Cooper PeddicordMr. FitzpatrickILA – 415 December 2017Peddicord P4 Argument Paper The Salem witch trials were a series of executions of people accused of witchery in Massachusetts in the early 1690s. The Crucible tells the story of how a little girl faking ill led to the Salem witch trials. The person who caused these trials was Thomas Putnam.Firstly, Putnam is the richest in Salem, but he wants more.
He starts accusing people of witchery, so they will go to jail and lose their land. Then, he will be able to buy the land. When Proctor talks to Putnam about witchcraft in act one, Proctor interrupts him and says that his grandfather bought land that never belonged to him. Putnam said, “Your grandfather had a habit of willing land that never belonged to him, if I may say it plain” (Miller 32). While Putnam is trying to convince everyone that witchcraft is in their presence, Proctor brings up that his grandfather bought land that never belonged to him. Proctor sees that Putnam probably learned to do this from his grandfather, and Putnam is only accusing people of witchery so he can buy their land.
Putnam continues to reject this, but Proctor sees through this and holds his opinion strong. Due to Putnam’s accusations, many people in Salem were considered witches and forced to give up their property. Those accused of witchery accused others of witchery, and the amount of witches in Salem grew. Eventually, over a hundred people were considered witches due to Putnam. Second, Putnam feels like people in Salem should respect him just because he is rich and owns lots of land.
Putnam saw the trials as a shot to avenge the families who disrespected him. This is shown when he is the first to start looking for witches. When Hale inquires Abigail, Abigail blames Tituba. Hale asks Tituba if she knows of any other witches. Then, Parris and Putnam start questioning Tituba, “Hale: When the Devil comes to you does he ever come – with another person? She stares up into his face, Perhaps another person in the village? Someone you know. Parris: Who came with him? Putnam: Sarah Good? Did you ever see Sarah Good with him? Or Osburn? Parris: Was it man or woman came with him?” (Miller 45-46). While others want to find true answers, Putnam saw this as an opportunity to avenge enemies. Also, when Tituba said the Devil was with Sarah Good, Mrs.
Putnam exclaimed she knew it because her babies died when Sarah Good was her midwife. Here it is obvious there is conflict between Sarah Good and the Putnams. Whenever there was conflict between the Putnams and anyone, Mr. Putnam would indirectly accuse them. Putnam’s behavior led to people getting accused of witchcraft. Due to this, the number of ‘witches’ in Salem grew exponentially. Others may say Abigail was the main cause of the trials. After the dancing in the forest and attempting to persuade John Proctor to fall in love with her, the two young girls fell ill.
At this time Abigail tried to get the girls to lie with her, “Parris, to Abigail: Then you were conjuring the spirits last night.Abigail, whispering: Not I, sir—Tituba and Ruth.Parris, turns now, with new fear, and goes to Betty, looks down at her, and then, gazing off: Oh Abigail, what proper payment for my charity! Now I am undone.Putnam: You are not undone! Let you take hold here.
Wait for no one to charge you—declare it yourself. You have discovered witchcraft” (Miller 16). This however did not cause the trials. This was merely a joke played by girls and not a part of a any plan to begin witchcraft. But the Putnams saw this as an opportunity to avenge people he disliked and to gain land and power. When Proctor jokingly stated he will break with the church, Putnam uses it as an opportunity to attack Proctor.
Putnam exclaimed, “he confessed it now!” (Miller 31)In conclusion, Mr. Putnam caused the witch trials because he was greedy, so he accused people of witchery so he could get there land, and he wanted to avenge all of his enemies in Salem. Although you could say Abigail caused the witch trials because she wanted John, Mr. Putnam was the one to convince everyone, including Abigail, that witchery was the case. Remember neither Abigail nor anybody else just got the idea that witchery was in their presence. Mr.
Putnam was the one to put the idea in their heads.Works CitedMiller, Arthur. The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts. New York: Viking Press, 1953.