Revenge in The Crucible Video

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  • 0:03 Vengeance
  • 0:28 Mr. Putnam's Revenge
  • 0:57 Mrs. Putnam's Revenge
  • 1:40 Abigail's Revenge
  • 2:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller, some of the characters use the fear of evil and witchcraft that pervades the town of Salem to seek revenge on those whom they have perceived as their adversaries.


If you had a chance to implicate your worst enemy in a capital crime, would you? In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the Salem witch trials provides the perfect opportunity for some of the less respectable characters to seek revenge against their imagined enemies. Revenge is paying back someone that has wronged you by inflicting some type of pain on them. Let's look at revenge in this play.

Mr. Putnam's Revenge

Thomas Putnam is a greedy, self-absorbed businessman who is known for vengeance. His brother-in-law was not chosen for minister. Putnam 'felt that his own name and the honor of his family had been smirched by the village, and he meant to right matters however he could.'

In retaliation, Mr. Putnam has the man that did get the position imprisoned for debts he didn't owe. Mr. Putnam uses the witch trials as an opportunity to falsely accuse people so that he can buy their land.

Mrs. Putnam's Revenge

Thomas Putnam's wife, Ann Putnam, is jealous because Rebecca Nurse has many offspring, but Mrs. Putnam has lost most of her children and the only one that lived is ill. When Rebecca Nurse tells her that Ruth's illness may not be a sign of evil but part of growing up, Mrs. Putnam expresses her frustration to Rebecca: 'You think it God's work you should never lose a child, nor grand-child either, and I bury all but one? There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires!'

Despite Rebecca Nurse's prominent position in the community and ninety-one character witnesses, Rebecca is arrested and sentenced to be hanged when Mrs. Putnam accuses her of killing her children through sorcery.

Abigail's Revenge

Abigail Williams has had an affair with Elizabeth Proctor's husband, John. As a result, Abigail is fired from her job, her reputation suffers, and she loses her lover. While Abigail is the one at fault, she blames her unhappiness on Elizabeth and imagines that if she were out of the way, John would be hers.

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