How does Putnam coerce Parris to declare witchcraft in Act I?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In many ways, Putnam proves to be as malevolent as Abigail or Parris.  Unlike both of them, Putnam is fairly clear and direct about what he wants to do and what he covets.  He recognizes that both his wife will be pleased and he will benefit with more accusations.  His wife will be happy because her own paranoia about her dead children will be satiated.  At the same time, Putnam would be able to consolidate more land with the more people accused, something that Corey brings out in Act III.  Putnam makes it very clear that by starting to make the case of witches to the crowd that has gathered downstairs will accomplish two things.  The first thing accomplished would be that individual attention would be focused away from what the girls were doing in the woods that night, and also from Ann's insistence that Betty speak with Tituba about her dead babies.  The other thing accomplished would be that Parris would become extremely powerful being a minister in a time where fear of witches and concerns of witchcraft would have held over the town.  It is for this reason that Putnam convinces and coerces Parris to speak of witchcraft immediately.

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