Character Profile - Tituba


Opening Impressions:

She is described as a “negro slave” which undermines her and makes her the lowest ranking person in society. Parris has full control of her because he brought her over here – this is seen later on in Act One where he threatens to kill her. However, she came to see Betty so it is clear that she loves her, which, when contrasted with her treatment by the others, evokes sympathy for her. She is “very frightened…trouble in this house eventually lands on her back” which foreshadows that Tituba is going to be blamed. Her first stage direction “already taking a step backward” this clearly shows us that she has no power in society even over a young girl. As soon as she enters the room she is kicked out by Parris “Out of here!” This reveals the demeaning way in which Parris treats Tituba but the stage directions shows us that she already expects it.


Quotations & Analysis:






“No, no, sir, I don’t truck with no Devil!”

She adamantly denies any association with the Devil and the repetition of “No” clearly signifies this. Moreover the use of the word “truck” signifies that she is a foreigner and this makes her an easy target to pick on. However the use of the exclamation mark reveals the vehement denial of any association between her and the Devil.



“Mister Reverend, I never –”

She has to respect others because of her low social status and the fact that she got interrupted further accentuates her inferior social status.



[terrified, falls to her knees] “No, no, don’t hang Tituba! I tell him I don’t desire to work for him, sir” pg 46

By falling down on her knees, she shows how she is submissive to the others in the room. As she is terrified that she is going to be hanged she makes up lies and claims to be working with the devil in order to escape from persecution.


“It was black dark, and I – ”

The audience is meant to realize that Tituba was simply making up that she had seen others working for the devil and this is the reason why she is unable to initially name people because in reality there are no other people.


[suddenly bursting out] “Oh, how many times he bid me to kill you, Mr Parris!”

Everyone in the room is listening to her and she has gained power to a certain extent and this clearly emphasizes that she is “suddenly bursting out” She is using this as an opportunity to express her derogatory comments towards Mr Parris because if she had done it anytime before, she would have been killed. Miller is thus using Tituba to reveal how people take advantage of situations to attack an enemy.



Role in the Play:

She is the most inferior person in the society – she is the easiest to pick on and blame – Miller uses her to show how the commotion initially began and this shows that there was in fact no basis for any of the accusations to be made in the first place. Tituba is responsible for creating the panic in society but the fact that the audience knows that she was forced into lying because of society’s pressure reflects how Miller believes in modern times, our fear of communism has no basis because it is the few powerful people in society that is creating the panic.

Tituba is the first person in the play to take advantage of the situation she finds herself in: she abuses the trust that the others in the room suddenly place on her because of her fake confession in order to express her anger about Parris which would otherwise not have been permitted, the Devil acts as a barrier protecting her. Similarly, Miller believes that during the Communist witch hunt, people were using communism as a shield to reveal their anger towards others without any restraint.