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"The Crucible" By Miller, And Salem Witch Trials Of 1692

2167 words - 9 pages

The Crucible by Arthur Miller as well as the maps, text and charts of EnduringVisions clearly show a growing resentment between the 'have nots' of Salem Villageand the 'haves' of its more easterly neighbor Salem Town. Salem was presided over bythe Rev. Parris. By 1692, Salem had become a divided and disturbed community.Hidden behind the sacred crusade of Rev. Parris and the petty jealousies and hates of thePutnams and Abigail Williams is a community that is far removed from the originalintention of Gov. Winthrop and the ideals of 'The New England Way'. Miller points outthat as the Puritan community became more divided against itself so grew its need to setoff a wave of hysteria in the presence of Satan.The map on p. 49 clearly marks a battle line being drawn between the lesssuccessful hard dirt farmers of the Village accusing many of their Puritan Churchmembers of the more prosperous harbor (who were mostly merchants) of witchcraft. TheNew England Way as conceived by John Winthrop was slowly disintegrating by thebeginning of the Salem Witch Trials of early 1692. The Factionalism And Wealth Chartin Enduring Visions , demonstrates very clearly that those whose family income was lessthan 10 shillings ( 61%) were for the Rev. Parris and his entreaties of witchcraft. Themore prosperous families, those whose family income exceeded 20 shillings ( 23%) wereopposed to witchcraft accusations. The Rev. Samuel Parris is a frightened extremelyweakened man who has little or no faith. He is a self-serving man more worried abouthis position than his supposedly ailing daughter. He spends all of his time protectinghimself and his position of authority rather than comforting his flock that is beingmenaced by Satan. The support for Rev. Parris clearly comes from those Salem Villageparishioners who are desirous of having the same wealth and political influence of theirmore prosperous neighbors in Salem Town. Hoping to destroy those wealthy merchantsin Salem Town, vindictive men like Thomas Putnam used the witchcraft scare as a meansof gaining the hard earned profits as well as the the political power of his neighbors inSalem Town.The Puritan Clergy , toward the end of the 17 Century, was becoming increasinglyfearful and alarmed that their powerful church-controlled society was rapidly coming toan end . No longer was there a threat from the Wampanoag Indians as many died fromdiseases that were brought to the New World by the settlers or savage raids by the samesettlers. As the 17 Century wore on, many Puritans became 'halfways' with the ranks ofthe 'saints' slowly diminishing. Friction easily broke out between those Puritans thatwere prosperous merchants and the dominating force in the politics of Salem (Townsmenwho lived close to the Meetinghouse) and the 'outlivers' who lived on parcels of land inthe outlying Village. The distribution of wealth was becoming increasingly imbalancedwith the Townspeople gaining the edge over their neighbors in the Village....

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