Manipulation and Blame in Salem: Tituba's Survival Struggle

Categories: America

Abigail's plan seems to have worked better than she originally expected it to. Tituba feels she needs to confess since Putnam and Parris threating to kill her to try to persuade her to confess. This is show when Parris states " You will confess yourself or I will take you out and whip you to your death,Tituba! " This clearly frightens Tituba into confessing. An illustration of this is when Tituba's stage directions say "terrified and falls to her knees" The reason she does this is because she is very frightened and at the mercy of Reverend Hale and Parris, she wishes to keep her life.

Miller at this point uses the stage directions to reinforce Tituba's subservient position in society. Tituba is manipulated into saying what Reverend Hale wants to hear. Hale questions Tituba if she is a "good Christian woman" This question obliges Tituba to answer positively. It was a no win situation for Tituba, she did not have a choice in her answer since if she answered negatively then due to the nature of a Puritan society, the town would have strongly believed that Tituba was a witch.

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Resulting in Tituba been hanged.

Hale starts asking Tituba a lot of questions in quick succession and Tituba answers them quickly thus creating stichomythia. This sets a quick pace, the questioning spirals out of control and the audience does not take Tituba's answers seriously since they are evidently forced. The most important question that is asked by Reverend Hale is "When the devil comes to you, does he ever come with another person? " This question is the one that carries on the chain of blaming other people.

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It is an opportunity for Tituba to accuse someone else, which will dilute the blame that is concentrated upon her.

Suspense is created for the audience whether she will accuse another woman in order to save herself. When Tituba blames another women there is a sense of relief on stage. Tituba realises that the only way out is to transfer the blame to someone else. Miller wants to show the audience the similarity of the process of accusations in Salem and his contemporary America. The rest of the remaining characters seem to take advantage of the situation in order to settle their own inner disputes. Putnam for instance puts Sarah Good into Tituba's thoughts.

This is shown when Mrs Putnam asks "my babies blood? " this is referring to Goody Good. Mrs Putnam believes that Goody Good murdered all seven of her newly born children. When Mr Putnam states "this women must be hanged, she must be taken and hanged! " This strikes fear into Tituba and urges her to blame the person who would be the most believable witch. Therefore it is Tituba's fear of death that makes her blame another women. She is doing what Abigail did, transferring the blame to someone else.

Tituba states that "It was black dark and I-" Miller uses this metaphor to imply that the truth is being obscured by darkness of people's hearts (those that stand and watch innocent people being victimised). Tituba mentions Goody Good and Goody Osbourn. As soon as she says this, Mrs Putnam shouts, "I knew it! " Mrs Putnam is now blaming another for her own misfortunes. This reveals that Mrs Putnam jumps to simple conclusions, it also reveals that she is very stubborn and will not change what or how she thinks easily. Miller wants to show his audience not to come to a conclusion about something or someone before you know it is true.

Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Manipulation and Blame in Salem: Tituba's Survival Struggle. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

Manipulation and Blame in Salem: Tituba's Survival Struggle essay
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