The Crucible

How did the witch trials empower individuals that were powerless before ?

Not only limited to women . Limited to everyone . And please give details and reasons why

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Naming Names

"By requiring the accused to name others in their confessions, a witch hunt like that in Salem or HUAC can take on the form of a pyramid scheme or chain letter. In other words, to avoid the effects of this curse, you must pass it on to five other people, and so forth. This "naming names" allowed the accusations to spread and spread, while also permitting the public airing of grievances and sins. As a member of the blacklist himself, Miller felt particularly strongly about the evil of fingering others to save oneself, and he expresses this idea by having several characters grapple with the requirement that they name names. Giles Corey is held in contempt – the charge that ultimately leads to his execution – for refusing to name the person who told him of Putnam's scheming, and Proctor balks at the court's intention to question the 91 people who signed his declaration of the good character of the accused. But it is at the climax that this theme truly comes to the fore, as Proctor would rather die than accuse more innocent people."

Abigail held power and used it to destroy Elizabeth, all while destroying herself, although she does escape punishment. Putnam uses the charge of witchcraft in order to secure land from George Jacobs. Rebecca Nurse ends up charged simply because of the infant mortality rate, and the grief of a mother mourning her stillborn children. In each of these cases, witchcraft allows the accuser to settle a score whether it be out of maliciousness, fear, and even grief. Those who were once powerless held the fate of others in their hands.


The reputation of each individual within the Salem community largely dictated his or her fate. The witch trials featured significant subversions of the dominant social structure by elevating to a position of power individuals whose reputation and status were otherwise lowly. Abigail, an unmarried, female orphan, suddenly became the most important person in town, bringing with her a dozen other such girls who otherwise could only hope to work as housekeepers until they married. Similarly, the black slave Tituba, whose race gave her the lowest social status in Salem, found herself with the ability to decide the fates of people far more powerful than herself as she accused others of witchcraft. Conversely, individuals with sparkling reputations like Rebecca Nurse and Elizabeth Proctor were dragged through the mud and lost all agency in their situations. John Proctor is the appropriate protagonist for this story especially because he falls in the center of Salem's spectrum of reputation. As a landowner and adulterer, he is placed by Miller at the eye of the storm, watching the entire social structure pivot around him.


The Witch trials, by requiring the accused to provide the names of those others suspected of witchcraft in order to redeem themselves creates a valuable tool for the empowerment of those previously not in power in Salem. For example Tituba, the first to be accused of Witchcraft openly by Abby, then confesses out of fear of punishment and as an outlet of repressed feelings and accuses Goody Good as a witch and is spared punishment by reverend Hale and the villagers. This empowers her to lay the blame on others in the society, in such a way as she could never do as a slave, therefore bringing their whole lives and reputations into danger unless they then confess and lay the blame on someone else. This is exactly what Abby and the other girls (including Betty) then do in the guise of confessions of witchcraft, thus empowering Abigail especially, to use this as vengeance against those who have scorned them e.g Goody Proctor as Abigail is jealous of her.