How do Rebecca Nurse's and John Proctor's views differ from those of the other villagers?

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Mr. and Mrs. Putnam, especially, feel that there is at least one witch in the village, and that she is responsible for the deaths of their seven children. In fact, Mrs. Putnam sent her daughter Ruth to Reverend Parris's slave, Tituba, to see if Tituba could conjure their spirits and...

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Mr. and Mrs. Putnam, especially, feel that there is at least one witch in the village, and that she is responsible for the deaths of their seven children. In fact, Mrs. Putnam sent her daughter Ruth to Reverend Parris's slave, Tituba, to see if Tituba could conjure their spirits and learn who might be to blame for the deaths. Mrs. Putnam asks Rebecca,

You think it God's work you should never lose a child, nor grandchild either, and I bury all but one? There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires!

Mrs. Putnam insists that the Devil is loose in Salem, and that his witches have actively conspired with him against her family. How else could seven of her eight babies die? she thinks. When Betty cannot stand to hear the people singing the psalm, Mr. Putnam says, "That is a notorious sign of witchcraft afoot, Goody Nurse, a prodigious sign!" Further, the Reverend Parris says, "A wide opinion's running in the parish that the Devil may be among us." In other words, almost everyone agrees with the Putnams, and so Parris has sent for Mr. Hale to answer them.

Rebecca and John, however, do not agree with the Putnams or the rest of the town. Rebecca says,

"I think you'd best send Reverend Hale back as soon as he come. This will set us all to arguin' again in the society, and we thought to have peace this year."

She believes that people ought to speak with the doctor and pray, even that they "blame [them]selves" for any trouble in the town. John agrees that Mr. Hale should not come because it will only encourage people to get more upset. He agrees with Rebecca's assessment of children as playfully mischievous, saying, "Aye, that's the truth of it, Rebecca." He agrees that they'll stop playing when they tire of it.

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Rebecca Nurse is a woman of good character, honesty, and moral integrity. When she is accused, this should have been a moment for the people of Salem to give pause and reconsider the accusations. Rebecca Nurse will not go along with the hysteria. And despite the fact that it might save her life, she refuses to sign the confession.

John Proctor is a bit more conflicted than Rebecca and a bit more flawed, considering his affair with Abigail. However, overlooking that mistake, John is also generally honest and he is brave enough to admit that he has never trusted Reverend Parris' judgment or intentions. Rebecca's refusal to confess is one factor that moves John to reconsider and also refuse to sign the confession.

Both Rebecca and John stick to their convictions. John just has a momentary lapse of judgment.

Other characters in The Crucible, Elizabeth, Giles Corey, and eventually Hale, see that the witch hunt is false. However, most of the other people in Salem go along with the hysteria either because they believe in it or because it gives them an opportunity to accuse others for personal reasons. For example, Thomas Putnam sees an opportunity to buy land from the accused at lower rates.

Another thing is that Rebecca and John understand that their leaders are corrupt and that the witch hunt is a moral tragedy. They declare that they only answer to God and that is enough. At the end of Act 4, when John confesses and tries to keep the paper confession, he claims they don't need the signed confession any more:

I have confessed myself! Is there no good penitence but it be public? God does not need my name nailed upon the church! God sees my name; God knows how black my sins are! It is enough!

Shortly after, when John tears up his confession, Rebecca approves of John's defiance of Danforth and claims that the moral and honest judgment of God awaits everyone. To John, she says:

Let you fear nothing! Another judgment waits us all!

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