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The Trials of Rebecca Nurse

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Esther Lee

on 6 November 2013

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Transcript of The Trials of Rebecca Nurse

The Trial of Rebecca Nurse
During the real witch trials...
All of Rebecca Nurses’ accusers, including Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, Jr., Ann Putnam, Sr., Edward Putnam, Thomas Putnam, Henry Kenney, Mary Walcott, and Elizabeth Hubbard were either Putnam family members or friends of the family. In addition, Rebecca Nurse often criticized the afflicted girls for dabbling in fortune-telling prior to the witch trials, according to the book “An Account of the Life, Character, & c. of Reverend Samuel Parris”:
During the real witch trials...
On July 3, this pious, God fearing woman was excommunicated from her church in Salem Town, without a single dissenting vote, because of her conviction of witchcraft. Nurse was sentenced to death on June 30. She was executed on July 19. Public outrage at her conviction and execution have been credited with generating the first vocal opposition to the trials. On the gallows Nurse was "a model of Christian behavior," which must have been a sharp contrast to Sarah Good, another convicted witch with whom Nurse was executed, who used the gallows as a platform from which to call down curses on those who would heckle her in her final hour.
During the real witch trials...
That her reputation was virtually unblemished was evidenced by the fact that several of the most active accusers were more hesitant in their accusations of Nurse, and many who had kept silent during the proceedings against others, came forward and spoke out on behalf of Nurse, despite the dangers of doing so. Thirty-nine of the most prominent members of the community signed a petition on Nurse's behalf, and several others wrote individual petitions vouching for her innocence. One of the signers of the petition, Jonathan Putnam, had originally sworn out the complaint against Nurse, but apparently had later changed his mind on the matter of her guilt.
During the real witch trials...
Many historians believe that the Putnam family was behind the accusations against Nurse. Nurse and her husband, Francis, had a long-standing dispute with their neighbors, the Putnam family, in Salem village about the boundary of their adjoining land, and it is believed that the Putnams spurred accusations against Rebecca Nurse as retaliation.
In The Crucible...
"Francis, with a mocking, half-hearted laugh: For muder, she's charged! Mockingly quoting the warrant: 'For the marvelous and supernatural murder of Goody Putnam's babies.' What am I to do, Mr. Hale?"
Explaining the quote...
p. 71, Act II
Francis is speaking to Proctor and Hale while Giles is by his side.
As said in the document, Rebecca was accused by those who were related to the Putnams or friends of them. In Miller's play, Rebecca is charged by Ann Putnam directly.
In The Crucible...
"Another suggestion to explain the systematic campaign against Rebecca, and inferentially against Francis, is the land war he fought with his neighbors, one of whom was a Putnam. This squabble grew to the proportions of a battle in the woods between artisans of both sides, and it is said to have lasted for two days."
In The Crucible...
“Proctor, handing Danforth a paper: Will you read this first, sir? It’s a sort of testament. The people signing it declare their good opinion of Rebecca, and my wife, and Martha Corey… If you notice, sir –they’ve known the women many years and never saw no sign they had dealings with the Devil.”
Explaining the quote...
• (p.93, Act III). [Proctor is speaking to Danforth].
• Proctor along with Giles Cory and Francis Nurse are in the courthouse trying to prove their wives’ innocence.
• As said above, the townspeople really did write out a petition vouching for the innocence of Rebecca Nurse.

In The Crucible...
"Parris: 'Judge Hawthorne- it were another sort that hanged till now. Rebecca Nurse is no Bridget that lived three year with Bishop before she married him. John Proctor is not Isaac Ward that drank his family to ruin.' To Danforth: 'I would to Got it were not so, Excellency, but these people have great weight yet in the town. Let Rebecca stand upon the gibbet and send up some righteous prayer, and I fear she'll wake a vengeance on you.'"
Explaining the quote...
p. 127, Act IV
Parris is speaking out to Hawthorne and Danforth of how hanging Proctor, Nurse and Corey can lead to some dissatisfaction in Salem.
In the document, it is said that after Rebecca's hanging, a rebellion broke out. In Miller's play, Parris foreshadows a rebellion against the court.
Explaining the quote...
p. 26, Act I
It is a narration told to inform the readers of where Rebecca and her family stands
Both the play and documents tell of a dispute over land, which eventually leads to the accusation of Rebecca.
Websites used:

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/SAL_BNUR.HTM
http://historyofmassachusetts.org/the-trial-of-rebecca-nurse/
http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/texts/tei/BoySalCombined?div_id=n94&term=nurreb&name=
Full transcript