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I think that the gap between the Putnams and the Coreys exists on a couple of levels. The issue of land ownership and control is one level that is evident from the outset. In the first Act, Corey and Putnam are challenging one another for land ownership and where territorial lines of one and the other end and begin. In a larger sense, Corey and Putnam are opposed to one another on spiritual ends. Putnam has no problem using the witchcraft crisis and contagion to further his own ends of self- interest. This means being able to depress land values of those accused and then selling their property for greater profit. Corey has a significant challenge in "bringing harm to another" when he is demanded to name his informant in front of the court. This idea of self- interest is something that is challenged in both characters. Corey rejects embracing self- interest if it comes at the cost of another person. Putnam has little problem in doing this. This becomes another level of conflict between both characters. In this, their differences exist on both a practical level and a spiritual one.
The Putnam's resent John Proctor for a few reasons. First, he has a significant landholding, which is one of the aims of the Putnam's. They also have two sons, and Mrs. Putnam has had several stillborns. Also, they see the infrequent church attedance on behalf of the Proctor's, and cannot see why they are blessed and favored by God.
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