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Salem is presented as a small town where religion is central to the identity of the community. Reverends own a special place of respect and authority in the community, as evidenced by Parris' proclamations about his position in the town in the first act.
A town of strict, religiously-based moral guidelines, Salem is a place where superstition and religion are both included in the law. Witchcraft is seen as a religious issue and therefore a moral one. It is outlawed and punishable by death.
Despite the strictures and the severity of the moral code, Salem residents are clearly tempted to break the rules. We see this in the example of the girls dancing in the woods as well as the example of the affair between Abigail and Proctor.
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