Discuss the Putnams' reactions to the accusations of witchcraft.

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

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The Putnams realize fairly quickly that the accusations of witchcraft in Salem can help their own individual lots in different ways.  On one hand, Ann Putnam is able to use the accusation feeding frenzy of witchcraft to settle up issues that exist in her own mind.  For example, Ann is extremely bitter about how many children and grandchildren that Rebecca Nurse has and how few she has.  The accusations of witchcraft enable her to target Rebecca Nurse, enabling her to allow her feelings of bitterness and vengeance to be fed.  Mr. Putnam enjoys the financial benefit from the accusations.  Realizing that people accused of witchcraft will have to sell their properties for an even smaller value, ensuring that his own control of land and property will be even greater.  Both Putnams realize the instant value of the hysteria caused by accusations, primarily because each one is satisfied through different ends as a result of it.  The fact that their own daughter might have something to do with this helps move them to the point where the accusations of witchcraft both deflect their own challenges and enable them to use the public setting to ensure their own private prosperity and consolidation of power.

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