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Assess the significance of why Thomas Putnam is willing to speak about witchcraft.

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luciamattos | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 2, 2013 at 5:42 AM via iOS

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Assess the significance of why Thomas Putnam is willing to speak about witchcraft.

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

Posted January 2, 2013 at 1:14 PM (Answer #1)

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It is highly significant that Thomas Putnam is so willing to speak out about the issue of witchcraft.  Like so much in Salem with the witch trials, the reality of duplicitous behavior is evident.  On one hand, Putnam is willing to speak about witchcraft because his daughter is in a trance, having been affected by the reality of "witchcraft."  Putnam's position as a socially respected member of Salem society lends credence to his concern about the issue of witchcraft.  Yet, I think that this is where the duplicitous element is evident.  Putnam is motivated to speak about the witchcraft in order to advance his own agenda.  One part of this is to punish those who were instrumental in denying his brother- in - law the position of town minister.  Another aspect of this, one that will become more evident as the drama continues, is that Putnam directly benefits from those who are accused of witchcraft.  Salem law argues that those who are believed to be witches cannot own property.  The increase in accusation enables Putnam to purchase their land at a greatly reduced price.  This helps to increase his own control over Salem in owning more land and thus increasing his economic hold on the town.  It is significant that Putnam is willing to speak about witchcraft on both the surface level as it shows a supposed sincere concern for Salem society.  Yet, it also reveals more sinister and self- driven motives, a duplicitous condition that is a motif of the drama and reflective of the political nature of the town.

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