Cooper PeddicordMr. Fitzpatrick ILA – 4 27 December 2017Peddicord P4 Argument Paper 2 The Salem witch trials were a series of executions of people accused of witchery in Massachusetts in the early 1690s. The Crucible tells the story of how a little girl faking ill led to the Salem witch trials. Respect/reputation was the driving force of the events in the Crucible. This is first shown when Thomas Putnam starts accusing people who disrespected him of witchery, so he can buy their land. When Hale questions Abigail, Abigail blames Tituba.
Hale asks Tituba if she knows of any other witches. Then, Parris and Putnam start questioning Tituba, “Sarah Good? Did you ever see Sarah Good with him? Or Osburn?” (Miller 46)Putnam used this as an opportunity to get revenge on people who disrespected him. Obviously, conflict occurs between Sarah Good and the Putnams.
Whenever there was conflict between the Putnams and anyone, Mr. Putnam would indirectly accuse them of being witches. Putnam’s greed for respect and power led to people getting accused of witchcraft. Due to this, the number of ‘witches’ in Salem grew exponentially.
This is shown again when Hale tells Danforth to pardon the accused, and Danforth shoots back, “I cannot pardon these when twelve are already hanged for the same crime” (Miller 129). Danforth knows if he pardons these people after already hanging twelve for the same crime, then he will look like a hypocrite. This will make him and the court look incredible. Also, he would lose respect and his reputation in Salem would be damaged. Because those accused were not pardoned, they were forced to accuse other people of witchcraft. Then, all of these people would accuse other people, and all of these witches were eventually killed.
Others may say lie/deceit was the main driving force of the trials. After the dancing in the forest and attempting to persuade John Proctor to fall in love with her, the two young girls fell ill. At this time Abigail tried to get the girls to lie with her, “Parris, to Abigail: Then you were conjuring the spirits last night.Abigail, whispering: Not I, sir—Tituba and Ruth.
Parris, turns now, with new fear, and goes to Betty, looks down at her, and then, gazing off: Oh Abigail, what proper payment for my charity! Now I am undone.Putnam: You are not undone! Let you take hold here. Wait for no one to charge you—declare it yourself. You have discovered witchcraft” (Miller 16). This however did not cause the trials. This was a joke played by girls and not a part of a any plan to begin witchcraft. But the Putnams saw this as an opportunity to avenge people they disliked and to gain land and power. When Proctor jokingly stated he will break with the church, Putnam uses it as an opportunity to attack Proctor.
Putnam exclaimed, “he confessed it now!” (Miller 31) Also, when Danforth has a chance to stop the trials, but continues them to save his reputation. Danforth states, “It is not just” (Miller 129). It is just to let innocent people live.
He just doesn’t want to be hated. In conclusion, a need for respect/reputation was the driving force of the trials because Danforth didn’t want to lose his reputation and Putnam wanted respect. Although you could say lie/deceit caused the witch trials because Abigail wanted John, Mr. Putnam was the one to convince everyone, including Abigail, that witchery was the case, and Putnam had the chance to stop the trials, but he didn’t. Without the actions of Danforth and Thomas Putnam, the witch trials could’ve never happened.Works CitedMiller, Arthur.
The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts. New York: Viking Press, 1953.