The deterioration of Salem’s social structure precipitated the murders of manyinnocent people. Arthur Miller’s depiction of the Salem witch trials, TheCrucible, deals with a community that starts out looking like it is tightly knitand church loving. It turns out that once Tituba starts pointing her finger atthe witches, the community starts pointing their fingers at each other. Hysteriaand hidden agendas break down the social structure and then everyone mustprotect themselves from the people that they thought were their friends.
Thechurch, legal system and the togetherness of the community died so that childrencould protect their families’ social status. Being isolated from any other groupof people with different beliefs created a church led Puritan society that wasnot able to accept a lot of change. The church was against the devil, at thesame time it was against such things as dancing and other premature acts. Thereputation of the family was very important to the members of the community.
When the girls were caught dancing in the woods, they lied to protect not justthemselves but the reputation of their families.
They claimed that the deviltook them over and influenced them to dance. The girls also said that they sawmembers of the town standing with the devil. A community living in a puritansociety like Salem could easily go into a chaotic state and have a difficulttime dealing with what they consider to be the largest form of evil. Salem’shysteria made the community lose faith in the spiritual beliefs that they weretrying to strictly enforce. The church lost many of its parishioners because theinterest of the town was now on Abigail because people wanted to know who wasgoing to be named next. When the church was trying to excommunicate JohnProctor, there were not enough people at church to do it. The people weregetting misled so far as to leave a dagger stuck in the door of their minister’shouse: “Tonight, when I open my door to leave my house–a dagger clatteredto the ground…There is danger for me.”(128) were Parris’ exact words.
With the conveyer of God fearing for his life there was no longer anyone butAbigail to lead the community. The justice system is designed to protect thepeople that it serves but during the trials the accused witch had two choices,death or imprisonment. The punishment of death was given to all people thatpleaded not guilty; the other punishment was to plead guilty and go to jail.
John Proctor gave his view of the justice system when he said “I like notthe smell of this ‘authority’ “(29). “And do you know that near tofour hundred are in the jails from Marblehead to Lynn, and upon mysignature?”(85) said Danforth, describing the number of people that were injail on charges of witchcraft. There were so many people executed that Halecommented “there are orphans wandering from house to house; abandonedcattle bellow on the highroads, the stink of rotting crops hangseverywhere…”(130) Salem was turning into a ghost town. With Abigailcontrolling the community, the church no longer getting the whole town toprayer, and an unjust legal system, it is natural that the people were in astate of total chaos. The unexplained was caused by the devil, so some membersof Salem used the unexplained to their advantage. Mrs. Putnam told the truthwhen she said, “There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fireswithin fires!”(26) Mrs. Putnam did her share of spreading rumors after sheheard that the girls were flying, so she asked Parris “How high did she(Abigail) fly, how high?”(11). These rumors happened because people did notwant any blame put on to themselves. This ‘passing the buck’ made people startfighting with one another such as Corey charging Putnam of having his daughteraccuse a resident of witchcraft in order to get Corey’s land. Abigail used herpower of getting people to listen to her to her advantage when she chargedProctor’s spouse with being a witch so Abigail could live with John. This againproves that Abigail had control of the town and the unexplained turned neighboragainst neighbor. The social breakdown in Salem was the major factor in thetragedy that took the lives of many innocent people. There was more than onetragedy in The Crucible. The first was the murdering of many innocent people,and the second was that a community that was once very close had been brokenapart. It appeared that the people of Salem were like a family but isolationactually made them unable to adapt to a troublesome situation. If the communitycould have had a greater influence from another group of people then the socialstructure would have been able to adapt.
Cite this Crucible And Murders
Crucible And Murders. (2019, Apr 20). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/crucible-and-murders/