Giles Corey accuses Thomas Putnam of trying to get more land.
In Act 3, Scene 1, Giles Corey’s wife has been accused of fortune telling. Giles turns around and accuses Thomas Putnam of trying to get more land.
COREY: (Emphatically.) The proof is there!—I have it from an honest man who heard Putnam say it! The day his daughter cried out on Jacobs, he said she’d given him a fair gift of land.
Danforth and Hathorne demand proof, but Corey refuses. All he will say is that he should burn in Hell for already having mentioned his wife’s name. When he continues to refuse, he is held in contempt of court and thrown out of the courtroom. He just says she loves books.
The accusations are flying at this point. Almost anyone can be accused of witchcraft. Corey is ridiculed for his unsupported accusation, but there is a grain of truth in it. It has since become widely accepted that the Salem Witch Trials were largely an attempt to gain land. Accuse someone of being a witch and the person is either in prison or death, and at the least a social pariah. Then you just step in and take over.