Salem Essay

1227 words - 5 pages

ESSAY : SALEM In 1692 in Salem Massachusetts a horrible chain of events occurred. A massive witch hunt began and a tidal wave of fear and suspicion swept over the tight knit Puritan town of Salem. A small group of girls began accusing the townspeople of witchcraft and the majority of the town believed these claims and full trials were held. If the accused victims did not confess to committing witchcraft it was more than likely that they would be put to death, hung in front of the town. Arthur Miller portrays this event in his novel The Crucible. The theme of Authority and Power is vital in The Crucible because of the abuses of power, the need for control and the absolute belief in authority figures lead to the witch hunt. Throughout the witch hunt the abuses of power are prevalent. The abuse was broad spectrum and everyone from the accusing girls to the judge are involved. Abigail Williams is the leader of the girls. She begins this charade in order to save herself and the other girls from the punishment that they would have been handed down for them dancing in the woods. Abigail being a conniving girl sees the opportunity to save herself and seek revenge on people from the town who she feels "hate her and are trying to blacken her name in the community"(p.24 ). Abigail forces the other girls to go along with her plan by threatening them and forcing them to follow her "…either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you …"(p.20). Together the girls begin to destroy what was once a close community. Abigail is not alone in the abuses of power. The judge, Danforth has fallen under the girls spell and believes in them completely. Since he believes that the girls are right and decides that there is no way and accused person could actually be innocent. Due to this and judge Danforths ego he sends many people to their deaths still claiming innocence. Not only does Danforth refuse to hear opposition to the existence of witchcraft he creates the front that anyone who doubts that witchcraft is in Salem is trying to undermine the court (p. ). However it is apparent that he just does not want his authority to be questioned or his reputation tarnished. Danforth and Abigail are able to accomplish this because Rev. Parris is behind them. He is the person who much of the town looks up to. Since he was a leading voice for the presence of witchcraft his beliefs give Abigail and Danforth more credibility and power. Along with power comes control. The whole town of Salem is trying to remain in control against the threat of witchcraft. Certain key characters are especially trying to do this. Foremost is Abigail Williams. She needs to remain in control to save herself from punishment and public disgrace. To stay in control Abigail stops at nothing. She lies constantly, accusing anyone who threatens the...

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