The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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How did the Salem Witch Trials affect the community of Salem? Government and authority? The church? Individuals?

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In act IV of The Crucible, it is clear the witch trials have broken down the normal social order completely. Hale tells Danforth that there are orphans wandering from house to house, cattle bellowing on the roads, and crops rotting in the fields. The parents who should be looking after the children and the farmers who should be attending to the cattle and the crops are dead or languishing in prison under sentence of death. Everyone is terrified of being the next to be accused. Danforth is Deputy-Governor of the state and should be maintaining order, but he is wasting his time in pursuit of witches.

The community is in chaos and so is the church which has governed it as much as or more than Danforth and the secular authorities. Its minister, Reverend Parris, is continuously distraught and distracted. In act IV, he finds himself robbed and ruined by Abigail, and soon he disappears completely.

The effect on individuals and individual families is worst of all. In act III, Danforth speaks of...

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