religion of the people
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The people in the Crucible were known as Puritans. Their strict moral code was narrowly interpreted from the Bible. They had to follow strict gender roles with a large helping of paranoia. Saying the wrong thing could be interpreted as blasphemy and hence punishment. Church was the centre of all social activity. Of course with people watching their back came rumours and constant innuendo. Puritans were just a susceptible to petty squabbles and power grabs as any other community, if not more so.