"The Crucible" by Miller, and salem witch trials of 1692

Essay by albert cellaCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 1996

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The Crucible by Arthur Miller as well as the maps, text and charts of Enduring

Visions clearly show a growing resentment between the 'have nots' of Salem Village

and the 'haves' of its more easterly neighbor Salem Town. Salem was presided over by

the Rev. Parris. By 1692, Salem had become a divided and disturbed community.

Hidden behind the sacred crusade of Rev. Parris and the petty jealousies and hates of the

Putnams and Abigail Williams is a community that is far removed from the original

intention of Gov. Winthrop and the ideals of 'The New England Way'. Miller points out

that as the Puritan community became more divided against itself so grew its need to set

off a wave of hysteria in the presence of Satan.

The map on p. 49 clearly marks a battle line being drawn between the less

successful hard dirt farmers of the Village accusing many of their Puritan Church

members of the more prosperous harbor (who were mostly merchants) of witchcraft.


New England Way as conceived by John Winthrop was slowly disintegrating by the

beginning of the Salem Witch Trials of early 1692. The Factionalism And Wealth Chart

in Enduring Visions , demonstrates very clearly that those whose family income was less

than 10 shillings ( 61%) were for the Rev. Parris and his entreaties of witchcraft. The

more prosperous families, those whose family income exceeded 20 shillings ( 23%) were

opposed to witchcraft accusations. The Rev. Samuel Parris is a frightened extremely

weakened man who has little or no faith. He is a self-serving man more worried about

his position than his supposedly ailing daughter. He spends all of his time protecting

himself and his position of authority rather than comforting his flock that is being

menaced by Satan. The...