As Simon Wiesenthal once said “What connects two thousand years of genocide?

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As Simon Wiesenthal once said, “What connects two thousand years of genocide? Too much power in too few hands”. Throughout Arthur Miller’s story, The Crucible, a certain group of people gain power while others are left helpless and cannot fight for their innocence. In this story several girls are caught dancing in the forest in Salem, Massachusetts and then turn their wrong doings around to accuse others of witchcraft. These accusations spread like wildfire as the entire town begins to accuse anyone and everyone they could for their own personal benefits. Tom Putnam accuses others to obtain more land and money, Samuel Parris uses the witch trials to keep his good reputation, and Abigail Williams tries to get her lover, John Procter, back while feeding off her new popularity. These characters become empowered through the witch trials and use their new power to harm others. Thomas Putnam is a bitter, rich landowner in Salem, Massachusetts that accuses others of witchcraft entirely for personal gain. His accusations are believed because his only surviving child, Ruth Putnam, is left in a coma-like state after she is caught dancing in the forest by Reverend Parris. His wife, Ann, and he are hysterical after finding out that their only living child of eight, is left near dead. When Putnam and Parris are speaking Putnam says, “How may we blame ourselves? I am one of nine sons; the Putnam seed have peopled this province. And yet I have but one child left of eight—and now she shrivels!” (Miller 473) During this meeting Putnam tries to convince Parris to bring Reverend Hale to Salem to investigate witchcraft in the village. Mr. Putnam uses his anger for personal profit as he then directs his anger towards his neighbors that stand in his way. For example, Putnam accuses Rebecca Nurse, the most respected woman in the village, of killing his seven babies. Mr. Putnam says to Reverend Parris, “Don’t you understand it, sir? There is a murdering witch among us, bound to keep herself in the dark. Let your enemies make of it what they will, you cannot blink it more.” (466). Throughout both of these quotes, Putnam is trying to use his dead babies as leverage to get his way of Reverend Hale coming to Salem. He claims that there is no way for him to have eight healthy siblings but have seven of his eight baby’s dead by natural causes. Putnam claims that the only reasonable explanation for his dead babies would be witchcraft. His power only grew after this as the people he would accuse had no voice and could only admit to witchcraft or be hung. Just like Putnam, Reverend Parris uses the witch trials for personal gain, but in his case, it is to keep his good name. Parris’s reputation is, in his opinion, the most important part of himself. As the village’s reverend, Parris has to keep a holy a respected life. This is why Parris is so upset when he catches his own daughter, niece, and friends dancing in the forest. Dancing, especially in the forest, is forbidden in the puritan society. After his daughter is left unconscious, Parris’s first reaction is to make sure that this doesn’t affect his reputation. Parris says to Abigail, his niece, “Now look you, child, your punishment will come in its time, but if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it.” (462-463). In this he tries to get Abby to tell him if they summoned spirits in the forest. He questions Abigail, not to save his near dead daughter, but to make sure that his reputation is not affected. Once Abigail and his daughter, Betty, begin to name people that conjure with the devil, Parris has no choice but to support the witch trials in order to save his reputation. If he stops the witch trials he will be known as the reverend whose daughter was caught dancing in the woods, but if he goes along with the trials he will then be known as the man whose daughter and niece helped end satin’s rein in Salem. Parris uses his power as the Reverend and a trusted citizen to get Reverend Hale and the judges to Salem to lead the witch trials. Once Judge Danforth and Judge Hathorne get to Salem there is no way to end the hangings unless all convicted people confess. Just like Parris and Putnam, Abigail uses these trials for her own selfish desires. She may have this in common with Parris and Putnam, but Abigail’s character is much more complex. Abigail begins this whole witch hunt because she wants Elizabeth’s spot as John Proctor’s wife. She accuses everyone that stands in her way and will not stop until she ends up with Proctor. The only reason why these trials begin is because she had her friends go into the forest to dance where she drank blood in order to kill Elizabeth. To not get into trouble by the town, Abigail lies to, her uncle, Reverend Parris and Reverend Hale of Beverly. She lies by saying, “I want to open myself! I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil; I saw him; I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kissed His hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil! (484-485). After she sees Tituba confess and give names of people that she saw with the Devil, Abigail begins saying names of people to not get into trouble. These names then lead to more names by her cousin. Once these names are said, the witch trials begin. Abigail immediately begins to make a plan to get Goody Proctor arrested, so John Proctor could then be a single man that she could marry. During one of the first witch trials, Abigail sees Mary Warren, the servant of the Proctor house, stick a needle in the stomach of the poppet she made for Elizabeth. That night at the diner table Abigail stabs herself in the stomach with a needle claiming that Elizabeth is using voodoo to send her spirit upon Abigail. That same night Ezekiel Cheever arrests Elizabeth for witchcraft. Abigail may have gotten what she wants, but her plan backfires when John Proctor tries to get his wife back, eventually leading to his own arrest and death. Throughout these trials Abigail leads the group of girls in convicting fellow citizens through imaginary evidence called “spectra evidence”. In “spectra evidence” only the girls can see this because it is when someone sends their spirit upon another. Abigail uses this evidence that leads to 200+ people accused, and 12 people hanged. Abigail uses her power obtained through the witch trials to accuse others and try to get her lover, John Proctor, back. Tom Putnam, Reverend Parris, and Abigail Williams gain social influence over Salem, Massachusetts. These three characters use this new influence to harm their neighbors for selfish demands. Tom Putnam uses his influence to accuse others for their land and those who have upset him throughout the years. Reverend Parris uses his influence to keep people from looking at him, but rather witchcraft in order to keep his good reputation. Abigail Williams uses her new influence to charge anyone with witchcraft that stands in the way of her and her lover, John Proctor. History has repeatedly proven that no matter what the world does during an epidemic, there is very little the world can do to stop a catastrophe until it is too late. What can we do to be proactive against these human rights violations before they happen?