What is Thomas Putnam's role and significance in The Crucible?

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Thomas Putnam is one of the first to insist that witchcraft is at the heart of the troubles in Salem, and he not only encourages Reverend Parris to acknowledge the "murdering witch among [them]" who is "bound to keep herself in the dark," but also persuades Parris to "take hold here" and "declare it [himself]." He wants Parris to claim that Parris has discovered the witchcraft himself, and this way the minister can be credited as the town's savior rather than a man others suspect of being oblivious to witchcraft in his own house. Coming from the town minister, such a statement would also legitimize Putnam's own claims about secret witches who have killed his children and, perhaps, lend him additional power as a result. So he tells Parris, "Let you strike out against the Devil, and the village will bless you for it!"

Putnam also stands up to Proctor, siding with Parris, and upholding the minister's authority and credibility. He insists, with...

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