First off, our discussions in class were very helpful. I’ve read the Crucible before and felt like I understood it but never would have thought as deeply about things on my own. Some of the perspectives I don’t think I ever would have thought of! It was great to distinguish four different themes-self preservation, vengeance, ignorance, and arrogance(and the fact that Giles is pronounced with a soft g haha). In response to question 5 from our packet, it is really tragic to see the four things we discussed in class were prevalent in their lives in the first place. Clearly, they had forgotten why they had moved to America and could not see the hypocrisy of what they were doing. Puritans/Protestants left Catholic-run England to escape the religious restrictions; they couldn’t worship the way they wanted to and were oftentimes killed for trying, so their only option was to flee the country. It is baffling that they would not have learned from this experience-that they would go so far as to leave a country to escape large scale religious conflict but then got all caught up in something as preposterous as witchcraft. Even the most selfish, ignorant, arrogant person should remember their past. I understand that the Salem Witch Trials were spurred on by fear; no one wanted to be isolated and punished and so the snowballing of accusing a scapegoat went on. It is ironic that the town of Salem created an environment much like, possibly worse, than their homeland of England. In England, they were at least allowed to practice some religion or they were left alone if they followed the rules. In Salem however, there was no fairness-once one was unjustly accused, the only way they could survive was by accusing other people or admitting to witchcraft. Both sites provided untrusting, unhappy, and unfair situations but at least in England one could mind their own business and stay out of trouble. Those of higher statuses were likely to have been regarded less viciously. In Salem, once one was accused, their status plummeted, in fact, if they were already an outsider from the community, all the more chance and reason that they would be accused. Everyone was on level ground, both men and women of any background were accused. The Puritans in Salem created a far worse environment than the one they had come from in England, for more petty/silly reasons(religion vs witchcraft) and in even more destructive ways. This was largely in part due to the Puritan’s belief that you are either with God or against him(the Devil). The whole witch event was a massive mob/placebo effect. When someone was accused, they came to believe that it was true about them. They took on the role and everyone got so caught up in the excitement that they probably didn’t actually believe in witchcraft but they simply went along with the crowd-it was more exciting and a lot easier than standing up to the whole community. The strength the Puritans had shown in leaving England, vanished in the face of witchcraft in Salem.
Act I of the Crucible November 15, 2012