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In Arthur Millers Salem the community is very religious and pious.
They might be religious but their actions are bad. The community is a
puritan community this means that they are keen on helping the church
or making it better. The community is lead by the church so it is a
theocracy. Only by one example you can see how religious the community
is because the church leads it. The community is scared of other
people coming and changing the whole way of their lives so they want
to keep their way to themselves. In Arthur Millers Salem, Salem
society is very repressive in other word it is controlled and strict.
They want it strict so they can keep the community from falling to
The society of Arthur Millers Salem is very strict and severe. For
instance when Abigail and the other teenage girls were caught in the
forest dancing by Parris. When Abigail was at home with Parris.
Abigail says to Parris in Act 1 Page 7
"I think you best go down and deny it yourself."
Parris replies back by saying
"My daughter and my niece I discovered dancing like heathen in the
You can see here now that Parris is calling Abigail heathen who means
non-Christian. Parris is calling Abigail non-Christian only for
It is so severe that Abigail said on Act 1 Page 7
"Uncle, we did dance: let you tell them I confessed it-and
I'll be whipped if I must be.
Then Mary says on Act 1 Page 14
"Abby we've got to tell. Witchery's an hanging error…you'll only be
whipped for dancing and other things we must tell the truth."
You only can see by this how strict and severe the community is, if
you dace you get whipped sixty times. You can see the society is
strict and only by the few examples I have given. They gave severe
punishment to anyone who broke their rules.
The beliefs of the people are strong and they stand up for their
beliefs. Because the existence of witches etc are mentioned in the
Bible. Proctor says in Act 2 Page 57
"I have no knowledge of it: the Bible speaks of witches and I
Will not deny them."
Proctor is saying that he does not know if witches exist, because the
Bible mentions witches so he has full belief in them. All of the
community is religious and they will have total belief in the Bible.
They are very quick to call each other witches or that some one is
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"I'd not call it sick: the devils touch is heavier than sick."
You can see Mrs Putnam is trying to say that Betty is bewitched by
using the word devil. In Arthur Millers Salem people were quick to
find fault with each other. When reverend Hale arrives in Arthur
Millers Salem he goes to John and Elizabeth Proctors house to tell
them Elizabeth has been mentioned in the court. While Hale is there he
questions them two harshly about why they are rarely seen in church.
Hale says in Act 2 Page 53
"Twenty six- times in seven months sir. I must call that rare."
Then Hale asks them about the Ten Commandments. In Act 2 Page 55 he
"Do you know your Commandments Elizabeth?…and you mister?"
He asks John Proctor to recite the commandments. Hale thinks that the
two of them are not religious. Hale says in Act 2 Page 59
"Go you without fail each Sunday in to Sabbath prayer and keep it
solemn, quiet way among you."
Hale is trying to say go to church and show other people that you are
religious instead of showing that you are not.
In the play it mentions that you have to be religious. One main way of
being religious is to follow the Ten Commandments, the commandments
are really important and the community still disobey them. They are so
religious but they show no signs of that by the way they act. Like in
act 4 Parris and Hale are urging Proctor to lie and one of the
commandment is that
"Thou shalt not bear false witness." Act 2 Page 55
This means that you should not lie, Hale and Parris are telling
proctor to do exactly that. Parris says to Proctor on Act 4 Page 113
"It is a weighty name. It will strike the village that Proctor
When Parris says confess it means lie and say that Proctor was in the
company of devil. Parris is head of church so he is head of community
and he is supposed to be giving a good example. He is giving him bad
advice and telling him to lie and take more sins upon him. So Parris
is a hypocrite because he tells people not to lie and he does it him
self. Another one of the commandment is not to steal.
"Thou shalt not steal." Act 2 Page 55
Abigail does exactly that she steals her uncles money to escape from
Arthur Millers Salem. Because she knows everyone has suspicion over
her for blaming innocent people of witchcraft. The stealing of Parris
money is proven when Parris says in Act 4 Page 100-101.
"My niece sir, my niece-I believe she has vanished…she took 31pounds.
I am penniless."
This shows that Abigail stole Parris's and went out of Salem. This is
another sign of hypocrisy. Giles Corey put a charge on Putnam because
he thought Putnam encouraged his daughter to accuse George Jacobs of
witchery, so when he gets hanged Putnam can take Jacobs land. In Act 3
Page 77Giles says
"This man is killing his neighbours for that land."
Giles again says later on
"The day his daughter cry out on Jacobs, he said she'd given him a
fair gift of land."
You can see by this that Putnam wants the people's land and he is
prepared to sacrifice other people's lives, so this means he is a
hypocrite because he is trying to kill other people for their land.
In Arthur Millers Salem community they fear threat from outsiders
because they don't want their community to change.
"They were frightened of the influences of the outside world
destroying their way of life." Work in class.
Even though they were scared of their community changing by outside
influences but still Arthur Millers Salem community was changing. Was
it cause of outside influences? No the community from within was
changing them. If there are majority of hypocrites in a community of
course the community will be corrupt, greedy and thinking about
themselves and not doing good or helping someone. Arthur Miller wants
the reader or audience to know that the court is corrupt. What kind of
court is it that listens to girls at a young age them having no proof.
To back this up John Procter says in Act 2 Page 63
"But now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the
kingdom, and common vengeance rights the law!"
then Hale says on Act4 Page 105
"I have sought a Christian way, for domination's doubles on a minister
who counts his men to lie."
He is talking about Danforth and his company, he is saying that they
lie so that is why the women are about to be hanged while they are all
innocent. Danforth is an arrogant man who listens to him self. Because
when Abigail ran away and he found out that she was a liar, instead of
making himself ashamed because all the convicted were innocent. He
said confess that you have been in the company of Devil you'll be
The community is very religious but show no signs of it. They show the
opposite of being religious. They totally believe in the Bible. But
they do not follow the commandments so this means they are hypocrites.
Even the well respected people don't act in a way that the
commandments tell you to. The community is not a good one and they
will get corrupted from the inside instead of outsiders influencing
the way they live.