MRS. PUTNAM, as though for further details: They say you've sent for Reverend Hale of Beverly?
PARRIS, with dwindling conviction now: A precaution only. He has much experience in all demonic arts, and I—
MRS. PUTNAM: He has indeed; and found a witch in Beverly last year, and let you remember that.
PARRIS: Now, Goody Ann, they only thought that were a witch, and I am certain there be no element of witchcraft here.
PUTNAM: No witchcraft! Now look you, Mr. Parris—
PARRIS: Thomas, Thomas, I pray you, leap not to witchcraft. I know that you—least of all you, Thomas—would ever wish so disastrous a charge laid upon me. We cannot leap to witchcraft. They will how me out of Salem for such corruption in my house.
MRS. PUTNAM: Reverend Parris, I have laid seven babies unbaptized in the
earth. Believe me, sir, you never saw more hearty babies born. And yet,
each would wither in my arms the very night of their birth. I have
spoke nothin', but my heart has clamored intimations. And now, this
year, my Ruth, my only—I see her turning strange. A secret child she has
become this year, and shrivels like a sucking mouth were pullin’ on her
life too. And so I thought to send her to your Tituba—
PARRIS: To Tituba! What may Tituba—?
MRS. PUTNAM: Tituba knows how to speak to the dead, Mr. Parris.
PARRIS: Goody Ann, it is a formidable sin to conjure up the dead!
MRS. PUTNAM: I take it on my soul, but who else may surely tell us what person murdered my babies?
PARRIS, horrified: Woman!
MRS. PUTNAM: They were murdered, Mr. Parris! And mark this proof! Last
night my Ruth were ever so close to their little spirits; I know it,
sir. For how else is she struck dumb now except some power of darkness
would stop her mouth? It is a marvelous sign, Mr. Parris! (I.89-94; 103-109)
Parris is concerned with his reputation; the Putnams are concerned about getting justice for their dead babies. But even the Putnams’s “justice” is basically just vengeance. Although these characters claim to be deeply religious, their actions show that they only believe in justice on earth and not, as their Christian values would have it, in another realm. They want immediate satisfaction.