At the beginning of the play, we are told that Thomas Putnam is angry that his brother-in-law was not chosen as the minister of Salem. Since Puritan society revolved around religion, the minister of a community held great power. No doubt Putnam felt if a member of his family was chosen to be minister of Salem, he would benefit by association. When some members of the community did not choose his brother-in-law, Putnam saw this as a personal affront. To Putnam, this was an insult directed at him personally.