Women's Power During the Salem Witch Trials

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Synthesis Outline I. Introduction II. Women possessed little power until the witch trials A. Women lived through their husbands (Source D) 1. Men had all the power a. Wives did everything to better their husband’s life (1) Cook, clean, etc. 2. They didn’t own anything a. Couldn’t own property B. Once witch trials began, women became powerful 1. Abigail became “official” of the court a. Gained power over the girls, Danforth, and community (Source C) (1) Accused many innocent people of witchcraft and had them killed C. Accusers became very powerful 1. Abigail was placed on pedestal by playing victim and lying a. Others followed 2. Opportunity to wreak personal vengeance on neighbors (Act I excerpt) a. Abigail vs. Elizabeth Proctor, etc. 3. ‘the accuser is always holy’ (Source C) D. Religion intertwined with government 1. Judge in preaching stance (Source B) a. Only two women in painting (1) Women are secondary to men (2) One woman seems to be reading a Bible 2. Each individual must lie in order to live (Source C) a. Lying is a sin 3. Witchcraft may be a way for women to assert their will and power in a system dominated by men (Source C) E. Society vs. Individual 1. The word ‘name’ means something personal, as well as social, for it distinguishes each individual in society (Source C) a. Elizabeth Proctor is pious, pure, religious, respected, and honest b. Abigail Williams is known to start trouble and mischief 2. Accusers had more power than individuals accused a. Abigail and girls vs. Proctor and

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