The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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Explain Mrs. Putnam's thoughts on why there are witches in Salem.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I am not entirely certain that Mrs. Putnam believes in the full throated authenticity of witches in Salem.  I believe that she is looking for something, anything, to explain the predicament in which she lives.  The "twisted" nature of her being would preclude her from fully embracing the idea that there are witches in Salem.  Mrs. Putnam is searching for an explanation as to why her life is the way it is.  Why is it that so many of her children are dead?  Why is it that she is incapable of enjoying the same experiences that others in Salem do?  Why are others, like Rebecca Nurse, so much fortunate than she is?  These are the questions that drive her being.  These are the questions that motivate her.  Her belief in witches are in accordance with the idea that something must explain the condition of her being.  There has to be something that would explain the source of her envy.  As there is nothing else out there, her own "twisted" reality latches on the witches  and witchcraft as the most logical explanation of this condition.  It is here that she ends up embracing something that she probably knows is not valid, but helps to explain and justify her perception of why things are the way they are.

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