in act 1
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The Puritan villagers pretty much believed that everything to do with the forests was evil,
"that the virgin forest was the Devil's last preserve, his home base and the citadel of his final stand...to the best of their knowledge the American forest was the last place on earth that was not paying homage to God".
The forest surrounding the village was an unknown place. The Puritans didn't like unknown places. In fact anything mysterious was the Devil's work, "it stood, dark and threatening, over their shoulders night and day, for out of it Indian tribes marauded from time to time". As you can tell, the Indians didn't fare much better than the forest. The Puritans considered the indigenous people to be "heathens" running around the Devil's dark play land. True some of them lost relatives to the Indians but you have to admit that people like Rev. Parris would get on your nerves too!