As seen in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, why does Giles Corey feel guilty that his wife is charged with witchcraft?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Giles Corey, a character from Arthur Miller's The Crucible, feels guilty about his wife (Martha Corey) being charged with witchcraft. Giles does not think before he speaks. In fact, his quick tongue (speech) gets him into much trouble throughout the play. 

The accusation against Martha Corey stems from Giles' question posed to Reverend Hale. Giles asks Hale, "What signifies the readin’ of strange books?" Unknowingly, by questioning his wife's reading, Giles has just placed her into the path of being accused of witchcraft. It is not until Giles' wife is charged with witchcraft that he realizes the mistake he made earlier when drawing attention to the fact that she read books other then the Bible. 

Giles, when speaking of Martha's arrest, states that he never said Martha was a witch; he only stated that she was reading books. When Hale asks about the charges, Giles tells him that Martha was charged by Walcott for bewitching the pigs with the books she read. With Martha's arrest, Giles states that he "broke charity with her" (his wife). He realizes that it is his fault that she stands accused of witchcraft. If he would not have spoke of Martha reading books, chances are Martha may never have been charged.That said, one could assume that Walcott may have found another way to offer up "proof" of Martha being a witch (in order to blame the death of the pigs upon her). 


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