Character Analysis: The Salem Witch Trials

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Witchcraft burned tens of thousands of people in the Middle Ages. More than one hundred and fifty were accused just in Salem, Massachusetts. Twenty were killed as a result of the accusations. Now, how much evidence was there to convict the supposed witches? Not enough that death should have been the punishment. However, the court sentenced the accused to be hanged if they did not confess which causes another problem: why hang when one could confess to a lie and live? Indeed, the court system broke down during these witch trials. Adolescents have the wonderful power to be persuasive and deceiving. Abigail Williams (Abby) shows this trait when she has her episodes, like the time where she accused Mary of freezing her. "I.. I know not. A wind, a cold wind has come.…show more content…
After she accused Mary, then so did Mercy. "Your Honor, I freeze!" (Miller). Abby seems to always be the one to start the episodes and then the others follow her. Things like that have happened before, one friend tells a lie and the others support them by going along with it, and it is very common. This brings up an important point: adolescents lie. They try to deceive people and it can work. Most adolescents do it, too. A friend of mine once told their parents they were one place when they really were somewhere else. That does not even compare to the size of the lie Abby was telling, but shows it is a common this for teenagers to do. Now, how did the court convict accused witches with just an adolescent's word? The court, to find someone guilty, has to have proof of witchcraft, like a mark from the devil or proof they interacted with a “familiar spirit,” or accusations made by two people for one person to be convicted as a witch. Yes, there were at least two accusations made for some of the convictions, but for some, like Proctor’s, Abby was the first one to make up the accusation and then the others followed in her footsteps. Even Hale, who is a trusted

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