Causes of Conflict

For some, like Ann Putnam, the absence of a natural explanation to the death of seven of her babies embitters her and motivates her attempts to find a scapegoat. Others submit to what seems to have been a form of hysteria. The status of those initiating the charges is elevated from insignificant servants who were facing witchcraft charges, two girls with power over life and death.

Miller portrays a community that sees Satan at work in most of its conflicts. It is regulated by a court whose judge contends during the witchcraft trials that “the voice of Heaven speaks with a self-serving voices of vengeful children”. (pg 81) Deaf to other more rational voices, JudgeDanforth explains to Frances that a person is either with this court order or must be counted against it, there is no road between. (page 85). Based on the increasingly hysterical testimony of a few girls, the community becomes infected with a sort of madness, which results in 400 in jail, and 72 condemned to hang for refusing to confess to false charges. The perjury of those prepared to confess rather than hang, provides evidence to new convictions.(Page 125)

Miller shows that there were rewards to those prepared to perjure themselves by accusing their neighbours of witchcraft. In Abigail's case, she hoped to have her rival hanged a s a witch. Putnam, on the other hand, had the means to purchase the confiscated land of neighbours condemned of witchcraft, and Giles accuses him “ of killing his neighbours for their land”. (Page 87).

  • Why was it difficult for the accused to defend themselves in court?




Why was it difficult for the accused to defend themselves in court?
It was very difficult for the accused to defend themselves in court because any words they spoke were considered lies unless they were accusing others of being inclined with the devil/bewitched.
How does Danforth use language to convey his authority?



It is very difficult for a person to protect themselves in court because in that time children were seen as pure and would never lie. Aswell as that since witchery was invisible, one might not know that they are a witch because it is invisible, making it nearly impossible to defend themselves against accusations.

Kate O

  • Why was it difficult for the accused to defend themselves in court? It is was difficult for the acused to defend themself in court because the girls who were the acusers were seen to be pure and unable to tell lies because of their age. Also in the court anything the acused would say, would be perceived as lies because they were considered to be doing the devils work. This made it impossible for the acused to argue their case in court.
    • How does Danforth use language to convey his authority?Danforth wants to be seen as powerful and an expert in his job as a judge. He uses his language to others in the town of Salem to convey that he is better and more important than them. This is another reason why he did not stop the witch trials when he had the chance, because he didn't want his reputation to be ruined.


it was difficult for those accused to defend themselves as they did not get a lawyer and had to face the judges. also the girls were assumed to be incapable to lie and it was their word against the accused. they only defence was to accuse others something which was morally wrong.
danforth conveys his authority by talking down to all calling then "Man" and "Woman" he is a learned man of the church and therefore he was the voice of the church and what he said was the churches position.





It is very difficult for an accused person to defend themselves in court, especially if they were accused by children of witchcraft. Chirldren are seen as pure and witchcraft is a sin that is unseen an, "invisible crime" and that means only the victim or in this case the girls accussing the innocent people, could be witness.The defendant is therefore believe they are lying and have no choice but to confess to a lie, if they wish to live.



It was difficult for those accused to show that they were innocent as, the children that are 'supposed witnesses' were thought to be telling the truth as all youth in those days were seen to be incapable of lying. The judges always believed what the children had top say and rarely took in to account what the accused had to say. This resulted in Hale quitting the court as he felt the judges were being bias and not listening to the accused.



Kate E

Why was it difficult for the accused to defend themselves in court?
It was difficult for someone who was accused of witchcraft to defend themselves because witchcraft was considered an "invisible crime" and therefroe, only the victim could be a witness. What the defendant said in court was considered a lie unless it was a confession and/or acusation of another innocent citizen.


It is difficult for someone who is accussed of witchcraft to prove themselve innocent, because false witnesses which are children are believed to be truthful, therefore their alibi and claims are plausible. The only way for the accussed to be proven innocent is if they confess to witchery, and name names.



Why was it difficult for the accused to defend themselves in court?
It is difficult for the accused to defend themselves in court as, no matter what they would say there is always doubt in the Judges mind as the only people in which the crime can be seen is between the 'witch' and the victim the crime to and as the victim/s would lie the truth would be hard to achieve
How does Danforth use language to convey his authority?
Danforth use language that allows him to seem powerful, as he uses more forceful words to inhance his authority. He also seem very negative and only sees things as black or white.