What have the girls in The Crucible done that violates Puritan codes?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Abigail Williams and the other girls from Salem are guilty of several offenses against Puritan standards.  First, they leave their homes in the middle of the night, something that young girls were not allowed to do, and go into the forest.  For the Puritans, the forest represents a place of evil and is allegedly a favorite home for "The Man in Black"--the devil. Secondly, they girls dance which is also not allowed; this is why Rev. Parris has such a strong reaction to the mention of dancing. Some of the girls also remove their clothing in the forest, which at the least doesn't coincide with the Puritans' strict standards of modesty, and at the worst their nakedness represents a form of paganism to the Puritans.  Finally, the girls engage in activities, such as putting curses on others, casting spells, throwing creatures into a pot on the fire, which are associated with witchcraft--the Puritans want so semblance of the devil or his followers in their midst.