Miller uses the character of T to lay the foundation for the whole play, when right at the start she is falsely accused of witchcraft. It is important that she is portrayed as different, as being black and a slave as this gives a focus for all the fear , suspicion and ultimately, hysteria , which enables such a tragic twisting of justice to occur.
Tituba is a slave brought by Parris from Barbados. She is an exotic figure in the otherwise repressed puritanical community, and is encouraged by the girls to show them voodoo rituals.‘You beg me to conjure’ This is important because her involvement in what could have been explained as innocent dancing in the woods is given a more sinister feel. There is already an undercurrent of widespread fear of witchcraft in Salem and Miller uses Tituba as a catalyst for the creation of panic which results once people in the town believe they have witchcraft occuring amongst them.
As Tituba is a slave with a very low position within society it is easy for Abigail to accuse her when she feels that she is under suspicion. ‘She made me do it ‘ ‘She makes me drink blood’.
It could be argued that Tituba gives the children , in particular Abigail, the idea to accuse people of witchcraft. Tituba confesses to witchcraft, out of fear and panic, and it is very important because this is the point where Abigail sees how powerful fear and hysteria can be, Abigail copies Tituba and begins to name people as possible witches, realising how impressionable weak minded people are and how they can be swept along and controlled by hysteria. It is also an allegory of the hysteria created during the McCarthy era , the anti Communist investigations in the 1950s where rivals accused each other of Communism for their own gains.
It is a pivotal moment in the crucible when Tituba confesses to Hale. However the reliability of the confession is...