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Word Count: 446
THE CRUCIBLE During the seventeenth century and well into the eighteenth century belief in the reality of witches was widespread both in America and in Europe Thousands of people were put to death during the period and a few people questioned the actual existence of witches but the only problem was how to identify one The Puritans accepted most readily the idea of witches existing in society Part of this is the result in the complete acceptance of the Bible as totally accurate and would allow no debate about this matter Moses pronounced in Exodus 2218 thou shalt not suffer a witch to live this became a phrase known to almost everyone in the Puritan community When Elizabeth and John Proctor hinted that it is not proven that witches exist the Reverend Hale was shocked and cried out You surely do not fly against the Gospel the Gospel- The Reverend himself was ready to point his finger at anyone in Salem and pronounce himher a witch if the word of God was not followed to any extremity About forty-five years after the Salem witchcraft trials the Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards used the following imagery to characterize the depraved state of mankind The God that holds you over the pit of Hell much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire abhors you and is dreadfully provoked his wrath towards you burns like fire he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire It was preaching like this which prompted John Proctor to stay away from church and explain his absence as follows I have trouble enough without I come five mile to hear him preach only hellfire and bloody damnation Others stay away from church these days because you Reverend Parris hardly ever mention God anymore As I have mentioned in the preceding section the concept of
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