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A Scapegoat, according to a standard dictionary definition, is a person or group that is made to bear blame for others. According to the Old Testament, on the Day of Atonement, a priest would confess all the sins of the Israelites over the head of a goat and then drive it into the wilderness, symbolically bearing their sins away. Tessie is made a scapegoat for the town's yearly lottery. The townspeople are not really sure what exactly the scapegoat is for but they follow the ritual of stoning Tessie anyway. Old Man Warner makes a vague reference to crops being better but this is never elaborated on.