Contrasting Analysis on Ann Putnam and Rebecca Nurse
Both Ann Putnam and Rebecca Nurse could be seen as one of the respectable women in the village of Salem. Ann??™s husband, Thomas, was the wealthiest man in the village. Francis Nurse, Rebecca??™s husband, had a good reputation as a mediator for past disputes and people thought highly of them. Even if their background seems similar, it was just on the surface. In the play, their actions and dialogue serve illustrate the stark contrast between the two of them.
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The village of Salem was ruled by theocracy, which means that there??™s heavy religious context imposed in the community. In a Puritan society, it is no surprise that Ann Putnam and Rebecca Nurse are Christians. It must be emphasized that declaring oneself a Christian is only on a superficial level, but one??™s voice and actions will prove if they are really true believers on the inside.
Ann Putnam is only a Christian on the superficial sense to blend in with the rest of Puritan Salem, but she doesn??™t really live out the teachings of her Christian faith. Ann is a very superstitious person and shows a morbid fascination in the supernatural. Ann also had the frequent urge to link every seemingly insignificant occurrences to the supernatural without justifications. She believes that all her past and present misfortunes were the devil??™s work.
???They(Her 7 babies) were murdered??¦ how else is she struck dumb now except some power of darkness would stop her mouth???
???I??™d not call it sick, the devil??™s touch is heavier than the sick.???
???She cannot bear to hear the lord??™s name??¦ mark it for a sign!???
The slow manifestation of her fascination towards the supernatural led her to seek out answers through witchcraft and black magic. In Act 1, she confessed to seeking Tituaba??™s help in conjuring up the spirit of her several dead babies. Her desire to seek out answers through paranormal channel proves that her status as a Christian was only a facade to blend in with society.
On the other hand, Rebecca Nurse is a truly devoted Christian with keen and unmoving faith. Unlike Ann, Rebecca acts according to the teachings of Christianity and even reaches out to others with her soothing presence. When she enters the room in Act 1, she immediately spreads her calmness over to Betty, her natural care and gentleness for others is felt throughout the whole room and the tension before quietly dies down.
Rebecca doesn??™t harbor any superstitious beliefs like Ann, nor does she attempt to connect to the supernatural in any way, except to communicate with God. She??™s also fully aware of the perverse effects of the demonic arts, and knows that witchcraft and magic are areas that should be avoided.
???There??™s prodigious danger in seeking loose spirits.???
Rebecca Nurse tends to be very rational and sensible in her way of thinking and reasoning, because of her non-existent superstitious beliefs. She doesn??™t immediately point her finger at the devil for all the hysteria and strangeness going on in Salem. For instance, she believes that Ruth and Betty were just going through their ???silly seasons??™ and it was just their mischievous selves. When Ann Putnam said that her Ruth cannot eat and is bewildered, Rebecca rebukes her by saying that she??™s not hungered yet. She very level-headed and doesn??™t always try to find someone or something to blame. Her sense of self-reflection and responsibility could be seen when she said ???let us blame ourselves??¦??™ rather than supernatural factors. She is nothing like Ann Putnam, who believes that every misfortune is inflicted upon her by external forces and fails to reflect personally. Instead, Rebecca advices everyone to reflect upon themselves and try to search for our own imperfections rather than highlighting the flaws of others.
We can see that both Ann and Rebecca??™s belief system serve as a driving force in shaping their character and personality, it also significantly affects their use of language and the contents of their speech.
Ann Putnam, having experienced several miscarriages in the past, is a very weary and tortured soul. Hence when there is a rumor of witchcraft going around in Salem, she is the first to visit the allegedly affected household, Parris and Betty. She exaggerates the illness of Ruth and Betty.
???How high did she fly How high???
???The psalm! She cannot bear to hear the Lord??™s name!!???
From these examples, we could see the dramatic flair that Ann uses in her speech, she seeks to evoke reactions from other characters and to add more oil to the burning rumor of witchcraft and the devil. She cries ???witch??™ or ???the devil??™s mark??? at every little twist of events, hoping to bring the town of Salem into frenzy. Ann desires the growing hysteria because finally she isn??™t the only one with the misfortunes, she feeds on the commotion and panic as a kind taking revenge on the people of Salem who didn??™t suffer like she did.
Rebecca Nurse didn??™t undergo scarring experiences like Ann did, she was deeply religious and that contributed to her sense of calmness and peace when facing dilemmas. She has a calming presence over other characters when she entered and tries to mediate upon the heated quarrel between Parris and Proctor. Rebecca attempts to maintain the peace and tries to prevent the matter from escalating further more. For example she disapproves the coming of Hale to resolve matters because it??™ll only be a confirmation of the existence of witches in Salem, which would only lead the town into further panic and unrest. Rebecca refuses to join in the blind hysteria and often uses cool reason and logic to contradict Ann??™s superstitions.
Ann Putnam and Rebecca Nurse are two polar characters in the play. One serves to intensify the drama and one suppresses the tension. It is evident in Ann??™s actions and dialogue that she revels in the uproar, she has ulterior motives. But Rebecca was just an innocent character being forced into the whirlwind of events, she does what is true and good and doesn??™t come to hasty conclusions. We could see that Rebecca is strong, up-right and respectable whereas Ann is somewhat sinister and rotten to the core.Louise Pau L6A (30)