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How does Arthur Miller show in 'The Crucible' that Salem society has the capacity for what started as just 'dancin' in the woods' to end with the deaths of innocent people?

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Introduction

How does Arthur Miller show in 'The Crucible' that Salem society has the capacity for what started as just 'dancin' in the woods' to end with the deaths of innocent people? The Salem society shown in the play is a theocratic one, governed by religious principles. The whole town is virtually run by intense Christian beliefs and the Bible, yet there are certain individuals living in this society that focus more on their own personal intentions and beliefs. Even before the 'dancin' in the woods occurred, greed and conflict was evident with the people of Salem as Rebecca Nurse states in act one: 'This will set us all to arguin' again in the society...' This clearly shows that there has been conflict before in the society as a result of people's self interests. The society is also run unofficially by fear of the unknown, namely the devil and his evil ways. The people of the town use this fear of the unknown as an alternative to something that cannot be explained. The fear of the unknown is very strong throughout the play, however there are points where it seems that some characters question that the devil actually exists at all, and are persecuted for their actions. ...read more.

Middle

Thomas Putnam, for instance is portrayed as a man of greed and lust for authority through land ownership. He is on a never-ending quest for gaining more acres of land, as people were judged by the amount of land they owned in the society. He uses the witch trials as a means of gaining more land by going against the accused persons whom he wishes to gain land from. This is shown when Giles Corey says that Putnam is '...killing his neighbours for land'. His greed is shown here, as it is clear that he in striving to gain more land. This greed turns the audience against him, and provides sympathy to the accused persons. He has several conflicts with John Proctor throughout the play, mainly due to land ownership. This intensifies the audience's criticism for Putnam. From the beginning of the play, Reverend Parris is shown as a man who is more interested in his own reputation than his actual belief in the truth. When he discovers that his niece, Abigail, had been dancing in the woods he states that: ' ...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.' ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows that Danforth and the court's justice is flawed. The flawed justice of the court is another clear reason of how Salem's society is able to convict people so easily. He also expects people to side with the court by saying: ' ...A person is either with this court or against it.' This shows that if you were against the court then you would be persecuted. During the case, his justice is frequently questioned, which angers him, as he is not used to having his justice questioned.. Danforth's belief in the truth fluctuates, as there are points where he begins to doubt Abigail's story such as where he 'studies Abigail for a minute'. However, to wash away all of Danforth's doubts Abigail pretends to have 'visions'. This works on every occasion, and therefore proves that the court's justice is again flawed if it can be manipulated so easily by a mere 17-year-old Christian girl on a quest for love. The cause many people would believe of the outpouring of accusations and convictions in Salem would be Abigail Williams, but the detail that surrounds the events is immense. There are many different key figures surrounding the deaths and all play a large part in the events that took place after the 'dancin' occurred. Dariush Kamyab 10 JA . Dariush Kamyab ...read more.

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