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Who is essentially responsible for the hangings of the so-called witches of Salem?

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Introduction

Who is Essentially Responsible for the Hangings of the So-called 'witches' of Salem? 'The Crucible' is a play written by the author Arthur Miller. The play revolves around several 1690's witchcraft trials. The book unravels the lies and secrets of the characters in the village, ultimately contributing to the hangings. The play itself focuses on the 'witch' hangings in the village of Salem. Of the characters in this book several of them appear to be responsible for the events. At a closer look you find that indeed a lot of the characters are responsible, some knowingly but some unintentionally contributing to the hangings. The village reverend, Reverend Parris, finds his young daughter Betty dancing in the woods with Abigail, his niece, his African slave Tituba and several of the other village girls. In the morning Betty will not awake and is heard murmuring. He is clearly upset and when Abigail tells him that the people of Salem are talking of witchcraft, and that he should go and deny the rumours of witchcraft he says 'And what shall I say to them? That my daughter and my niece I discovered dancing like heathen in the forest?' He is clearly angered and most probably embarrassed by catching his daughter and niece like this, but he wishes to maintain his reputation and so does not want the villagers to find out about it. ...read more.

Middle

Abigail is determined to win back John Proctor and appears prepared to go to any lengths. Proctor rejects her, he has decided that his wife and family are worth more than an affair with Abigail, who is still convinced that Proctor is in love with her and always has been. When she has been rejected again, Abigail develops a malicious idea, which she believes will put herself back in Proctors arms once more. And if not that, at least the woman with the man she loves will be punished. This is one of the most selfish and malicious things Abigail does, of which there are several. She accuses more lower village members, and she threatens her friends not to tell the truth, she tells them that she will 'come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you.' In doing this she creates allies. She can rely on them being scared of her, using power through fear so that they will not speak a word of the truth and they will go along with whatever lie she conjures next. She creates for herself a trustworthy position within the community by relying on the villagers believing her accusations, for who would not trust somebody telling the words of God. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is ignorant of others' feelings and does not care what happens to others in his way. He defends Abigail and in doing so, he is gaining more status within the community. He wishes to preserve the new respect that the villagers have for him. In defending Abigail, he is attacking the accused, and at the same time, he is also siding with the court, a clever decision to keep him on the good side of the important people. Parris is trying to get rid of anyone who may ruin his chances of coming out with a good reputation. Arthur Miller used a lot of dramatic devices to create tension and make the audience feel the story. The play itself is already on a very powerful subject and the expression and language Miller uses in the play creates a more tense feeling as you read the story. I think that ultimately, a lot of the villagers are at fault for the hangings in Salem. Most of them have played their part in either spreading the rumours or convicting the 'witches.' However, without Deputy Governor Danforth, none of them would have been convicted to be killed, and without the lies, accusations and manipulation of Abigail Williams, the whole thing would not have been carried on any further. I believe that these characters are both mainly at fault for the deaths of many innocent people. Lily Kim Sing 11A ...read more.

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