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Crucible Coursework

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Crucible Coursework What is there about the society of Salem which allows the girls' stories to be believed? For many hundreds of years throughout Europe there was a belief in witchcraft. At times this belief developed into hysterical fear, leading to campaigns of a persecution against suspected witches. Some of them might have had knowledge of herbal medicine, may have been lucky in life, or may have just been enemies of the accuser. Superstitious people would assume they had magical powers or were in league with the devil. It would be very easy to accuse someone you did not like and very difficult for the accused to prove their innocence. Many people believed that they were experts in identifying witches. It was thought that witches were agents of the devil and that they could change their shape, and even send out their spirits to attack people. People were also deeply suspicious of other religions than themselves in this case, they were protestants, and disliked other religions. ...read more.


Land, pride and wealth were a big factor in the time that the play was set. These conflicts created personal differences which often resulted in accusations in real life and within the play. There were many personal differences within the play, the most obvious one being between Abigail and Elizabeth Proctor - Abigail is in love with Elizabeth Proctor's husband, John, and therefore wants Elizabeth dead so she can have him. Elizabeth resents this and is determined to get Abigail out of their lives. Another conflict is the Putnam and the Nurse families. The Nurses had established their own township outside Salem, thus splitting the community into factions. Mrs Putnam resents the fact that Rebecca Nurse has a healthy family whereas all of her children died at childbirth. When the girls were caught dancing and casting spells in the woods, they face prosecution and the death sentence for witchcraft. ...read more.


Abigail is also overcome by vanity; she convinces herself that if she has Goody Proctor executed, John Proctor will marry her. Proctor notices this and calls her a "lump of vanity." She also threatens Danforth, saying "Let you beware, Mr Danforth. Think you be so mighty that the power of Hell may not turn your wits?" To conclude, I believe that the girls are believed because of a combination of all of these factors, leading to one main factor - convenience. Witchery was a convenient way to solve the 'wrongdoings' of the townspeople. People would also be accused because they are begrudged by another family. They believed the girls because they wanted to, they were afraid not to, encase they became accused. Once the amount of executions, who were accused by the girls, spiralled out of control, they became trusted and people believed what they said. Once the executions had begun, it proved difficult for anyone involved to accept that a terrible mistake had been made; thousands of innocent lives were lost because of this. ...read more.

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