Salem Witch Trials Essay, Research Paper
During the witch trial, of 1692, people of Salem, Massachusetts were not
looking to cleanse the town of spirits or devils, but to clear the city of their enemies.
People of this era were willing to do anything for what they wanted, even killing. The
judge, Danforth, of the witch trials was an arrogant judge. He would believe any story
that was brought to his attention., and even if he did not believe it, he would not take the
time to tell anyone or to dissect the investigation and prove the defendant innocent. The
worst of all the people of Salem Massachusetts was Abigail Williams who betrayed her
friends time and time again to obtain the desire of her heart, John Procter.
“You drank blood Abby! You didn t tell them that!”-Betty Parris, pg19. The story
begins when Abigail Williams and her friends go out into the forest to make spells and
wishes. They all made a wish to get the men which the desired for themselves. Abby
made a spell by drinking chicken blood to make John Proctor lover her. The big problem
with that though is John Proctor is already married to Elizabeth Proctor.
Abigail Williams is in my opinion the entire reason the Salem witch trials had
begun. Abby had once been the servant to John Proctor. However, Elizabeth thought
John to not be holding loyal to her. During a long argument at home between Elizabeth
and John over the subject of he not being truthful, Elizabeth says “You ll tear it free –
when you come to know that I will be your only wife, or no wife at all! She has an
arrow in you yet, John Proctor, and you know it well.” Elizabeth has a conversation with
John about how he still feels something passionate about Abigail Williams and if he does
not stop thinking of Abby, Elizabeth will leave him.
After the incident of Abigail being fired from her job, she always wanted to get
back at the Proctor name. When she would see John in the church or the town she would
come to him and try to woo him into having an affair with her again. John is kind of
ignorant because he goes to town knowing he will see her and knowing she will try to
seduce him again. He would talk to her and say what he feels about her like “Abby, I may
think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I reach for you
again. Wipe it out of your mind. We never touched, Abby.”-John proctor,pg23. She
obviously did not get the moral of his comment because she said “Aye but we did”-Abigail
Williams pg23 and would try time and time again to get John to lay with her, she was
Rev. Hale was the exorcist that had come to Salem to help cleanse the town of its
sin. He was well informed in his field and he knew how to find the Devil in all of his
disguises, with the help of his big book. “Here is all the invisible world, caught, defined ,
and calculated. In these books the Devil stands stripped of all his brute disguises.”-Rev.
Hale pg39. Even though the spirits were brought in by Abigail telling lies and threatening
her friends to continue on with the lie, Mr. Hale could not detect the falsehood in her.
“Now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam s dead
sisters. And that is all. And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a
word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night
and I will bring pointy reckoning that will shudder you. And you know I can do it; I saw
Indians smash my dear parent s heads on the pillow next to mine, and I have seen some
reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go
down!”-Abigail Williams pg20. Abby was trying to protect herself in this situation, not
caring what will happen to Tituba after placing all the blame on her.
The whole town was in an uproar over all the accounts of witchcraft that has been
portrayed. People would accuse others left and right. If the had some sort of
disagreement or they did not see eye to eye, they could accuse the person of being a witch
with no questioning done to them. If their life was in danger for being accused of
witchery, all they would need to do is lay blame on another stating that their spirit
provoked you and you had no choice. It was all a lie started from a little girl who did not
get her desired husband. An example being Abigail being put on the spot about her
dancing in the forest she states toward Tituba “She made me do it! She made Becky do
it! She makes me drink blood!”-Abigail Williams pg43. Tituba knows there is know way
denying what she is accused of so she plays along with it “How many times he bid me kill
you Mr. Parris.”-Tituba, movie. Tituba was only trying to save her life and the life of
Abby by admitting to the devilish crime.
Many more investigations had gone on about others being accused of witchery but
they all seemed to just disappear with the accused stating that they were under the power
of a familiar spirit that would taunt them or they just repent and their trial is over with.
Greedy men would say a name in court to get another man on trial so he could possibly
get his valued land. It was despicable the way the people of Salem would stab each other
in the back just to get another s possessions. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor s house,
though shalt not covet thy neighbor s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor
his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor s-Exodus 20:17, Bible KJV 10th com.
The citizens of Salem must not have been to holy if they would do all this against the will
of God. Nor did they take into consideration the ninth commandment “Thou shalt not
bear false witness against thy neighbor.”-Exodus 20:16, Bible KJV 9th comm.
It seems to me the only people that have held tight to God s words are the one s
that are paying the ultimate price. They took the ridicule of being hanged in front of the
entire town so they could have their conscious cleared and go to Heaven without further
blemish. Proctor had been charged as compacting with the Devil by his own maidservant,
Mary Warren. Proctor is ready to sign his life to a lie by putting his name on the
document saying he has been with the devil and has rejected the Devil and he no longer
has a hold on his life. He signs the paper with a little frustration but then he does not want
his name to be violated and destroyed by being posted up like a billboard on the church
wall so he snatches the document away from the judge. They wall wonder what he is
trying to do here. They all plead with him. Proctor says, “Because it is my name!
Because I can not have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because
I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name?
I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”-John Proctor pg143. Danforth agues with
him, “Is that document a lie? If it is a lie I will not accept it! I will not deal with lies,
Mister! You will give me your honest confession in my hand, or I can not keep you from
the rope. Which way do you go, Mister”-Danforth pg144. “Man, you will not hang!
You can not!”-Hale pg144. They all plead with him to spare his life but Elizabeth says his
words for him, “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take that from him..”-Elizabeth
The story ends with the mystery of who really were the real witches unsolved.
They bring the accused so called witches to the gallows staged in the center of town for
the city to share in this pity. The last words said were “Our Father which art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts ad we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the
power, and the glory, forever -John Proctor, Goody Osburn, and Sarah Good, Bible
KJV, Matthew 6:9-13.-movie