The Crucible There are several similarities and differences between the 1996 movie The Crucible and the truth about what happened in the Salem Witch Trials.
Even though there were differences between the movie The Crucible and the actual Salem Witch Trials, the movie summarized the trials very well. Ever since Increase Mather and thirteen or fourteen other pastors signed what was called the Cases of Conscience document, the village of Salem was in major controversy. The farms around there hadnt been farmed in months and the village wasnt looking good. Some of the Puritans blamed this on the witches (A Village Possessed).
It was late one night when two girls by the names of Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams went out into the woods to a camp fire where they found a dozen other girls their age in a circle led by a person named Tituba (The Crucible). Every girl was acting a little strange, but Elizabeth and Abigail were acting a little stranger. Right when things got out of hand, the girls were discovered by Rev. Samuel Parris, pastor of Salem Village and father of Elizabeth Parris. All of the girls scattered and so did Tituba.The true side of the story is that the two girls had made a homemade crystal ball and dropped the white of an egg over it trying to see if they had any visions. Like a lot of the other girls in the village, Abigail and Elizabeth were trying to see into the future to learn who their husbands would be and to see what their husbands would do for a living.
The girls went ahead and did this even though they knew that playing with the occult practice of fortune telling was forbidden. The girls knew that tampering with the business of God could “open the door to Satan (Rice Jr.).” It was just a coincidence that something went very wrong that day. The two girls went to bed that night, but didnt awake the next morning.
They just lied motionless in bed like they were in a coma. The girls just lied motionless in bed for days (The Crucible). In the actual trials the girls saw a coffin in their crystal ball instead of their husbands. Soon after, the two girls started having “fits.” Their legs and arms flew around their heads while they were shouting a strange different language. This behavior did not stay with just the two girls; it spread to at least eight other girls.The doctors of Salem Village could not give any help; prayer did not even help.
The Puritans were convinced that this was the work of the devil and the girls were bewitched (MaGill). But who had bewitched the girls? The girls that were bewitched began to point their fingers. The first accusation went towards the very strange Tituba. Tituba was a Caribbean Slave (Linder).Sarah Good, a beggar, was another to be accused, and so was Sarah Osborne, an old hermit. The girls would say that they had dreams about these people coming to them telling them to do harm or worship Satan. The accusations continued until the jails were overflowing.
The way they would detect the witches is to ask for a confession. If the accused people would admit to doing it, they would live (The Crucible).If they denied it, they would be executed. Some say that they would detect the witches by a small mark on the back of their necks. If the accused person had this small mark, they were a witch (Gragg).
After too many people in jail, the trials began. Normally the girls of the village were seen but not heard from, but on the day of the trials the “afflicted girls” were getting into holes, crawling under chairs, and bending their bodies into weird shapes.As the trials began, Sarah Good, Tituba, and Sarah Osborne waited in jail. Every day a new group of accused people joined them. People of every trade and every characteristic. Every one was in terror that their neighbors would be witches, or even if someone in their house were a witch (A Village Possessed). The movie explained these happenings in the same way.In March of 1692, Rebecca Nurse was one to be accused.
In the meetinghouse, Rebecca stood before the magistrate, John Hawthorne. Rebecca, a seventy-one-year-old church member, the mother of a large family sons, daughters, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. If Rebecca could be accused of witchcraft, no one was safe in Salem Village. The jury found Rebecca Nurse guilty of witchcraft. She was hanged on July 19, 1692, on what is now called Gallows Hill. Four other people who were convicted of witchcraft were hung along side of Rebecca.
Like the others that would be hanged for months later, the five bodies were cut down and dumped into rocks at the side of the hill (Rice). Nearly twenty-five people died. Sarah Good was hanged on Gallows Hill with the others, and Sarah Osborne died in prison. In September Martha Cory was hanged. Her husband Giles was crushed to death from rocks placed on his body to get him to confess. Several hundred had been accused, and nearly 150 stayed chained to the prison walls.In October, Rev. Increase Mather, who still believed in witchcraft, questioned the evidence used in the Salem Witch Trials.
He questioned the evidence with his Cases of Conscience. Like in most criminal cases, Mather argued from the print, “the evidence..ought to be as clear as in any other crimes of a capital nature” (A Village Possessed). But how could a person catch a witch when witchcraft was supernatural? The crime was not the damage caused, it was the act of making a pact with the devil, which no one actually witnessed. Mather claimed that there was not any substantial evidence to hold the witches. Finally Massachusettss governor William Phips stood up and said there could be no further imprisonments or executions.
Most of the people who were accused were freed, and the ones who were convicted were pardoned. One of the strangest things to me was that one of the first to be accused, and who confessed, Tituba, was set free. Years after 1692 the people of Salem Village got on with their lives. Elizabeth Parris got married, and so did Mary Wolcott. Both girls, Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams, left Salem Village.
No one ever knew what happened to Abigail. It was said that she never regained her sanity and was “followed with diabolical molestation to her death (Rice). Ann Putnam never remarried, and at twenty-six made a confession for her false accusations, but claimed she was still influenced by the devil.
John Hawthorne got his credit when he was the inspiration for the greedy Judge Pyncheon in The House of Seven Gablec. A family member, Nathaniel Hawthorne, wrote the novel one hundred years after Johns death (A Village Possessed). The cause of this all was because of a childish game played by some young girls. I think the girls were influenced by Tituba and had no control over their actions.Even though many innocent people died, the blame is to be put on Tituba.