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The terror that swept through Salem is not unlike the terror that runs through the minds of modern people. The people of Salem were afraid of anything that differed from their personal beliefs, which was why they viewed the Native Americans as savages and counted their religious practices as the works of the devil. Tituba was from Barbados where the people's rituals/lifestyles were very different from those of the Puritans. When Abagail and the girls came to Tituba for love potions, the rituals involved dancing... a no-no in the Puritan world. Anything that was non-Puritanic was considered to be the work of the devil. When the girls were caught dancing, they immediately lied to cover up that fact that they'd asked Tituba to perform these rites so as to avoid harsh punishment. They said they were under some sort of speel and the hysteria started. Fingers were pointed and anytime something went wrong, it was because an evil spell had been cast. To compare to today's world, the violence done to people of opposing religions/nationalities has also made people suspicious of anyone who belongs to a different group. At the time the play was written, McCarthism was in full swing, and people were seeing cold war enemies around every corner. Fear leads people to do awful things they might never have done under ordinary circumstances.
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