The Salem Witch Trial hysteria of 1492 was caused by a variety of factors including the Puritans of Salem's inability to admit any wrongdoing on their part and tendency to blame all wrongdoing on the devil. This, along with their fundamentalist values, created an environment of paranoia towards witchcraft. Also, people of influence were saying that there were witches in Salem. As teenagers living in as strict of a society as the Puritans had, the accusers would rather have gone to the extreme of accusing innocent people of witchcraft than admitting to any misbehavior on their part. When one accuser cried witch, the others were willing to do the same and in a way began to believe their own lies.
She not only acted as a tyrant but she pulled other people into her mess. Abigail Williams is the main reason behind the Salem witch hunt. She is the one who broke the rules of the church and brought all the girls and Tituba into the woods. Once the “Blame Game” started, she could have ended the hysteria. Instead, she continued her false accusations.
Hanna de Villa Ms. Jackson ENG 3U1 - 11 16 May 2008 The Source of All Evil in Macbeth: Women Macbeth is a play full of betrayal, deceit and murder. Generally, men carry out these actions but instead women stir the cauldron of trouble. From the witches’ prophecies that spark Macbeth’s murder, Lady Macbeth’s domineering presence and the exploitation she uses on her husband are the inevitable roots of catastrophe and evil in the play. They do not show any aggression and violence but relies on deception, manipulation and supernatural phenomenon. The Witches and Hecate portray the image and eminence of evil in Macbeth.
Women were targeted, especially old women, midwives and unmarried women, as they were believed to release their anger and over men through witchery. This led to misogyny; the hatred of women. This was because they were more likely to have enemies, hence the accusations of witchcraft. This shows that the role of women interlined with the role of the elites was responsible for the witch-craze to some extent. Political and legal changes in Europe were another factor that contributed to the European witch-craze to a great extent.
Abigail’s greed was the most destructive to the outcome of this story. She destroyed most people’s reputation in the town. Many innocent people are hanged for crimes they did not commit including John Proctor. Abigail wanted to get rid of John Proctor’s wife Elizabeth, and Elizabeth was charged with consorting with the devil. Abigail new the punishment for the crime of witchcraft was hanging and carried out her accusation so that she and Jon could “dance upon her grave together.”(Act 3) John Proctor is also charged with witch craft; he had a choice of lying about consorting with the devil or keeping his integrity.
In “The Crucible”, the girls accused people of being witches just to make themselves look better to others to gain respect. “We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!” (Miller 196). The direct quote from “The Crucible” means children who are overtaken by social fears have the power to control the life or death of a single individual, by accusing them of witchcraft. Many women were killed in the town of Salem during the trials and the ones who weren't killed had their reputations forever lowered. Everyone who was charged by McCarthy had his or her own reputation diminished also.
In a fictional work based on the history, we see an enactment of the frenzy. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller Abigail Williams force others to join in witchcraft. She only thinks about her self and she loved John Proctor that’s why she was jealous to his wife Elizabeth Proctor. Abigail Williams also force other girls to obey her words. "Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you.
Throughout the entire play, Abigail Williams uses her good name to control Salem by accusing people of witchcraft, which results in the deaths of many people in the town. After witnessing Tituba confess to Reverend Hale, Abigail confesses “I saw Sarah Good with the devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the devil!” (Miller 189). Abigail realizes that by giving the names of people she saw with the devil she can control Salem because she has a good name and people will listen to her.
This vindictive hatred from Abigail soon prompts a witch hunt involving many innocent people: “Twelve have already hanged for the same crime.” While many panics, John Procter knows this from the start ; “this is a whore’s vengeance”. He tersely identifies the main cause for the witch trials to be directly linked with a spurned lover, who has become disemployed by Procter after having a brief extra-marital affair with her. Still overwhelmed with lustful feelings for John Procter, Abigail decides to manipulate the situation by accusing innocent people of witchcraft, to achieve her own revengeful goal. Abigail is not the only one who takes advantage of the witch trials, to accomplish their revenge. Thomas and Ann Putnam, as a resentful and greedy couple, will take it out on anyone who has caused them trouble.
The Crucible, by Arthur Miller can be superficially interpreted as a play that takes place during an era when witches posed a threat to people. With the villagers of Salem being a strictly religious puritan, any malicious event would have been considered to be the act of the devil and therefore were sought to be terminated immediately. It was during the early year of 1692 when mass hysteria rapidly spread throughout the people of Salem; with people being accused of consorting with devils and casting spells. These honest people were mainly middle-aged women who were childless or who were abandoned by their husbands. This trend undoubtedly represents the theme of empowerment and gender in the play.