The Role of Gossip in "The Crucible"

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Gossip-Catalyst of the Witch Hunt
Gossip, or rumors is part of our daily life. It is everywhere and it spreads rapidly. Gossip is different from lying. People don’t mean to tell lies when they gossip. However, gossip either twists and exaggerates the truth, or affects people’s mind and influence their judgement. In the Crucible, in the Salem witch trial, rumors played an important role. They spread like pests and were the catalyst of the witch trial. It was because of the gossip’s ability to twist the truth and affect people’s judgement that caused many innocent people’s death. Sarah Good was one of the first three women who were accused of witchcraft. One of the main evidence that proved her “guilt” was when she asked for charity and was rejected, she always muttered under her breath. In fact Sarah was probably just complaining, but when people talked about this, the complaining became curses. Rumor has the ability to twist or exaggerate the truth. Especially when gossips pass from one person to another, more details and descriptions that might not be true are added. This happened because people wanted to make the stories they told more interesting. However, this may cause a very bad influence sometimes. Another proof is Giles’ words about his wife. He said that his wife was reading a book, and “it(the book) discomfits me! Last night--mark this--I tried and tried and could not say my prayers. And then she close her book and walks out of the house, and suddenly--mark this--I could pray again!”(38) A book can’t have affected one’s ability to pray. Giles was obviously making up his story. It was possible that he could’t focus during the prayer, but he exaggerated it and make people feel that it was because of the book his wife was reading that disturbed him from praying. Giles didn’t mean to tell a lie, but he was not telling the truth either. This gossip put his wife in dangerous situation. On the other hand, gossips influence people’s...
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