The Crucible Post 1:How has the Balance of Power Shifted?
After act one in the crucible, the power in Salem has shifted. In the beginning of the book, the most power in the town was held by Parris. He was the preacher. Since he ran the church, and there was no local government, Parris was the leader of the town, which is exhibited by the line, “There is a faction sworn to drive me from my pulpit…” (Miller 10). Parris is shown to be in power by the fact that there are factions trying to remove him from it, his power is implied. The rest of the power lies with the Putnams, the wealthiest family in Salem. They had the most land, and Mr. Putnam was highly involved with the town, in that he seemingly had a grudge against everyone there. With the actions of the children, however, things began to change.
When Betty, the daughter of Parris, falls ills with no explanation why the town begins to get agitated. Ruth, the only surviving daughter of the Putnams, seems to be possessed by the devil, “…she waked this morning, but her eyes open she walks, and hears naught, sees naught, and cannot eat. Her sole is taken, surely…” and Parris starts to worry his daughter is possessed. He summons Reverend Hale, a specialist of finding witches. While he waits Mr. and Goody Putnam visit him, and they start to convince him that his daughter is bewitched. After Hale arrives, Abigail, Parris’s niece, admits she and Betty danced, and that Parris’s slave, Tituba, summoned spirits. Reverend Hale convinces them that if they repent and tell who else is doing the devil’s will then they will have salvation. Thus the power changes to Abigail and the other girls of the town. They can now accuse anyone of being a witch, and the person must either admit they’re a witch, or be hung.