Over the course of the play, many characters claim that the Putnams' role in the witch trials has an ulterior motive: they do not just want to rid the town of "witches" - they actually want to gain land.
The Putnams believe that some of the land that John Proctor, Giles Corey, and others in the community are using actually belongs to them.
As you can find in many history records, the Putnams wealth (which was a reflection of how much land you owned during this time period) grew exponentially during and following the Salem Witch Trials. Today, many streets and even some towns in the Northeast of the USA are named after the wealthy, but extremely corrupt, family.
A great question for you while reading the play is the following:
How many characters do you think suspect or recognize Putnam's true intentions? How does this change your perspective of those characters as well as the Putnam family?