In The Crucible how does evidence build up against women like Rebecca Nurse and Elizabeth Proctor?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The evidence against Elizabeth Proctor comes mostly in the form of some pretty evil conniving on the part of Abigail.  She tests the waters by mentioning Elizabeth's name in court, briefly.  But when Mary Warren jumps to Elizabeth's defense, she drops it, knowing that she'll have to produce stronger "proof" of Elizabeth's witchy nature.  So, she stabs herself in the stomach after planting a needle in the belly of Mary's doll.  This is "proof" enough for the courts when they go to Elizabeth's house and find the planted voodoo doll with the needle.  That is enough for her to be prosecuted.

The evidence against Goody Nurse is less concrete.  Mrs. Putnam and her argue a lot in the beginning of the play, and some people resent how goody-goody Rebecca is.  Mrs. Putnam uses that to her advantage.  She starts by insinuating that her babies died at the hands of a witch.  Then, some of the women that birthed those babies are found guilty of witchcraft.  It is only then that she fronts Rebecca's name as a possibility.  She does this in the height of the hysteria, when the power behind the accusers is the strongest, and after others have been already been arrested for killing her babies.  Rebecca is arrested and found guilty.

I hope that those thoughts help; good luck!

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The Crucible

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