The Crucible

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade December 2001

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The Crucible You walk up onto the platform, and realizing you are the center of attention you look down at the ground. The rope is placed around your neck; your hands and feet are tied together as you say your final prayer. You face the crowd that convicted you one last time as the floor beneath your feet drops out, and your neck is broken. This was the tragic death for many people living in Salem Massachusetts in 1692. The Salem Witch Trials killed nearly 6% of Salem's population. What were the main contributing factors in Salem that lead to the trials? Envy and jealously amongst the residents or were there religious fanatics within Salem? The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, holds the answers to these questions and many others.

The Salem Witch Trials were obviously caused by envy and jealously amongst the residents. There were many residents in Salem that envied or even hated other residents.

For example, Putnam: "A moment, Mr. Proctor. What lumber is that you're draggin', if I may ask you?" Proctor: "My lumber. From out my forest by the riverside." Putnam: "Why, we are surely gone wild this year. What anarchy is this? That tract is in my bounds, it's in my bounds, Mr. Proctor." Proctor: "In your bounds!" Indicating Rebecca: " I bought that tract from Goody Nurse's husband five month ago." Putnam: "He had no right to sell it. It stand clear in my grandfather's will that all the land between the river and-" Proctor: "Your grandfather had a habit of willing land that never belonged to him, if I may say it plain." Giles: "That's the God's truth; he nearly willed away my north pasture, but he knew I'd break his fingers before he'd set his name to it. Let's get your lumber home, John. I feel a sudden will to work coming on." Putnam: " You load one oak of mine and you'll fight to drag it home!" Giles: "Aye and we'll win too, Putnam-this fool and I. Come on." Putnam: "I'll have my men on you Corey! I'll clap a writ on you!" This argument clearly shows that there is definitely some serious resentment between the residents in Salem.

If the people of Salem actually got along, the Salem Witch Trials would have never existed. If a resident of Salem had gotten into an argument with his neighbor, he might accuse them of witchcraft just because they had gotten into an argument. Abigail Williams, Betty Parris, Mary Warren, and Tituba were all caught dancing naked in the woods together. Mary was startled by Rev. Parris when he jumped out of the bushes and caught the girls dancing. She fell to the ground unconscious. When she woke up she said that Abby drank blood to kill Goody Proctor. After being summoned by Rev. Parris, Rev. Hale asked Abby why Mary made that accusation. Rev. Parris wanted Rev. Hales' opinion at whether he thought the devil had gotten to Abby. Abby then said, (referring to Tituba) "She made me do it! She made Betty do it!" Tituba was shocked and said "Abby!" Finally Abigail said, "She makes me drink blood!" This caused Tituba to go to jail. The people of Salem were Puritans and Puritans believe that the reputation of their name was extremely important. They would do anything necessary to keep their name clean. This was a prime example of keeping their names clean.

If they had just gotten along with each other and not been so self"“centered perhaps the Salem Witch Trials would never have taken place. They did not think about their actions; all that mattered was that they got what they wanted. The first example of this that comes to mind is when John Proctor and Abigail Williams were caught touching each other behind John's house. That may not sound bad, but Abigail Williams in real life was 11 years old and John Proctor was in his forties. To make matters worse, they were caught together by John Proctor's wife!!! That is definitely a major sin, and during the trials that incident does come up.

The Salem Witch Trials were a catastrophe, but the reasonable and sufficient evidence I received from The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, lets me know why they occurred. The residents of Salem could not get along with each other because they envied what each other had. This reason does not make it right to accuse someone of witchcraft. However, the accusations occurred so they could get their enemies hanged and out of their way.