In "The Crucible," Thomas Putnam is bitter because he does not get enough respect from the people of Salem, and because he was barred from inheriting the majority of both his father and his father-in-law's estates. As a result of his bitterness, Putnam makes accusations of witchcraft against many members of his half-brother's family, as well as many other citizens of the town.
Putnam's wife, Ann, is also depicted as very bitter. However, her bitterness is explained by the fact that she had many children who did not survive infancy. Although the death of these infants may have affected Mr. Putnam as well, it is never identified as the reason for his bitterness. This literary juxtaposition underlines how males traditionally define their self-worth through wealth and respect, whereas females define it through their family.
The bitterness of the Putnams and its effect on the witch trials illustrates how personal feelings can be translated into political action.
"The Crucible" was written by Arthur Miller, and is an adaptation of the Salem witch trials that took place in Massachusetts in 1692 to 1693. The play was written in the 1950s as an allegory about the McCarthy trials, which attempted to identify and blacklist communists.