In "The Crucible," how were the witch-hunt years a time of 'general revenge'?

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Remember in the play that as the priests and judges did more digging, they unearthed some ill will among the people there.  For instance, John Proctor did not like Reverend Parris since he felt the Reverend harped on money  and appearances too much.  Parris did not need gold candlesticks when there were pewter ones.  Likewise, he did not need more salary for wood when wood was provided for him to burn in his fireplace.  Parris feared that his daughter is afflicted and that the parish would blame him for the bad luck because of his greed.  John is later accused of witchcraft because he plows his field on Sunday instead of attending church and because he can't list all of the Ten Commandments.

Elizabeth Proctor was targeted because Abigail Williams wanted her husband.  So, Elizabeth is accused of witchcraft.

Rebecca Nurse is targeted because Goody Putnam is jealous of her. Goody Nurse has had good fortune in that all of her children have survived and she also has many grandchildren.  The Putnams have lost all but one of their children and now she is afflicted with the illness.  Goody Putnam blames Goody Nurse since Rebecca Nurse was her midwife so much of the time. 

Mr. Putnam also used this crazy time to accuse neighbors of witchcraft so he can obtain their land after the accused are hanged.

There are many instances of unChristian behavior and use of the witch trials to exact revenge.