Identify the significance of the characters who are most recently accused of being a witch in Act Two.

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

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I think that the most significant element of the people who are named as witches in Act II is that it shows how the accusations are truly spiraling out of control.  Perhaps, this was already known at the end of Act I, where people were being accused falsely and with so much frequency that there was little rhyme or reason present.  Certainly, this trend continues in Act II, but the significance of the accusations in this act is that the people who are being implicated are direct targets of the accusers.  For example, Rebecca Nurse has been seen as the object of envy of Goody Putnam.  Her accusation becomes a political move for Putnam, who envies Rebecca Nurse for not losing her children to death and for her own sense of centeredness that Goody Putnam lacks.  Elizabeth's accusation becomes clearly motivated by malice on the part of Abigail, as she covets John for herself.  In this, it becomes clear that the accusations being levied in Act II now have a distinct political angle to them, helping to bring to light that much of the Salem Witch Trials were political and motivated by political malice, in general.

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