Below is an analysis of Tituba, some crucial aspects of her character. These can be turned into points or arguments in essays about her or about the religious and cultural beliefs of folk in Salem.

Tituba is a character in ‘The Crucible’, whose beliefs and customs oppose the Puritanical majority in Salem. She is often the subject of an exam or essay question, despite being relatively minor in the action of the play, due to her ethnicity and status as a slave.

These notes are for anyone studying the play at a higher level, GCSE and above (including AQA, Edexcel, CIE / Cambridge, OCR, WJEC / Eduqas, CCEA exam boards).

For more help with ‘The Crucible’, including themes, example essays, and key quotes, you can take our full ‘The Crucible’ course.

Check out our other articles on ‘The Crucible’, Context and Key Themes + Ideas!

** It’s important to remember that Miller made this play to exemplify how hysteria can cause errors of judgment and lead to death and destruction of honest people, he was himself on trial at the time for being a Communist sympathizer. Therefore, any messages we can interpret from the play should also be analyzed within the context of Miller’s own situation at the time of writing.


  • The reason Tituba supposedly does ‘black magic’ is that she is from Barbados and she has her own religion, customs, and traditions. It could be argued that her customs are not black magic, but instead just represent her own personal rituals, which the Puritans view as wrong and evil. They are scared of her beliefs and don’t trust her because it doesn’t match their own views. Tituba does have a different culture, and she practices Voodoo, which is interpreted by some people as a kind of magic or black magic. Especially in Salem, where people are Puritanically Christian, this type of behavior and belief can be dangerous as it is greatly feared and misunderstood.
  • Tituba never used to think of singing, dancing, and spell-casting as evil. The practices are descended from African roots, so they were normal to her. When she met the Puritans, they were the ones who called her religious rituals evil. Even though Tituba was innocent because of social circumstances she is guilty, as her rituals are misunderstood they are thought of as evil.
  • We never know what happened to Tituba after she confessed her sins. Tituba was set up by Abby. She falsely accuses her of making herself and the girls ‘drink blood’ — Tituba is pressured into agreeing that the Devil is involved, out of fear and panic. This is frightening for the audience and emphasizes our belief that the actions of the townsfolk are wrong and sinister — it reminds us that it doesn’t matter whether the women are witches, the real focus of the play is on the way in which fear and panic can cause a lot of tragedy and misinterpretation. In the play, her mental state deteriorates after she is in prison.
  • Perhaps the reason why Tituba was in the forest, with the girls, is because if Abigail and the girls were caught they could blame Tituba. Abigail is highly intelligent and manipulative, and she may have realised that she could use and manipulate Tituba by turning others against her. But we could also say that it is possible that Tituba encouraged the girls to practise her own religious rituals. The outcome of Tituba and the girls in the forest “dancing” causes a spread of fear and paranoia, for instance, Mrs. Putnam thinks the reason why her babies are dying is that Tituba brought evil spirits to her.
  • Context: In real life, Tituba was owned by Parris. She sailed from Barbados to New England with Parris and was brought as a slave to Salem. She was a pivotal character in the Salem Witch trials as she confessed to witchcraft and accused Sarah Good and Sarah Osbourne. Tituba also confessed that Parris coached her in what to say and how to say when first questioned.



From the very start, Tituba stands out as she is a slave and is the only person of color, and is brought up with non-Puritan Christian beliefs. This is important because the society of Salem is obsessed with conformity (everybody being the same), so it is clear from the beginning that Tituba is going to be a problematic character and maybe a victim. The reason why Tituba confessed to witchcraft is that Hale and Parris pressured her to confess, and Abigail and the girls accuse her. This shows that society is working against her. Parris was already suspicious as he saw Tituba wave her hand over the stove which was full of things.


As the play was set in a highly suspicious and paranoid society, when any trouble arose, Tituba was to blame as she was the outsider who had lower standards of living and less freedom compared to other people. She is different and she has a set of beliefs that are at odds with the strict and absolute customs of Puritanical Christians, such as those in Salem. Therefore, she is easily scapegoated as the one to blame when anything goes wrong. This is a metaphor from Miller’s perspective about how groups of people can reject and attack anything they fear that is different from themselves.


Tituba is used by Miller as a dramatic foil (form technique) — a foil is a minor/secondary character who is set in direct contrast to another character in a story or play — the purpose of a foil is to enhance the main character’s traits and personality. In this case, Tituba is a foil for Abigail — Abigail is the real ‘nemesis’ (form technique) or bad character, but she blames Tituba and is believed because Tituba is different, people don’t suspect Abigail because of her youth and beauty, and the fact that she seems to conform to their society. Even though Tituba is a minor character and a slave, Miller makes an early impression of her to the audience by giving her the first line in the play (structural technique). Therefore, we could say that he intended us to focus on her character throughout and understand her involvement in the situation.

For more help with ‘The Crucible’, including themes, example essays, and key quotes, you can take our full ‘The Crucible’ course.