What are the attitudes of the characters in Salem towards the witchcraft in "The Crucible"?

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troutmiller eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The young girls (Abigail, Mercy, Betty and Susanna) begin accusing everyone out of jealousy or anger.  Perhaps they believe that witchcraft is real, but they use it as an excuse to be heard by the adults and to receive power.  Their attitude is that it creates power and gets results for them quickly.  As soon as these girls point a finger, they can get people to do what they want.  So their attitude towards witchcraft is one of awe.  They have finally been heard and are getting whatever it is that they want when they begin accusing others.

The clergy and/or council members all believe that witchcraft is the work of the devil, and they have no tolerance for any of it.  As soon as Tituba admits to witchcraft so she can be "forgiven" and forgotten, the council assumes that witchcraft is running rampant in Salem.  They all have the attitude that it is a very serious problem and are willing to put people to death if they don't admit it and repent.

People like John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth and especially Rebecca Nurse know that witchcraft is not occurring in Salem.  Perhaps they believe it occurs, but they know the truth of the situation.  They know that the girls are using these accusations for power and control.  And they are getting away with it.