In the play "The Crucible", what was the main motivation in Act I for all the characters? 

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writergal06 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Crucible begins with two sick children, Betty Parris and Ruth Putnam. Neither will "wake" from their seemingly comatose state. As the Act unfolds, and answers are sought, two important ideas are revealed. First, the girls have been discovered dancing in the forest, a formidable sin. Second, the girls may have been participating in witchcraft, a deadly sin. As the girls are questioned, and as more characters are involved, the situation becomes more severe. When the girls are left alone in Betty Parris room, they begin conspiring to hide the worst offence - the witchcraft. When the questions become too hard to answer, a new plan emerges -- blame someone else. Abby blames Tituba, who blames Goody Good and Goody Osbourne. Then the other girls join in, calling names and passing the blame. Throughout the development of the Act, a single motivation dominates -- self-preservation. No one wants to bear the blame. Parris doesn't want to bear the consequences for such sin being in his house. Abigail doesn't want to bear the consequences of conjuring spirits to kill Goody Proctor. The Putnam's don't want to bear the consequences of conjuring the spirits of their departed children. Tituba doesn't want to bear the consequences of teaching the children to conjure. Everyone is looking to save themselves the consequence for their own actions, so everyone is looking for someone else to blame.

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The Crucible

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