The Crucible Act 1 and 2 Notes

The Crucible pg. 3-28 Notes
Setting – Salem, Massachusetts 1692
Government in Salem – Theocracy (God and religious officials)
Theocracy and dependence on religion may play a role in the accusations of witchcraft later on
Residents of Salem rely on hard work and religion
Disagreements and arguments in the community
Unknown world around the settlement (American forest), possible danger may lead to more
Reverend Parris – religious figure w. large presence in community, strict/stern, values his
command and power over congregation (paranoid of losing power)
Reverend John Hale of Beverly – “witchcraft expert” Rev. Parris wants to consult
Betty Parris –10 yr. old daughter of Rev. Parris, comatose sick state (unconscious), rumored to
be a victim of witchcraft, accused of “flying”
Abigail Williams – niece of Rev. Parris, questioned by uncle, reputation may be in question
Tituba – slave of Rev. Parris, possibly will be accused of witchcraft because of strange religion
and antics
Rev. Parris is angry because he caught Abigail, Betty, Tituba, and others dancing in woods at
night; he is scared of losing his position due to the witchcraft accusations
Women are shown to have little to no power in Salem (men are commanding and strict)
Elizabeth Proctor – former employer of Abigail, fired Abigail, not present at church meetings
Rumors that Elizabeth does not like Abigail, describing Abigail as a “soiled woman”, may have
tarnished Abigail’s reputation (not hired by anyone else recently)
Thomas Putnam – holds grudge against others in Salem (may be manipulative), brother-in-law
not accepted by ministry
Mrs. Putnam – wife of Thomas Putnam, seven children died right after birth
Mrs. Putnam wanted Tituba to contact spirits of her dead children because she thinks a witch
murdered them
Ruth – daughter of Thomas and Mrs. Putnam, sick just like Betty
Mercy Lewis – servant for the Putnams
Mary Warren – servant for the Proctors, worried about being accused of witchcraft
Abigail drank blood to kill Elizabeth Proctor, wants a relationship with John Proctor
Abigail was fired because of affair with John Proctor
John Proctor – farmer, had affair with Abigail, strict, believes that Salem is filled with lies,
John and Abigail’s affair along with Abigail’s desire to be with John may lead to future problems
as well as accusations of witchcraft
Betty cannot stand the religious psalm, screams and mutters, people believe she is affected by
Rebecca Nurse – wife of Francis Nurse, believes that Betty is suffering from regular sickness and
Francis Nurse – husband of Rebecca Nurse, highly respected, successful, grudge with Thomas
Putnam related to land and exemplified by Putnam’s brother-in-law’s rejection
Giles Corey – 83 yr. old farmer, described as strong despite age
Proctor and Rebecca worried about witchcraft accusations in Salem
Rev. Parris may be using witchcraft accusations to his own advantage
Putnam wants Parris to consult Hale for possible witchcraft
Proctor and Putnam have dispute; Proctor does not always go to church, but Putnam believes that
his wealth means he should have more power
Parris and Giles have dispute; Parris wants payment for firewood and salary, Giles disagrees and
claims that Parris is abusing his power
Quote and Analysis
“I have trouble enough without I come five mile to hear him preach only hellfire and bloody
damnation…there are many others who stay away from church these days because you hardly
ever mention God anymore.” –John Proctor (Miller 27)
In this quote, John Proctor reveals his disliking towards how Reverend Parris preaches to his
congregation. It can be inferred that Parris tends to focus on the negative aspects when preaching
instead of the good, and does so to rile up his audience and hold their attention. Preaching about
“hellfire and bloody damnation” may also allow Parris to hold greater power over his
congregation and retain his high position in the community. This quote also reveals that Proctor,
amongst other townsfolk, have begun to realize that Parris only cares for his own power and is
not focused on the well-being of others, leading to less church attendees. As a result, Parris is
paranoid of losing his power, and acts in such a manner. Readers may also be able to insinuate
that the way Parris preaches about negative aspects of religion may lead to the townsfolk turning
against each other during the witch trials.
The Crucible pg. 29-60 Notes
Reverend Hale – witchcraft expert, intellectual nature, proud of his knowledge
Hale brings many heavy books, shows how he is an expert at understanding witchcraft
Proctor attempts to remain neutral in the argument of whether or not witchcraft is real
Rebecca leaves, believes everyone is taking the situation too seriously
Giles – bad reputation, disliked by many (blamed for thefts, fires)
Martha – wife of Giles, may be wrongfully convicted of witchcraft because of Giles’ accusations
Giles claims wife is reading strange books, he cannot pray when she is in the house
Giles is inadequate when it comes to prayers, only recently learned – accusations are not accurate
Parris reports that he saw a kettle in the woods, Abigail claims it contained soup
Parris believes he saw something moving in the kettle, Abigail claims a frog leaped in
Abigail blames Tituba to divert suspicion away from herself, makes herself feel less guilty
Abigail reports that Tituba forced her to drink chicken blood
Tituba retorts that Abigail begged her to conjure a charm, claims that others are responsible
Devil and white men refers to Tituba’s disdain of the situation
Tituba and Abigail both pass blame on to others, receives absolution
Hale severely questions Tituba, forcing her to commit herself to God again
Tituba blames Sarah Good and Goody Osburn, Mrs. Putnam agrees (Osburn was midwife for
three of her dead children)
Abigail blames Betty for communing with the devil, ranting names of random citizens
Abigail and Betty break under authority, Abigail manipulates the situation to gain advantage
People named by Abigail and Betty are accused of being witches
Elizabeth is afraid that Abigail will accuse her of witchcraft to become Proctor’s new wife
Mary Warren claims that she helped Elizabeth by denying accusations against her
Mary gives Elizabeth a doll, may be assisting Abigail against Elizabeth
Quote and Analysis
“He is different now – drawn a little, and there is a quality of deference, even of guilt, about his
manner now.” [Stage Directions] (Miller, 59)
This quote reveals that Hale is now starting to feel guilty about the possible deaths and
accusations against so many people. The contrast between his composure before as seemingly
intellectual has reverted to a drawn in, more sentimental manner. Hale may have realized that the
situation is going too far, as Rebecca and Elizabeth have both become possible targets for
accusations of witchcraft. Hale sees himself as the person responsible for setting the accusations
in motion, hence believing that he is also the one who is responsible for the lives of the 39
accused townsfolk. He himself is now doubting the validity of the accusations themselves, as can
be noted from how he is acting introverted.
The Crucible pg. 61-76 Notes
Reverend Hale visits and reports that both Rebecca Nurse and Elizabeth Proctor have been
mentioned in the court in association with witchcraft
Hale notes Proctor’s son is not baptized, Proctors have not been to church recently
Proctor disagrees with Parris’s style of preaching
Hale asks Proctor to state the Ten Commandments
Proctor remembers all commandments except the one related to adultery
This denotes Proctor’s affair with Abigail, Proctor is still affected
Wives of Giles Corey and Francis Nurse arrested for witchcraft
Rebecca – accused of murdering Mrs. Putnam’s children
Martha – accused of cursing a man (death of pigs)
Ezekiel Cheever – court clerk of Salem, quick to accuse Elizabeth
Herrick – town marshal of Salem, dutiful
Cheever and Herrick come to arrest Elizabeth for witchcraft
Abigail found stabbed with needle, needle found in Mary’s doll (given to Elizabeth)
Mary’s doll used as evidence against Elizabeth, needle planted by Mary
Heavily insinuated that Mary worked with Abigail to plant the needle and accuse Elizabeth
Abigail wants Elizabeth dead so she can become Proctor’s new wife, stabbed herself
Mary does not like how the Proctors treat her
Elizabeth is chained and lead away despite Proctor’s protests
Proctor realizes Mary and Abigail’s plan and shouts at Mary
Mary declines to help in fear for her own reputation, maintains friendship with Abigail
Quote and Analysis
“Make your peace with it! Now Hell and Heaven grapple on our backs, and all our old pretense
is ripped away – make your peace! Peace. It is a providence, and no great change; we are only
what we always were, but naked now. Aye, naked! And the wind, God’s icy wind, will blow!”
–John Proctor (Miller 76)
After Elizabeth’s arrest, John Proctor realizes that Mary and Abigail plotted together to
plant the needle in the doll and falsely accuse Elizabeth of practicing witchcraft. In this quote,
Proctor urges Mary to drop her false pretense and reveal publicly that the witchcraft accusations
are simply a fabrication devised by Abigail. By referencing “peace”, Proctor wants Mary to face
the facts and confess truthfully what she had done, but Proctor may also be referring to himself
and how he must take responsibility for his sin of committing adultery with Abigail. Proctor
must accept the fallout of his own wrongdoings and he is cognizant of his own opinion that if he
“makes peace” with God by accepting his consequences, then God will be more in favor of him.
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