How do the circumstances behind Rebecca Nurse's and Giles Corey’s death reflect their characterizations throughout the drama?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the deaths of both Corey and Rebecca Nurse reflects much of how their lives were lived.  Rebecca Nurse dies in the same way that she lived in that she does not raise cause a public spectacle of her death.  Rebecca Nurse had been shown as a quiet voice of reason in the drama.  When Mrs. Putnam flies into bizarre, paranoid, and accusatory rants, Rebecca Nurse calmly reminds everyone of the truth in that adolescents will be adolescents.  When Rebecca Nurse is about to die, she simply asks for food because she his hungry.  At this moment, her maternal instinct of caring and compassion is evident, reflective of how her death is mirrored in life.

Giles Corey dies of "More weight" and being pressed to death.  Corey shows his defiance in the face of growing pressure, both figuratively and literally.  Giles Corey have lived his life in the drama as constantly repelling what the social order says he should and listens to his own voice as to what he ought to do.  When he refuses to name his informant, it is an example of repelling and resisting the pressure placed upon him.  When he refuses to acquiesce to Putnam's intimidation, it is an example of repelling the pressure placed upon him.  In much the same way, his death is reflective of repelling the pressure placed on him in the demand of "More weight."