Compare and Contrast Essay

Published: 2020-02-20 21:11:51
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In the sixteenth century, a group of English protestant who practised a more strictly disciplined Christian lifestyle were named Puritans; they immigrated to Salem also called New England in the purpose to establish a society of their own after suffering from religious persecution in England. Arthur Millers play The Crucible and Celia Reess novel Witch Child are both similar as their story evolve around this same Puritan society of the seventeenth century in Salem, Massachusetts. The restrained and rigid Puritan lifestyle is explored in detail in both texts in which people were expected to work hard and repress their emotions and opinions. The Crucible relates very closely to Witch Child in its portrayal of a main theme within Puritanism: the witchcraft hysteria that marked the early History of America.

The first similarity between Witch Child and Crucible is the portrayal of a strict Puritan religion. They were so strict that they accepted every word of the Bible as totally accurate and would not question its interpretation further, an example would be the famous Thou shalt not permit a sorceress to live (2. Moses 22, 17) upon which most of the European witch trials had already been conducted. People were repressed, as entertainment and pleasure were heinous sins in which cosmetics, games, theatres and dancing were all banned. As a result in The Crucible the witchcraft madness begins after Abigail and the girls have been caught dancing in the woods.

The same scenario is echoed in Witch Child they practice not just in the forest¦Deborah and Hannah Vane, Sarah Garner and Elizabeth Denning and others unknown were found in a barn, dancing naked. We notice in both stories a parallel in which woods and forests are associated with witchcraft. This is demonstrated in Witch Child p121: The forest is also the realm of Satan and against him and his forces guns offer no protection This insinuates the wilderness is linked to the darkness thus forest was evil. Colourful clothing was also not allowed, this idea is repeated several times in Witch Child as people were all dressed in the dark sober clothes which mark them as Puritans This suggests puritans valued plainness in religious worship and had a lack of interest in material and artificial things as those were to distract men away from the right path.

Another main concept of Puritanism is the theocracy in which their society is governed. The church represents the centre of the community and it is illustrated in both The Crucible and Witch Child. Non-attendance at church was a sin in which the person would be punished and excommunicated, losing all of his property and rights. In The Crucible, Proctor does not attend church as Reverend Hale note[s] that [he is] rarely in the church on Sabbath Day he also questions Proctors way of raising his children as only two are baptized?, and furthermore Proctor is found unable to quote the last commandment which Elizabeth reminds him that it is Adultery, John.

All these statement are then held against him as incriminating evidence, whereby he is found suspicious in the Witch trial. Proctor is compared to Marys Grandmother in Witch child who always attended church¦even though she did not believe a word of what was said¦she went every Sunday¦she never missed a service Unlike Proctor, Marys grandmother followed the Puritan lifestyle strictly with obedience even if it differed from her beliefs. It is ironic that Marys grandmother is said to be a witch in Witch Child but was still obedient to the puritan society, whereas Proctor is only seeking defence in Abigails false accusations but it is a whores vengeance, and you must see it!; yet both characters ended up accused and executed whether being innocent or not in the witch craft trial.

Deep in the psyche of the inhabitants of Puritan society was a stigma surrounding the potential of women to become cohort of the Devil. Sexual prejudice linked witchcraft to females, and specific social circumstances made certain kinds of women particularly liable to witchcraft prosecution. Throughout Witch Child Mary is subjected to rumours in the community for her desire to wander in the forest this is apparent on p149 Such wandering could draw attention. If you were seen with him¦ rumours are also added to her literacy skills and her knowledge on plants and their medicinal or heathen remedy uses.

This was unusual to the community as puritans believed women were inferior, weak, and disregarded for their intellectual value mainly because female sexuality was associated with evil, stemming from the biblical depiction of Eve tempting Adam in the Garden of Eden. The sensual power of women was feared since they had the ability to corrupt upstanding Puritan men and leads them into paths of wickedness. Deborah Vane and Abigail William closely relate to each other being the main leaders of the Witchcraft insanity in both Witch Child and The Crucible books. Their motives for such spiteful behaviour were not justified although they had several advantages in being afflicted.

The girls, who normally had a very low position in the social order, were able to act in a way that usually would have been unacceptable. Their strange and sometimes even disrespectful behaviour was blamed on the witches who were torturing them and forcing them to do so I danced for the Devil; I saw him, I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil! Seeing Abigails success, the other girls follow suit and with this pattern of hysterical, self-serving accusations, the witch trials get underway as the girls were excused and even pitied.

I personally believe it was a way to gain attention, just like Proctor claims in Act 2 p72 Ill tell you whats walking Salem vengeance is walking Salem. We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law! In fact this whole scenario makes the girls the most powerful persons in Salem at that time, whereas in their normal lives they would not be able to have any perspective of improving their social status in the future. Since the exhibition of their affliction represented the main evidence during the trials, they were able to decide who was going to be accused and whether these persons were going to be executed or not. Whenever a person doubted the veracity of their afflictions or tried to argue with them, they would fall into fits accusing him or her of also being a witch.

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