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Salem Witch Trials Guided Reading Scripts - 5 plays and 5 quizzes
Boredom, over-active imaginations and a certain flair for amateur dramatics - all fatally combined to produce one of the cruellest travesties of justice in U.S. history. 19 hangings of complete innocents, labelled as witches ... by children. Who, or what, was to blame? Sift through some very suspect evidence and draw your own conclusions, from this set of guided reading play scripts, covering the course of those infamous events.
Play 1 First Accusations
Betty Parris (accuser)
Abigail William (accuser - Betty's cousin)
Reverend Samuel Parris (father of Betty)
Sarah Good (accused)
Sarah Osborne (accused)
Tituba Indian (accused)
Betty: That's right, papa! We would never lie to you!
Abigail: We were good girls!
Sarah Good: And I wasn't? Good by name and good by nature, that was me - until you and your friends blackened my reputation.
Rev. Parris: Not so hard, from what I can remember! Begging in the streets!
Betty: And muttering threats whenever she was turned away!
Sarah Good: According to you, a mere child! Whoever heard of taking a 9 year old's word against an adult's?
Sarah Osborne: And a bored 9 year old at that, with nothing better to do than spread trouble.
Tituba: What an imagination! Nearly as vivid as those tales from the Caribbean I told!
Abigail: We certainly were a ‘captive audience'.
Rev. Parris: My poor girls! In the power of those wicked witches! If you could have seen them ..
Sarah Good: Squirming and screaming!
Sarah Osborne: Barking and howling! Oh we saw them all right - along with everyone else in those crowded trial rooms!
Tituba: What a performance! A few centuries on and you'd have got yourselves an Oscar!
Play 2 The First Hanging (June 10th)
Bridget Bishop (First to be hanged)
William Phips (Governor of Massachusetts)
William Stoughton (Deputy Governor and Chief Magistrate)
Mercy Lewis (maid in Putnam household)
Thomas Oliver (Bridget's second husband)
Worker (on repairing Bridget's tavern)
Mercy: Everyone else thought you were guilty!
Thomas: Including her two dead husbands!
Worker: Even before she was tried!
William P: I don't like the sound of this. What do you mean, before she was tried?
Worker: Well come on, gov.! You've only got to look at her!
Mercy: Yes. Just look at those clothes! What does she look like?
William P: But that's no basis for hanging someone! Where was your evidence?
Stoughton: Evidence? Er um ...
Worker: Black magic, my lord!
Stoughton: Ah yes! That was it! I knew we had something on her ..
Play 3 Second and Third Hanging (July 19 and August 19)
Rebecca Nurse (hanged: sister-in-law of John Proctor)
Anne Putnam (ringleader of ‘possessed girls')
John Proctor (hanged: husband of Elizabeth Proctor)
Elizabeth Proctor (saved from hanging because of pregnancy)
George Burroughs (hanged: former Salem Village minister)
Cotton Mather (Puritan minister: gave provocative sermons and pamphlets)
Mather: 5 more witches hanged in July, and another 5 in August! Not bad ... (pauses) though when I think of all those others waiting in jail I can't help wishing they'd speed things up a bit!
John: How can you stand in our midst and talk like this!
Elizabeth: Have you no shame?
Rebecca: Have you no compassion?
Burroughs: Have you no conscience? Fancy using our great calling to such awful ends!
Mather: I didn't see them queuing up in the pews when you were minister!
Burroughs: But I would never have abused my position like you did!
Rebecca: Preaching all that fear and hatred! What were you thinking?
Play 4 Fourth Hanging (September 22nd)
Martha Corey (hanged)
Giles Corey (husband of Martha)
Anne Putnam (accuser)
Mary Walcott (accuser)
Martha Carrier (first Andover person to stand trial)
William Phips (governor)
Phips: What, in the name of the Lord, has been going on here?
Martha Carrier: Or perhaps I could re-phrase that question to "What in the name of the Devil has been going on here?
Martha Corey: For some of us, that question is not only overdue, but too late!
Giles Corey: My poor wife. Hanged along with 7 others. It was to be the last set of hangings ..
Martha Corey: But that was no consolation to me and those other 7 innocents.
Anne Putnam: Our time was indeed nearly up.
Mary Walcott: No more histrionics on demand!
Martha Carrier: No more specter sightings! What were you girls going to find to occupy your time in the future!
Play 5 History's Verdict - Who was to blame?
Robert Calef (Writer of "More Wonders of the Invisible World" - an account of the trials, published 1700)
Reverend Samuel Parris
Calef: Indeed. You could be forgiven for placing all the blame at their door. But let's not forget the kind of lives these girls were living.
Betty: Exactly. If we'd been allowed just a tiny bit of fun, we'd never have resorted to such distractions!
Stoughton: Distractions? You call these hangings distractions? Just what kind of upbringing did you have?
Betty: A very tough one, as it happens. We were allowed no games and the Bible was the only book we could read. The rest of our time was filled with carrying out boring old household chores. What kind of a life was that for a child?
Rev. Parris: Silence, child! Was that strict upbringing for nothing? At least you had food in your belly and a roof over your head.
Tituba: But children need to be children, sir!
Rev. Parris: And you, a mere slave! Silence to you, too!