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The Crucible - What is there about Salem society which allows the girls' stories to be believed?

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The Crucible What is there about Salem society which allows the girls' stories to be believed? Salem, a small town in Massachusetts consisted of puritans whose lives were strongly based around religion. They were all afraid of being accused of heresy and were suspicious of other religious sects. Their religious fanaticism ruined innocent lives. The story is set in 1692 and starts with all the young girls in the town creeping into the forest one night and dancing and casting spells. Dancing was related to the Devil and therefore was designated a crime. Two of the youngest girls were taken ill the next day. They were Betty, the reverend Parris' daughter as described in the introduction i.e. "Betty Parris, aged ten, is lying on the bed, inert.", and Ruth, Mrs Putnam's only child, described by Parris when he says: "Your Ruth sick?" The girls were spotted dancing and were declared witches. To clear their names and protect their family's reputation which was very important, the girls accused innocent women in the village, of compacting with the Devil and these accusations were believed. All the villagers were expected to conform to a strict code of belief. They were expected to attend Church every Sunday and if they didn't it was considered a crime against God. ...read more.


Mrs Putnam was jealous of Rebecca Nurse. This was because Rebecca had a large healthy family with all living children whereas all but one of Mrs Putnam's children had died. Mrs. Putnam had seven babies that each died within a day of its birth. "You think it God's work you should never lose a child, nor grandchild either, and I bury all but one?" said Mrs Putnam who channelled her anger into blaming Rebecca for their deaths as she was convinced that Rebecca used witchcraft to murder them. This eventually lead to Rebecca's death because as Rebecca was Mrs Putnam's midwife and seven of Mrs Putnam's babies died, Rebecca was wrongly charged with being a witch and that accusation was believed. Abigail wanted Elizabeth Proctor dead. This was because following her and Proctor's affair, all she wanted was to be with John Proctor. She hoped that if his wife was out of the way she could have John. Betty accused Abigail saying: "You did, you did! You drank a charm to kill John Proctor's wife! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor!" Abigail's vanity also led her to believe that John Proctor would want her to be his wife rather than Elizabeth. ...read more.


village of witchcraft and the executions had begun, it was very difficult for those involved to admit that dreadful mistakes had been made. But there are three main reasons why the girls' stories were readily believed. One is the fact that there wasn't a really strong leader in the town although Parris was supposed to be a leader. Two, Salem's court system seems faulty especially as there was no hearing for the victim, even if they were really innocent they had two choices of either confessing or being put into jail or denial which got them executed. Once they were accused they couldn't win. Land and cattle also became available when people were hung after being accused of witchcraft too. Three, people were not allowed to have beliefs and views that were different. When the girl's lied about dancing in the woods, they did it to protect themselves and their families. The girls said that they saw members of the town standing with the devil as they believed they could put the blame on to others and not be held responsible for their own sins. Although Abigail and the other girls started the accusations, the responsibility for the deaths of many innocent people lies with the whole community which broke down. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jerry Gold ...read more.

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