In The Crucible, who is a wealthy businessman who uses the witch trials to profit?  

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many instances of individuals who use the trials for personal advancement of agendas or self interest.  Abigail uses the trials to secure her own sense of importance.  Thomas Putnam is an example of a character who uses the trials as profit.  Seizing the opportunity to advance his own wealth through the trials, he uses the witch trials to increase his own wealth by accusing people of witchcraft and then buying up their land.  As individuals are accused, their land is bought for cut rate prices.  This helps Putnam to consolidate his sense of control throughout the community and benefits directly from the Witchcraft Trials.  The implication in Putnam's character is the idea that individuals can manipulate the system as an instance where the good is professed, but ulterior motives are advanced.  In this configuration of politics, Miller demands the need for courageous institutions that can rectify the manipulation of a legal and social system.