On what charge(s) was Rebecca Nurse arrested?
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Rebecca Nurse is arrested on the grounds that she "murdered Goody Putnam's babies." This is motivated by Ann Putnam's irrational envy of Rebecca Nurse having given birth to so many babies while so many of Ann's have died. Using her daughter, Ruth as her conduit, Ann is able to levy the charge against Rebecca Nurse. The charges themselves are significant because it is the first time that Reverend Hale is aware of how there might something wrong in the way charges are being administered. Hale does not know much of anything about Salem. Yet, he knows that Rebecca Nurse is a good woman, one whose charitable acts and reputation for intrinsic goodness precedes her. If she is being accused of witchcraft and killing babies, Hale recognizes that there is something amiss in how people are being accused and jailed.
The charges levied against Rebecca Nurse are the exact opposite of what she represents. They are not consistent with who she is and Hale understands this. In the charges, the first signs of fraudulence in the trials begins to emerge.
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