The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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What is the effect of Sarah Good and Tituba's conversation about flying south? Why does Miller include it?

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think Miller includes this odd conversation among Sarah Good, Tituba, and Herrick in order to further point out the hypocrisy in Salem.  Sarah and Tituba say that the Devil is coming for them, that they are going to fly south with him.  Tituba says, "We goin' to Barbados, soon the Devil gits here with the feathers and the wings."  Even though both women confessed to witchcraft and were seen as credible in those confessions, they are both seen as completely unhinged, absolutely mad, now.  Even though they said similarly ludicrous things in their confessions, and they were believed without question, at present, when they say these things, they are not taken seriously at all.  However, despite this fact, their earlier confessions are not called into question, and nor are the accusations that were made against them. 

I think it also helps to show the emotional and mental toll taken on the accused, even on those people who confessed and saved their lives.  Both Sarah Good and Tituba confessed to witchcraft, and so we might be inclined to think that they got off easy.  When Miller shows us this conversation, he encourages us to consider how even those who confess are broken by it (a consideration that we should likewise apply even to those who "named names" during the Red Scare).  No one got off easy.  By the end, Tituba hears a "bellowing cow" and believes it to be the Devil, there to rescue her and take her home.  It's an incredibly sad picture that ought to encourage our sympathy even though she indicted other people with her confession.

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