Greed In The Crucible

Good Essays
The desire for land and power can make people do irrational things. This ideological principle can be applied to anyone; even the theocratic people of Salem, Massachusetts. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the actions of a few girls dancing in the woods in 1692 start a wave of emotion and hysteria which completely encompasses the town for the better part of a year. In this time of panic, selfish desires of people are disguised by the presumed religious act of condemning people of witchcraft, including a man named Thomas Putnam. Thomas Putnam originally accuses people of witchcraft because he is hungry for land, causing him to lie about his intentions to John Proctor which, in turn, creates a greedy monster of Putnam by the play’s end. …show more content…
Angry that their wives have been falsely accused, Giles Corey, John Proctor, and Francis Nurse head to the courts to plead for their release. Unfortunately, they have to present their cases to Danforth, the Deputy Governor of Salem and overseer of the courts. The three men begin by claiming that the dancing girls “are frauds” (80). They are referring to Abigail, Mercy Lewis, and Mary Warren, who are caught dancing and later claimed to be witches by Tituba, an African-American slave from Barbados. This sets the Trials in motion, so the claim has to have significant evidence to even be considered in the stubborn courts of Salem. Eventually, Danforth agrees to read a testament written by Giles that defends the actions of the women accused by ninety-one people (87). The most striking evidence is revealed when Giles testifies that he is told that Thomas Putnam asks his daughter to accuse a rich man named George Jacobs of witchcraft. Moreover, when Putnam is brought into the court, he responds to this allegation by declaring that “it is a lie” (89). Furious at the court for not believing him, Giles explains that anyone accused of witchcraft and executed for it “forfeits up his property-that’s law!” (89). He goes on angrily to say that the only one with enough money to buy Jacobs’ land is Putnam, and that he “is killing his neighbors for their land!” …show more content…
The consequences for his actions makes Salem a town governed by panic and disorder. Putnam wants to acquire land as compensation for his inadequate inheritance and to get revenge on the Nurses for the minister election. His plan unravels at an alarming rate until he lies to Giles Corey about the true meaning behind his accusations. His lie foreshadows the collapse of the theocracy and the hysteria surrounding the Trials. All of these events turn Thomas Putnam from a man with godly actions and thoughts into a greedy, monstrous man with deadly actions and

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