Yet Another The Crucible

Superstition and witchcraft resulted in many being hanged or
in prison. In the seventeenth century, a belief in witches and
witchcraft was almost universal. In Salem Massachusetts
where the witch trials take place many people who are
suspicious is accused of witchcraft and hanged. Arthur
Miller wrote a play called The Crucible. It is based on the
Salem witch trials. The Salem witch trials change many
peoples lives and even led to death for some. The power of
superstition and hearsay can distort from the truth. Four
ministers of Salem joined Matther, and they spent a whole
day in the house of the afflicted in fasting and prayer. The
result of which was the delivery of one of the family from the
power of the witch. A niece and daughter of the parish
minister at Danvers were first afflicted. Their actions
frightened other young people, who soon showed the same
symptoms, such as loss of appetite and sickness. A belief
quickly spread over Salem and throughout the state that evil
spirits are being seen in Salem. Terror took possession of
the minds of nearly all the people, and the dread made the
affliction spread widely. “The afflicted, under the influence of
the witchery, “admitted to see the forms of their tormentors
with their inner vision” (Miller 1082). and would immediately
accuse some individual seen with the devil. At times the
afflicted and the accused became so numerous that no one
was safe from suspicion and its consequences. Even those
who were active in the prosecutions became objects of
suspicion. Revenge often impelled persons to accuse others
who were innocent and when some statement of the accused
would move the court and audience in favor of the prisoner.

“I saw Goody Osborn with the devil” (Miller 1060). The
accuser would declare that they saw the devil standing
beside the victim whispering the words in his or her ear. The
absurd statement would be believed by the judges. Some,
terrified and with the hope of saving their lives or avoiding
the horrors of imprisonment, would falsely accuse their
friends and relatives, while others moved by the same hopes,
would falsely confess themselves to be witches. Many of the
accusers and witnesses came forward and published denials
of the truth of their testimony, to save their own lives. Mr.

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Paris in the Danver family, who was one of the most strong
prosecutors of alleged witches, was compelled to resign his
charge and leave the country. The acknowledgments of
error and pleadings for mercy, could not restore the spirits
of those who are hanged, nor make changes for the pains’
others had suffered. The trick had prevailed in greatest
desire more than six months, and it was not decreasing for
more than a year. During that time nineteen had been
hanged, and Corey Giles who is killed by the horrid process
of pressing to death with stones because he would say if was
guilty or innocent. He continued to say “more weight” (Miller
1113); until he died. In doing so, his family could keep his
land. Others had been tortured or frightened into a
confession of guilt or imprisoned. As one can see the power
of superstition and the hearsay can distort the truth. The
Salem witch trials were horrifying and it changes many
peoples lives. The belief in witches did not end with the
strange excitement. This strange episode in the history of
Massachusetts astonished the civilized world, and made an
unfavorable impression on others. WORK CITED Miller,
Arthur. The Crucible. Ellen Bowler. ed. et al. Literature the
American Experiance. Englewood cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1994.


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