What does Giles accuse Putnam of in Act III of The Crucible?

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Chase Burns | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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In Act III of The Crucible, Giles Corey accuses Thomas Putnam of telling his daughter to cry witchery on George Jacobs so that he may take Jacobs' land. Danforth details this claim when Putnam arrives in court:

DANFORTH: He states that you coldly prompted your daughter to cry witchery upon George Jacobs that is now in jail.

Giles is adamant in his belief that Putnam is using the hysteria of the witchhunt to target his neighbors for land. When Putnam announces that Giles' claims are a lie, Giles retorts:

GILES: There is none but Putnam with the coin to buy so great a piece. This man is killing his neighbors for their land!

Giles' claim is important in the narrative of The Crucible because it presents the crucial argument that men were using the witchcraft hysteria to gain power. Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible as an allegory for McCarthyism and the Red Scare, and so Giles' accusation has implications for this allegory. Miller could be presenting the argument that men like McCarthy were using the Red Scare to gain political power and economic incentives.