How are the Puritan society's beliefs in superstitions first made clear to us? Please use a quote to support your answer.

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In the opening scene of the play, Susanna Walcott enters Betty's room and offers Reverend Parris a message from Doctor Griggs. Susanna informs Reverend Parris that the doctor has no idea what ailment plagues his daughter and has suggested that he look to "unnatural things." Susanna tells Reverend Parris,

Aye, sir, he [Doctor Griggs] have been searchin’ his books since he left you, sir. But he bid me tell you, that you might look to unnatural things for the cause of it. (Miller, 10)

Doctor Griggs's suggestion that Parris look to "unnatural things" reveals the Puritan society's beliefs in supernatural phenomena. Shortly after Susanna leaves Betty's room, Abigail Williams tells Parris,

Uncle, the rumor of witchcraft is all about; I think you’d best go down and deny it yourself. The parlor’s packed with people, sir. I’ll sit with her. (Miller, 11)

The fact that the doctor and the citizens have already begun to make assumptions that Betty is bewitched emphasizes the Puritan society's belief in the supernatural. When Mrs. Putnam enters the scene, the first question she asks about Betty is,

How high did she fly, how high? (Miller, 14)

Mrs. Putnam's comment reveals that she believes in witches and magic. Mrs. Putnam's comments and concerns also underscore her society's beliefs in the paranormal and supernatural. These beliefs significantly contribute to the harmful witchcraft-hysteria that consumes the entire community.

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Though there are hints at the superstitions held in the community, the first real indication of how deep these beliefs lie comes when Goody Putnam claims she has seen Betty fly, then claims that her daughter Ruth has been touched by the Devil. Parris is terrified that she will spread these rumors to the community at large. He fears this because he knows full well that the accusations will be believed. Here is a part of Act 1, Scene 1 where their conversation and superstitious beliefs are illuminated:

Mrs. Putnam (glancing at Betty): How high did she fly? How high?
Parris: No, no, she never flew --
Mrs. Putnam (very pleased with herself): Why, it's sure she did. Mr. Collins saw her going over Ingersoll's barn, and come down light as a bird, he says!
[...]
Parris (shocked): Your Ruth is sick?
Mrs. Putnam (with vicious certainty): I'd not call it sick; the Devil's touch is heavier than sick. It's death, y'know, it's death drivin' into them, forked and hoofed. (Act 1, Scene 1)

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