The Salem witchhunt trials parallel the McCarthy era in three major aspects: unfounded accusations, hostile interrogation of numerous innocent people and the ruination and death of various people's lives.
The quiet Salem community was living happily in their own sleepy world, until several local girls fell ill and their sickness was blamed on witchcraft....
Although Mather was not directly involved in the proceedings ofthe Salem witch trials, he wrote a letter to one of the magistratesin the trials, John Richards of Boston, urging caution in the useof spectral evidence. Mather was also the author of the "Return ofthe Several Ministers," a report sent to the judges of the Salemcourt. This carefully-worded document advised caution in the use ofspectral evidence, saying that the devil could indeed assume theshape of an innocent person, and decrying the use of spectralevidence in the trials, their "noise, company, and openness", andthe utilization of witch tests such as the recitation of the Lord'sPrayer. However, the final paragraph of the document appears toundercut this cautionary statement in recommending "the detectionof witchcrafts". Thus, in Bernard Rosenthal and Perry Miller'sopinions, the courts interpreted the letter as Mather's seal ofapproval for the trials to go on.
Governor Phips dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer on October 29, 1692. A Superior Court of Judicature replaced it on November 25, 1692. The last witch trials were held in January 1693, and in May of the same year Gov. Phips pardoned the remaining accused. See the for more important dates relating to the Salem witch trials.
There really was no one cause for the Salem witch trials. A combination of events and factors helped in the creation of a climate for the birth and growth of the trials. A recent small pox outbreak, the revocation of the Massachusetts Bay Colony charter by Charles II and the constant fear of Indian attacks helped in creating anxiety among the early Puritans that God was punishing them. This fear of punishment established a fertile atmosphere in which a case of possible witchcraft could easily be interpreted by the Puritans as the cause of God's wrath. Add to these events the economic, political, imaginations and fears of the people, family feuds and religious factors of the time, it is easier to understand how the Salem witch trials grew and prospered for almost a whole year. See the essay for a detailed explanation of the causes, events and aftermath of the Salem witch trials.
If she did, she could have saved a lot of lives during the Salem Witch Trials because she had the power to influence the community decisions. But she preferred lie instead of truth and many innocent people died. When Judge Danforth asked her if she was lying: “Is it possible, child, that the spirits you have seen are illusion only, some deception that may cross your mind when.“-She just acted insulted. Of course, later in the play, when Abigail thought that Puritans were close to catching her in the lie, she took her uncle’s money and ran away. She stayed completely unpunished for her crimes against Salem’s people.
The figure of Abigail from The Crucible unites worst of human characteristics, like selfishness, credibility and jealously. Her behavior and actions resulted in the real horror and more than a dozen of lost lives during the Salem Witch Trials. The deaths of women and men could have been avoided if Abigail had told the truth. Arthur Miller had paralleled these deaths with “Red Hunt” which took place during the 1950s in the USA. The “McCarthyism” is still discussed and used against recent important local and world events.
Betty Parris, her cousin Abigail Williams, and two other friends formed such a circle. Tituba, Rev. Parris slave whom he bought while on a trip to Barbados, would oftenparticipate in the circle. She would entertain the others with stories of witchcraft,demons, and mystic animals. Other girls soon joined their circle in the evenings to listento Titubas tales and participate in fortune telling experiments. They would tell theirfortunes by dropping an egg white into a glass of water and then interpret the picture itformed. However, Betty Parris and Abigail Williams began to become upset andfrightened with the results of their fortunes. This, coupled with the family financial andsocial difficulties, likely caused the two girls to express their stress in unusual physicalexpressions. Samuel Parris believed this unnatural behavior to be an illness and askedSalem Villages physician, William Griggs, to examine the girls. He did not find anyphysical cause for their strange behavior and concluded the girls were bewitched.
I can characterize Abigail as lying, ill-intentioned and selfish person. She thinks about herself and her aims only. Her first lie in the place was regarding her dancing in the woods and blood drinking. And not looking at the fact that Parris had seen her, she insisted that she and her company were just dancing and it had nothing to do with witchcraft. Moreover, she told everyone that it was Tituba who cast spells. And that Tituba was one of the Salem witches. Of course, Tituba was not entirely innocent because she did Voodoo, which is a witchcraft according to Puritans believes. But yet, she didn’t any sacrifice to devil or magic to injure anyone in the town.
Trials were held in Salem Village, Ipswich, Andover and Salem Town of Essex County of Massachusetts, but accusations of witchcraft occurred in surrounding counties as well.
Now that three Salem Village residents stood accused of witchcraft, an investigation ofthe charges was in order. Two magistrates from Salem Town, John Hathorne, thegreat-grandfather of famed writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (Nathaniel added a "w" to hisname to help disassociate himself from this great-grandfather) and Jonathan Corwin,traveled to Salem Village to investigate the cases of witchcraft. Their investigation ofSarah Osborne, Sarah Good and Tituba was conducted in the Salem VillageMeetinghouse. During the questioning of the three accused, Betty, Abigail, and six othergirls would often scream and tumble on the floor of the meetinghouse. Even with theharsh questioning by the two magistrates and the unusual actions of the afflicted girls,Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne maintained their innocence. Tituba, however, confessedfor three days.
From the beginning of time, an estimated 50 to 200 thousand people have been killed because of witch trials ; however, the most famous witch trial that ever took place was the Salem Witch Trials that occurred during 1692, in Salem, Massachusetts.