How was Rebeca Nurse treated in The Crucible?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In his poem, "The Second Coming," William Butler Yeats uses one line to truly evoke the idea of a world that has lost all control, spiraling into chaos.  He writes, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity."  The idea that comes from this is an idea to show social fragmentation is a reality in any setting where the good and righteous are not respected and the malevolent forces enjoy the power.  This is an apt description of how Goody Rebecca Nurse is treated. When someone is accused of witchcraft after 26 grandchildren and 11 children, something is amiss.  A figure in the town that represents nurturing, care, and utter devotion, Rebecca Nurse is subjected to the wild accusations of Abigail as well as those in the position of power who seek to consolidate their control.  A reflection of the goodness of people that becomes trampled when the worst obtain power, she is treated in a manner that makes her almost a martyr.  Certainly, her treatment becomes a catalyst for Proctor to resist the confession and stand for truth at a horrific cost.

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