her husband in their Concord home on March 21st 1760. She lived the happiest life of all those affected. Abigail gave her last testimony on June 3rd 1692. After this she disappeared without explanation and there are no records indicating what happened to her. It is suggested that she moved to a city on the East coast, working as a prostitute and never marrying. But this is just speculation. Learning about Salem and discovering the stories of the real people involved, makes Miller?s play more believable. I have a newfound respect for the characters, knowing that they lived and breathed before I did. In total, twenty people were found guilty and hanged. Six were found guilty and pardoned, two being pregnant. Mary Perkins Bradbury was found guilty of witch craft but escaped from jail. Five women confessed but were pardoned. Two men were pressed to death with heavy stones. Two people died in jail. Salem will always be remembered for its trials, and how such illogical madness began with just nine pre-adolescent girls. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Arthur Miller essays

  1. Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.

    arrested and tried because she could not afford an Easter outfit that "all people" could afford" (Fried 84). Another instance in which people were accused of being communist was if they had facial hair. At the time, a lot of Russians, who were communists, had facial hair.

  2. How does Arthur Miller present The character of Reverend Hale in 'The Crucible'.

    But Arthur Miller quite clearly makes Hale reveal that he has just signed Rebecca Nurse's death warrant. Hale says in guilt: "I have this morning signed away the soul of Rebecca Nurse." This was the woman he was very much praising in the two earlier Acts.

  1. What Were the Causes and Effects of the Salem Witch Trials.

    The cases of the three women were investigated at the Salem Village Meetinghouse. During their questioning, Betty, Abigail, and six of their friends often claimed that the women's spirits were biting them pinching them or appearing as a small animal or bird.

  2. The Salem Witch Trial - Brief History and Thoughts as to What Caused Them

    She begins to visibly sicken, forget chores and errands, and has a very real inability to concentrate. During dinner prayers her father casts a sidelong glance, and finds his daughter in a deathlike stare. (Devil 39) This can all be explained away by fear of Tituba's stories of witchcraft and/or

  1. Miller's dramatic writing in The Crucible

    The suspense build-up in the second part of the passage is also made more effective by the stage actions:" Elizabeth, not knowing what to say, sensing a situation wetting her lips to stall for time" and "In a crisis of indecision she cannot speak".This waiting, expressed through the stage actions

  2. The Crucible Revision Notes

    Serious,intelligent, assertive of his authority 2. The human face ofGod?s justice 3. Devises the testof Proctors honesty ? if his wife admits her husband ? ... has known AbigailWilliams?. This taints Proctor?s evidence against the character of Abigail 4.

  1. 'Whilst we are appalled by Abigail Williams, we are fascinated by her as well'. ...

    who are similarly presented such as Mercy, introduced as ?a fat, sly, merciless girl?. Abigail is a character designed by Miller to provoke disgust in her ways of pursuing her goals, yet it is the very method of which she does so that fascinates the audience and separates her from the norms of 1600s society.

  2. What do we learn of Salem and three of its inhabitants in the opening ...

    The first Puritan inhabitants of Salem are described as those who ?held in their steady hands the candle that would light the world?, yet the Salem in the setting of the text clearly states how society in Salem has moved on from its previous religious ideals; suspicion of each other

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work