Who do you think is responsible for starting the witch-hunt hysteria? When it comes to assigning the blame for who ultimately caused the mass hysteria of the Salem witch-hunts, it is hard to pin the blame on a specific character as all are involved in varying degrees and have contributed to sparking this cataclysmic event. Most people will agree that Abigail is the main perpetrator. However, I think that other characters, namely Reverend Parris, Hale and even John Proctor are responsible to an extent.
Abigail is the main antagonist of the play, so its no wonder that most of the blame for the trials are pinned on her. Abigail, at first, was driven by her jealousy of Elizabeth Proctor, wife of John Proctor whom she has feelings for, to dabble in witchcraft in an attempt to use dark arts to kill Elizabeth. This leads to Reverend Parris walking in on the girls and Tituba practicing witchcraft, which led to Betty Parris’ coma. As news of Betty’s strange illness spread, people of this town are starting to believe that the cause of it is unnatural, and witchcraft is a hanging error, so Abigail initiates the action of the play through lies and deceit to hide her infraction in the woods. By accusing others of witchcraft to cover for her, she begins a process of hysteria and accusation that results in the death of innocents.
Reverend Parris, who lends Abigail his power as the minister of Salem, is also greatly responsible. Parris is a shallow man who cares more about his reputation than his daughter, Betty. Thus, he brings in Reverend Hale in an effort to remove the doubt that his family was involved in any form of witchcraft, as he is worried that he will lose his position as minister if his daughter and niece are found to be witches. Thus, he puts all of his influence behind the trials in an attempt to push the blame as his reputation is at stake.
Reverend Hale lends his authority to aid Abigail to accuse others. Animated by the high praise given to him, he...
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