The Fear Of Abigail Williams And Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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Fear can be an individual’s greatest motivator while it could be another’s greatest inhibitor. In a group or society, fear could often grow into madness and when fear and chaos run hand in hand the effects could branch off into many different directions. During the spring of 1692, a village in Salem, Massachusetts is surrounded by chaos caused by a fear of witches. A play written about the occasion by Arthur Miller parallels with a hysteria that was sweeping through America in the 1950’s- fear of communism. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, characters such as Abigail Williams and Thomas Putnam use their societies fear of witchcraft in order to meet their desires. Miller uses his play to argue that when people see irrational fear and madness …show more content…
As the witch trials ensue, more and more people are being hanged for crimes they did not commit while others are finding loopholes for their evil crimes. Giles Corey, Francis Nurse, John Proctor and Mary Warren come to the court to try to stop the madness that is going on. Giles Corey declares to Deputy Governor Danforth that Thomas Putnam is just using the witchery nonsense to seize old George Jacobs 's land for easy money. Corey delivers his speech saying, “I have it from an honest man who heard Putnam say it! The day his daughter cried out on Jacobs, he said she‘d given him a fair gift of land.” His information is from an “honest man who heard Putnam say it” which means there is a witness to the matter in Salem but he would rather stay anonymous. “The day his daughter cried out on Jacobs” refers to the day Thomas Putnam made his daughter, Ruth, cry witchery against their neighbor George Jacobs. Ruth Putnam was one of the girls that went dancing with Abigail in the beginning of the play and then claimed they were possessed by the Devil and the “witches” in Salem, so she was deemed credible by the court who judged Jacobs. That is why “she’d [Ruth] given him [Thomas Putnam] a fair gift of land”. Ruth was able to convince the court that Jacobs was guilty which resulted in his hanging and the forfeit of his property to the highest bidder- Thomas Putnam. Putnam used the town’s fear of witchery and his daughter’s connection to the witch trials for his own personal gain. He persuaded his daughter to lie for him and the court’s fancy of convicting everyone of witchcraft to get all the property he wanted. Putnam essentially used the witch trials to kill off his neighbors for his own personal

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