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Lies With the Whole Salem Community
I do believe that Abigail and the girls initiated the tragedy, what with all
their talk about spirits and the conjurance with the devil during the opening
act. For one reason or another, it can be said that the blame for this tragedy
lies with the entire Salem community. But could this really be called a
tragedy? In my opinion, if people get hurt and the whole community falls apart
- then it is a tragedy.
Many different emotions and even specific characters are brought into the play
and each one holds part of the blame - therefore bringing down the entire of the
community and causing people to turn against each other and all principles they
once believed in.
Abigail and the girls deny everything. Part od their denial is accusation. By
shifting the blame onto someone else, they believe that they will not be held
accountable for their own sins. Abigail manipulates her way through the play,
and even after Mary Warren confessed that the whole story was a pretense,
Abigail continues manipulating the court room and the people within it with
antics of ‘a wind, a cold wind' and ‘Oh Heavenly Father, take away this shadow'.
In the end she is adamant to convince the court that they were only involved
with witchcraft because of Mary Warren, hoping profusely to save her own name.
Denial in Salem is considered a terrible sin. The narrow mindedness of the
court possesses an unwritten law that if your name is brought out within the
court, without any questioning, you are presumed guily. Innocence is not taken
into consideration, and only until the victim confesses,, is the court convinced
they were right. There is no hearing for the victim, and if they are innocent,
they have the choice of denial, and being hung or confessing an being thrown
into jail. Danforth, the deputy governor, is so caught up in his own beliefs
and importance that he won't listen to anything that he doesn't want to hear.
He is manipulated by Abigail, bu her innocent young girl front by incredulously
questioning Proctor ‘this child would murder his wife?' It is beyond his narrow
comprehension that someone could be telling the truth.
John Proctor stood up for his pride and principles. It is obvious that he would
rather die with a good name within Salem than live and know that he had broken
his own principles and lost his pride. He believed that among his own community
he would be lavelled untrustworthy and states ‘God does not need my name nailed
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comments, we know that John Proctor is an honest and trusting man who would do
anything to save the name of himself, his family and his friends - even if it
would conclude in his own death - ‘I have given you my soul, leave me my name.'
Maybe Proctor's strong will to protest caused the whole tragedy to continue on
for a longer period of time. Maybe if he hadn't engaged in adultry, he wouldn't
have felt nearly as guilty that he had to go and stand before the court for his
wife. It could be said that he stood up for her to prove that he still loved
her and maybe to regain some her trust back.
The Proctor's weren't the only couple with the tragedy coming between them.
Thomas Putnam too was caught in secretly trying to obtain the land and fight
Giles's accusation of Putnam killing his neighbours to get their land. Goody
Putnam is maliciously accusing Tituba of murdering all her babies. These babies
at the time, were announced still born, but now that Tituba is in the public eye
because of being linked with Abigail and the starting of the tragedy, she is
blamed. Wild accusations are flying around Salem linking people to anything
abnormal that has gone wrong.
The absurd naming of innocent people becomes an ongoing threat to all within
Salem. Francis Nurse is shocked that his wife, Rebecca - a pillar of the Salem
community - has been named before the court by Abigail and the girls. In fact,
the entire community is astounded when they hear the news of Rebecca Nurse being
named. The act of people naming others, and then those others naming more
people still, definantly had a impact on the tragedy, dragging the whole thing
out, much longer than it needed to be.
To prove that all these people were actually guilty also played a part in
lengthening the tragedy. Herrick, Cheever and Danforth, all so full of their
own importance and strictness of the court - ‘the law binds me….I cannot budge'
- ask question after question to each victim until finally the defendant breaks
down and confesses to save their own lives. Even Hale who feels for the victims
towards the end, knows the strictness of the court, ‘thought our hearts break,
we cannot flinch, these are new times'.
In conclusion, throughout the book, everybody in Salem wanted the whole tragedy
to end, but one way or another, nearly everyone within the community had a way
of making the tragedy continue on longer than it needed to be.