What's the irony in the Purtans' pilgrimage to Salem to escape persecution?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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You might have just answered the irony in your own question.  The Puritans sought to escape from religious persecution, to worship God in their own way and find spiritual happiness from an oppressive external force.  Yet, in their zeal and desire for purity, the Puritans of Salem actually end up representing everything that they sought to leave.  The oppressive forces end up becoming the Puritans who seek to find witches, force confessions that are inauthentic, as well as seek to control all aspects of freedom in the name of fighting witches.  How the Puritans behave is completely opposite of what they left and in becoming what they detest, we can see the frailty that surrounds the Puritan community.  In the end, Miller's recreation of Salem reminds us of how dangerous it is to act in a manner that betrays our own heritage and past.

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