Why was Martha Corey (Giles' wife) accused of witchcraft? 


The Crucible

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Giles Corey, a minor character in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, unknowingly places his wife, Martha, into the spotlight when he discusses her reading of "strange books." During a conversation with Reverend Hale, Giles asks him what "signifies the readin' of strange books." Hale questions Giles about the books, and Giles can offer no answer because he has never seen the books (he claims Martha hides them from him). Giles goes on to state that he cannot pray when his wife reads the books. 

Since openly discussing what happens when his wife reads her strange books, Martha is accused of witchcraft. When faced with the accusations, Giles denies that his wife is a witch, only that she read strange books. Given the hysteria enveloping Salem, any strange behavior is associated with witchcraft. Therefore, Marths's reading of strange books is concerning (especially since it stops prayer), and Martha is accused of witchcraft. 


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