Why was Betty in The Crucible saying that she saw certain people with the Devil and what motivated her to name specific indiciduals?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Crucible by Arthur Miller is the story of a particular time and place in American history--a time and place where sin was not tolerated and the punishment for sin was harsh.  Betty calls out names, as Reverand Hale and the others prompt her, in an obvious (to us) attempt to get herself out of trouble.  Nothing more and nothing less.  We know the girls were doing what they shouldn't have been doing in the forest, and Betty was particularly frightened because her father was particularly unforgiving and intolerant of sin.  The names she calls out, if you check your text, are names of people already suggested by others in the room.  In fact, as you continue to read, watch this become a pattern among many of the people in Salem, as they consistently attempt to blame others for both ridiculously false things and as well as true things.  This town and the Court have little or no discernment about which accusations are true and which are not, and nearly 30 people died because of it.