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The theme of witchcraft in salem in the novel the crucible

May 26, 1998 Witchcraft's Role in The Crucible Witchcraft is the most important theme in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, for it is from the belief in witchcraft that the action of the story is fully displayed. Therefore, it is imperative in fully understanding the story, to know its historical and theological background must be known.

New England Historical Society

It is essential to know the overall definition of witchcraft, from Puritans and more contemporary writers alike. Also, understanding the Puritan conceptions of their belief in witchcraft is just as vital, for if their reasoning remains unknown, the trials will not make sense at all, but will seem utterly foolish--having no real basis for the idea of trials for witches.

  • Marshall, Madeleine Sherwood and Beatrice Straight;
  • Witch trials may seem rather confusing, but hopefully with the help of Puritan writings, contemporary scholars, and other writers alike the many readers of Arthur Miller's famous play can finally understand the full meaning and historical, theological, and factual information that is portrayed in the content of the play;
  • Today's scholars, like the Puritans, obviously notice the mistakes in this historical tragedy;
  • Witch trials may seem rather confusing, but hopefully with the help of Puritan writings, contemporary scholars, and other writers alike the many readers of Arthur Miller's famous play can finally understand the full meaning and historical, theological, and factual information that is portrayed in the content of the play;
  • Wiliam Dudley and Teresa O'Neill;
  • Now that the explications and reasonings of the Puritans are now known, it should be considered wise to look at the mistakes in the chain of events of the trials, for there are many.

One thing that must be considered is that these beliefs, although very important to the Puritans of that time, show their lack of formal education since there are numerous mistakes recorded before, after, and during the proceedings of the infamous witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts. Not only should definitions, explanations, and mistakes be brought forth from the trial, it is just as vital that the total outcome of the trial be known, such as the excuse for the trials' end and the full body count and overall damage assessment that these trials have brought about.

Witch trials may seem rather confusing, but hopefully with the help of Puritan writings, contemporary scholars, and other writers alike the many readers of Arthur Miller's famous play can finally understand the full meaning and historical, theological, and factual information that is portrayed in the content of the play. Although now quite dim, hopefully it is still possible to shed some light on the subject finally comprehend the importance of the trials to the people of the 17th century--most notably the Puritans.

As shown during the Salem witchcraft trials of the late 1600's, the majority of Puritans of the time hated sorcery of any sort; this fact is frequently present in the various written documents describing the religious convictions of the Puritans of the 17th century.

  • For this community of "dissent" inexorably stripped of all principle and all specific belief, has retreated in at last into a kind of extreme Calvinism of its own where political truth ceases to have any real connection with politics but becomes a property of the soul;
  • Witch trials may seem rather confusing, but hopefully with the help of Puritan writings, contemporary scholars, and other writers alike the many readers of Arthur Miller's famous play can finally understand the full meaning and historical, theological, and factual information that is portrayed in the content of the play;
  • Martin 94 Ancestry plays an important role since their "forefathers believed in witchcraft, not because they were Colonials, not because they were New Englanders--but because they were men of their time" Kittredge 22;
  • It should be known that "[i]n the subsequent reaction, jurors admitted their errors, and Judge Samuel Sewall publicly confessed his culpability, as did Rev;
  • The explanation for the trials' end is rather unusual, since"[a]s historians occasionally have pointed out, the executions did not stop because the people in Massachusetts suddenly ceased to believe in either the Devil or witchcraft; they stopped, simply and ironically, because of a legal question" Martin 101.

Explanations vary only slightly concerning the definition of witchcraft. The words of Cotton Mather, a contemporary of the trials, can be ascribed to form an accurate description of witchcraft.

  1. William Dudley and Teresa O'Neill. The reason for the seeming cold-heartedness towardpersons in the trial is their idea of election, according to Robert Warshow.
  2. Wiliam Dudley and Teresa O'Neill. William Dudley and Teresa O'Neill.
  3. Now that the explications and reasonings of the Puritans are now known, it should be considered wise to look at the mistakes in the chain of events of the trials, for there are many.

Mather adds the theme of witchcraft in salem in the novel the crucible opinion also, in saying that "Suchan Hellish thing there is as Witchcraft in the World" Mather 193. Also, "Witchcraft is the use of supposed magic powers, generally to harm people or to damage their property" Dundes 373.

While seeking Reverend Hale's help, Reverend Parris inadvertently gives his own idea of the doctrine of witchcraft since he wants someone who "has much experience in all demonic arts. Needless to say, most interpretations of this evil doctrine provide the negative connotations that the Puritans must have recognized as being abhorable and totally detestable.

Now that the definition has been given, the need should be to understand the things that have shaped their belief in witchcraft and provide the background of the Salem witchcraft trials; the three most important reasons being the Bible, ancestral tradition, and paranoia. Each has good applications and supports the intensity and conviction that is present in the writings of several Puritans of the time, such as Cotton Mather.

Likewise,"[t]he Salem witch trials represent how far the Puritans were ready to go in taking their doctrines seriously" Warshow 112. One of the most important factors is the platform ofScripture, since the Scriptures are a foundation to many in providing the justification of the court proceedings. The principle verse quoted is "[t]hou shalt not suffer a witch to live" Ex. Their the theme of witchcraft in salem in the novel the crucible is not humanistic to say the least, since "[t]hey lived in a universe where each man was saved or damned by himself, and what happened to themwas personal" Warshow 113.

The reason for the seeming cold-heartedness towardpersons in the trial is their idea of election, according to Robert Warshow: For this community of "dissent" inexorably stripped of all principle and all specific belief, has retreated in at last into a kind of extreme Calvinism of its own where political truth ceases to have any real connection with politics but becomes a property of the soul.

Apart from all belief and all action, these people are "right" in themselves, and no longer need to prove themselves in the world of experience. The people of Salem did not, of course, invent a belief in witchcraft; they were however, the inheritors of a witchcraft tradition that had a long and bloody history in their native England and throughout most of Europe. To the Puritans of Massachusetts, witchcraft was as real a manifestation of the Devil's efforts to overthrow "God's Kingdom" as the periodic raids of his Indian disciples against the frontier settlements.

Martin 94 Ancestry plays an important role since their "forefathers believed in witchcraft, not because they were Colonials, not because they were New Englanders--but because they were men of their time" Kittredge 22. Finally, paranoia has played a major role in the course of the novel.

Parris's paranoia shows forth when he concludes that "[t]here is a party in this church. I am not blind; there is a faction and a party" 30. Although previously noted by Mr. Martin, witchcraft "was as real manifestation of the Devil's efforts to overthrow 'God's Kingdom' as the.

Their perseverance is supported by the idea of defending and upholding the Bible. Now that the explications and reasonings of the Puritans are now known, it should be considered wise to look at the mistakes in the chain of events of the trials, for there are many.

The evidence of mistakes is contained in the words of Mr.

Henry Popkin, who claims "[t]he citizens of Salem have been concerned with scoring points against one another, with establishing their own superior virtue and the depraved character of their enemies" 81-82. Brattle Thomas, a contemporary of the trials, also provides a record of the mistakes: These confessors, as they are called, do very often contradict themselves, as inconsistently as is usual for any crazed, distempered person to do.

This the Salem gentlemen do see and take notice of; and even the judges themselves have at some times, taken these confessors in flat lies, or contradictions, even in the courts. Then, Reverend Parris proves the community dissent in saying "when I summoned the congregation for John Proctor's excommunication there were hardly thirty people come to hear it.

That speak a discontent, I think. Today's scholars, like the Puritans, obviously notice the mistakes in this historical tragedy. The ideas are presented, but scrutinous, correct perceptions of the event should include the reason for the ending of these trials and the overall damage and harm that remains recorded in history.

The explanation for the trials' end is rather unusual, since"[a]s historians occasionally have pointed out, the executions did not stop because the people in Massachusetts suddenly ceased to believe in either the Devil or witchcraft; they stopped, simply and ironically, because of a legal question" Martin 101.

After completion of this mockery of judiciality, the physical effects are still recorded in history, for "the darkest page of New England history is, by common consent, that which is inscribed with the words Salem Witchcraft" Kittredge 20.

The effects of the Salem witch trials are "[b]y September 22 the court had tried and convicted 27 persons. Nineteen were hanged, and one, Giles Corey, was pressed to death by stones.

In addition, about 50 had confessed, 100 were in prison waiting trial, and accusations had touched another 200" Zeichner 31. After the damage's completion, redresses were made.

It should be known that "[i]n the subsequent reaction, jurors admitted their errors, and Judge Samuel Sewall publicly confessed his culpability, as did Rev. John Hale, chief witness against Bridget Bishop.

The Crucible, or How Arthur Miller Got the Salem Witch Trials Wrong

In 1711, heirs of the alleged witches were voted compensation for their losses" Zeichner 31. The driving theological source, according to Robert Callif, is difficult to determine: And whether to ascribe such power of commissioning Devils to the worst of Men, be not direct blasphemy, I leave to others better able to determine.

  • Now that the definition has been given, the need should be to understand the things that have shaped their belief in witchcraft and provide the background of the Salem witchcraft trials; the three most important reasons being the Bible, ancestral tradition, and paranoia;
  • They had violent fits;
  • Marshall, Madeleine Sherwood and Beatrice Straight;
  • One thing that must be considered is that these beliefs, although very important to the Puritans of that time, show their lack of formal education since there are numerous mistakes recorded before, after, and during the proceedings of the infamous witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts.

When the Pharisees were so wicked as to ascribe to Beelzebub, the mighty works of Christ whereby he did manifestly shew forth his Power and Godhead then it was that our Saviour declard'd the Sin against the Holy Ghost to be unpardonable. The Salem witchcraft trials will never be forgotten.

Hopefully now the facts are understood. Universally, the definition is unchangeable, the reasonings are often unclear, the mistakes prevalent, and the outcome is forevermore sealed as an event in history that is best left unrepeated.

To avoid unnecessary repetition, such mistakes are to be learned from. A court, or other governmental body, should know the problem's true definition, have clear reasonings, possess few mistakes, and ultimately accheive a fair and proper outcome in order to go beyond a simple understanding of the Salem witchcraft trials, but use the knowledge attained to learn from the past.

Works Cited Brattle, Thomas. William Dudley and Teresa O'Neill. Wiliam Dudley and Teresa O'Neill. A Collection of Critical Essays.