In a society where the main virtues of the townspeople include honesty, religious dedication, a structurally sound family life, and respect for others, it seems nothing can go wrong. Thus, when something or someone goes awry, the source of the fault must not be searched for in the town, rather to one or two outlying people or ideas. Especially in a small, Puritan town in the sixteen hundreds, anything out of the ordinary is blamed on the same thing. In the case of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, Salem was a small town filled with do-gooder church folk. Therefore when a disruption to the magnitude of the accusations Abigail Williams claims against the majority of the town, bad parenting or even the truth cannot be looked to for fear it taints the towns spotless reputation. Instead, the town finds a scapegoat, or "other" on which all the problems of the town are blamed. In Salem, it was witchcraft that received the blunt of the blame. However, nowadays, the same thing happens in America, and it is only the scapegoat that changes, nothing else about it. Although most Americans would like to think that the use of an other safeguards the integrity of America, it is slowly destroying its morals and virtues. .
In The Crucible, the scapegoat is witchcraft, and the victim can be anyone the accuser wants to be, which is what makes it so scary. Seventeenth century Salem is a small Christian town. "No one can really know what their lives were like. They had no novelists- and would not have permitted anyone to read a novel if one were handy. Their creed forbade anything resembling a theater or "vain enjoyment." They did not celebrate Christmas, and a holiday from work meant only that they must concentrate even more upon prayer"(Miller, 4). Their only apparent flaw was their knack for minding other people's business. However it may be just this flaw that leads to witchery as the scapegoat in Salem.