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As Reverend Hale says to Danforth, “Excellency, there are orphans wandering from house to house; abandoned cattle bellow on the highroads, the stink of rotting crops hangs everywhere, and no man knows when the harlots’ cry will end his life - and you wonder yet if rebellion’s spoke? These people are the only ones who refuse to throw out false accusations or lie about involvement in witchcraft, so they find themselves condemned (this is the fate of Rebecca Nurse).This means that much of the population that remains is comprised of the power-hungry, the selfish, and the cowardly.
In this environment, whoever yells the loudest seems to get the most credibility.
When the petition testifying to the good character of the accused women is presented, the reaction from Danforth, Hathorne, and Parris is to arrest the people who signed it rather than considering that this might indicate that the women are innocent.
Abigail and a few of the girls fled to Barbados, leaving the town in destruction (Holt,879).
Mc Carthy eventually ruined his reputation by taking his accusations to far...
"She sat to dinner in Reverend Parris's house tonight, and without word nor warnin' she falls to the floor.
Like a struck beast, he says, and screamed a scream that a bull would weep to hear.
Essay text: Abigail and Mc Carthy both fed on others worries.
They both created a situation where others were faced with accusing others to save themselves from punishment.
The importance placed on reputation helps perpetuate hysteria because it leads to inaction, inflexibility, and, in many cases, active sabotage of the reputations of others for selfish purposes.
The overall message is that when a person's actions are driven by desires to preserve favorable public opinion rather than do the morally right thing, there can be extremely dire consequences.