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Ann Putnam is resentful because she has lost seven infants shortly after their birth. She has only one living child, Ruth, who, in the beginning of the play is stricken with the same illness that has afflicted Betty Parris. She believes in her heart that someone is at fault for the deaths of her infants, she is desperate to find out why they died. Mr. Putnam makes it clear that the death of his infant children had nothing to do with their biological health, he comes from a strong line of sons, he is one of 11. So both the Putnams believe that they are the victims of some sinister plot that is out to get them.
The reason that the Putnams believe that they are being targetted by malicious people in the community is because they are jealous of their wealth. Thomas Putnam is one of the wealthiest men in the village. He is a powerful landowner and he has disputes with other neighbors, such as John Proctor, over the rights to land, which Putnam claims belongs to his family from his ancestors. So Putnam is regarded by the other members of the community as a self-serving opportunist who is trying to seize as much land as possible, to take advantage of the whole witchcraft hysteria which causes people who are accused to lose their property. Putnam especially wants the land of Mr. Jacobs, his neighbor's, who own property right next to his, he puts his daughter Ruth up to the task of accusing Mr. Jacobs so that his land will be available at a reduced price.
Ann Putnam is particularly resentful of Rebecca Nurse who has acted as her midwife through all her births. Rebecca has many children and grandchildren of her own, and Ann is jealous of the fact that Rebecca has so many children and believes that she has somehow, in the process of being her midwife, mishandled her babies causing their deaths.
Both the Putnams believe that their seven babies died through some fault of someone, they use the witch trials to exercise their revenge on the people they believe are responsible for their loss and sorrow.
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