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The Crucible

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Brad Wheeler

on 20 November 2013

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Transcript of The Crucible

The Crucible
Plot Summaries
Explanation of Themes
Letters To and From Characters
The Poppet
The Witch Trials
The Forest
Boiling Cauldron
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
The poppet is a symbol of the change between good to evil. Typically, a poppet shows a sign of innocence and childhood that is in Salem, but then turns evil as the Witch Trials begin.
Arthur Miller uses this symbol as a translation to the innocence of those brought before McCarthy and his panel of Senators that accused many of America's finest entertainers that had their careers ruined due to this.
These Witch Trials represent hatred between the citizens of Salem; the intolerance of those people accusing their fellow neighbors, and the extremism of this tragic event.
Arthur Miller had a hidden message within the text of this play and that was to express his thoughts, feelings, and opinions about McCarthyism. One of them being the way many citizens were expressed intolerance towards.
The forest represents the evil realm of the devil that lead Salem to its town destruction and harsh reality. The people of Salem did not go into the forest unless it was absolutely necessary.
According to Arthur Miller, the Senators that accused many of America's entertainers ended up being the forest, that no person wanted to go to because of fear. Like the forest that was forbidden out of fear.
Greed and Power
John Proctor and Thomas Putnam, argue about the evidence of witch craft in the first act.
This eventually leads to the witch trials in which Thomas Putnam profited and John Proctor was hanged.
John Procter and Abigail Williams had an affair , once Abigail starts the scapegoating she gets the power to say who is bewitching her.
Getting greedy, Abigail figures that she can blame Elizabeth for bewitching her; and in an attempt to get John all for herself she gets Elizabeth arrested for the crime of witchcraft.
Good v. Evil
Abigail had an affair with John Proctor and this lead to Elizabeth firing Abigail.
Regardless of the separation between her and John, she is still wants him all to herself.
Elizabeth is the good force fighting against the evil looming over Abigail.
Sarah Good was looked down upon in the town of Salem as a beggar and filthy person.
She is about sixty and often comes house to house for food only to be turned away.
One time she is turned away and and is accused of witchcraft.
When in jail they find that she is pregnant and the must save the good child within her.
This is how Sarah Good's soul is claimed evil and the court authorities are good in saving this child.
Abigail is very upset that she is separated from John and to get revenge upon Elizabeth she uses a poppet that Mary Warren made for Elizabeth during court that day.
Abigail stabs herself with a pin which goes two inches into her abdomen.
This gets Elizabeth Proctor arrested.
Lies and Deceit
John Proctor lied to Elizabeth about his affair with Abigail.
In the Parris household Abigail lies to her uncle why her services have not been requested by any other people in the town.
Thomas and Ann Putnam lost seven of their eight children soon after birth.
Thinking that they could profit from the trials they accused their midwife, Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Osburn of putting a curse so that the children would die.
for this Rebecca Nurse was arrested.
Abigail Williams, Betty Parris, Mercy Lewis, and Mary Warren were all in the Forest and were caught by Parris.
Later on these lies built into full fledged scapegoats and accusations.
The boiling cauldron symbolizes the boiling over, succession of lies told by Abigail and her group of friends that caused the witch trials. In all reality they were trying to stay out of trouble and avoid a strict whipping.
This is a symbol for the relationship of McCarthyism and how it kept being built on the fear of Communism in the United Sates After World War II. Senator Joseph McCarthy used this to build on his political career, which never progressed beyond that point.
Act One is when all of the characters and matters that are to be addressed are brought forward. The scene opens with Betty Parris , Reverend Parris's daughter, lying motionless on the bed presumed to be under a witch's curse. Abigail Williams, Reverend Parris's niece, comes into the room and talks with her uncle. He proceeds to question her as to the cause of Betty's ailment. Then Tituba the servant for the Parris's from Barbados enter accompanied with Sussana Walcott bring news that there is no known cure for Betty's condition. Then the Putnams enter. They bring word of there Ruth also being ailed. and that they belive it to be witchery. As more and more people gather into the room they talk about holding a prayer session, for health of these people.
Act Two is then taken to the part where confusion strikes Salem. Everyone is worried about the rumors of witchcraft, and concerns of people being accused. The scene opens in the common room of the Procter's home. John has just gotten home and is talking to Elizabeth who is very curious in why he is home so late. She questions whether or not he is seeing Abigail Williams, anymore. Then Mary Warren comes home, after defying the Proctor's order to not go to the trials. She comes and gives Elizabeth news that her name was mentioned, and gives Elizabeth a poppet with a needle in its side. Reverend Hale comes to visit and question them why they have not gone to church for a along time. They accuse Parris of not teaching, but rather debating about how he should be paid more. With Reverend Hale satisfied that they are not witches, he leaves. In minutes of the visit of Reverend Hale, the marshal barges in with an arrest warrant, and arrests Elizabeth for harming Abigail and uses the poppet as evidence.
The witch trials have stated and people are being accused left and right. Abigail and her group of friends are pleading with Judge Hawthorne that they are being bewitched. The hangings are authorized by Deputy Governor Danforth. Elizabeth Proctor and Sarah Good has been found to be pregnant. This is when Martha Corey is accused and Giles Corey does his best to defend her. Sadly he ends up getting himself in trouble and accused. Then he is arrested.
The witch trials are slowing down, at this time Reverend Hale has taken himself out and ended his involvement with the witch trials. However many of the Women have been imprisoned for a long time, and are treated poorly. Many of the men that are married to these women are trying, repeatedly trying, to prove that their wives are innocent. John Procter among them brings forth the reason why Abigail Williams did this to Elizabeth, which was their affair. John says this and it is now out in the open. To not embarrass her husband Elizabeth, lies and says nothing ever happened between John and Abigail. Instead John says that God that they are trying to protect is Dead or not real. This gets him arrested and Hanged for being the Devil. Then Giles Cory dies after not confessing to witchcraft and this gets him killed by torture of stones on his chest, he died saying "More Weight."
Personal Review
I enjoyed this book I found it to be an easy read, and the play type of formatting made it interesting. However there were many underlying messages, and I worry that I missed some of them. My favorite part of this book was when Reverend hale removed himself from the witch trials. This shows the reaction that he later on had, which was that he was in the wrong, and there was no witchcraft present. in fact it was just cold hard resentment shown by the residents of Salem. My least favorite part was when Giles Cory died. For the reasons of self-anger he was tortured and killed. This ending wasn't necessary for what he did to upset the court. My favorite Character inthe book is John Procter for his thoughts that he did his best to express and the harsh reality of his death for those ideas when the were accidentally proven wrong. My least favorite character is Abigail Williams because she was just out for revenge and cost so many people their lives. Either way I would recommend this book to any one, but I would wish that they had a group to do the play formatting. There fore I rate this book with Four Stars
Power was given to Abigail after a dilemma that she must make up a scapegoat or be in tons of trouble.
So for that reason she chooses a scapegoat.
Her scapegoats caused the witch trials and many deaths in Salem.
Dear Reverend Hale,
I am consulting you with this letter as an invitation to come forth to Salem. There is a strange illness that has come over my daughter Betty. It is a dastardly illness that some citizens of my town proclaim as witchcraft. I know how you are an expert in these deeds of witchcraft and for that reason I want you to come and investigate these claims.
I have many reasons for concern starting with what I found in the woods . I found many of the town girls dancing around a boiling cauldron, naked shaming them selves in the forest. In my belief this may be a sign of praise to the devil. What is even more disturbing is the fact that my servant , Tituba, of Barbados was stirring the cauldron and singing in a foreign tongue. I try to think that this isn't why my Betty is sick but it has crossed my mind during prayer.
Finally, I bring a chilling evidence from the people in the town they say that there was more witchcraft ailing the town. However they blame it on a Devil's curse given by a member of our own town. The residents that bring the claim are Thomas and Ann Putnam who have lost seven children shortly after birth. All of these matters worry me and the town we are holding prayer sessions to try and ward off the spells upon our loved ones. I hope that you can come and use your expertize to determine the source of our missery.

Reverend Parris
Dear Reverend Parris,
I have received the letter you sent to me and it troubles me. I have dealt with very severe cases in my prior years , yet this one is quite bizarre. I will come to Salem and will arrive in two days time. The powers that are taking over Salem are those that need assistance to be produced. I believe that some of your citizens are witches and wizards among you. I warn that your people look to those that have not attended sabbath and wandered away from ministry. these are signs of witchcraft.
When I arrive I will help the search. I will interview along with you the suspects that haven't attended sabbath. If we find much evidence I should consult the leaders of our state and ask for an investigation and then trials to convict witches. I hope that this is unnecessary, but it may not be as far fetched as it sounds.
Along with my arrival I wish to talk to the Putnams for they brought forth the fist complaint and with supporting evidence no less. I will interview and consul them about the grounds for this to happen. I hope that their child Ruth that is hanging in the balance will pull through.

Reverend Hale
1. Are you a citizen of Salem, Massachusetts between the years of 1692 and 1693?
Yes, I was a citizen of Salem.
2. Were you accused of witchcraft during the Witch Trials?
Yes, I was accused by Abigail Williams for using a poppet to harm her.
3. Did you actually harm Abigail Williams through means of a poppet?
No, I was wrongly accused the poppet wasn't mine.
4. How were you framed for witchcraft?
The truth is that my servant ,Mary Warren, gave it to me after she arrived home from the court.
5. When were you arrested?
On the night that Reverend Hale came to our home to ask about the Ten Commandments is when I was arrested.
6. What happened to your family?
My husband fought for me and told about his affair, but I told a lie to keep him from being shamed.
7. Who did your husband have the affair with?
He had the affair with our former servant, Abigail Williams.
8. Who is your husband?
My husband is John Proctor. He is a farmer, and father to our two children.
9. What eventuality happened to your husband?
He was hanged for attempting to over-through the court.
10. Were you ever pardoned and of your crimes of witchcraft?
Yes I was given a clean record and the charges thrown out.
Elizabeth Proctor
Act 1
Event 1
Act 1
Event 2
Act 1
Event 3
Act 1
Event 4
Dancing Naked
Many of the towns young girls go into the forest.
Tituba is singing native songs from Barbados.
Reverend Parris is walking home when he overhears the noises from the woods.
He proceeds to find the girls, scaring many of them away.
Betty Parris, Reverend Parris's daughter, comes down with a mysterious illness.
Abigail Williams, Reverend Parris's niece, is asked if she knows anything about how Betty got the illness
The doctor in the town comes to see Betty.
He can't immediately give a diagnosis and looks for an answer in his books
The doctor's servant, Susanna Walcott, is sent to give word that there is no known reason why the illness happened.
However, this doesn't stop the Putnam's from jumping to the conclusion of witchcraft.
Hale Arrives
With all of the chaos and suspicions of witchcraft, Reverend Parris sends for Reverend Hale.
Reverend Hale is considered an expert in witchcraft and demons.
He served as an adviser to the courts in a previous event in Boston.
Hale arrives and begins assessing the situation.
The First Scapegoat
Abigail begins to be questioned about events the night previous to Betty's illness.
Abigail blames Tituba for conjuring spirits.
Then to save herself, Tituba confesses to witchcraft.
She also tells of others that are also practicing witchcraft in the village.
Act 2
Event 1
Act 2
Event 2
Act 2
Event 3
Act 2
Event 4
The Confrontation
John Proctor had an affair previous to the trials.
This is why Abigail was fired from the Proctor household.
For all of the time after the affair John and Elizabeth haven't been in agreement.
Elizabeth is always suspicious of John.
John is tired of being under her constant suspicion.
Here in their common room the suspicion comes to an end and they agree to stop it.
Mary Comes Home With A Poppet
Mary Warren comes home to the Proctor house, after defying John and going to the court house.
To save herself from a good whipping Mary says that she defended Elizabeth in court.
This stops the beating.
Mary goes in to an elaboration about how the name came up and how she knew that Elizabeth wasn't guilty of witchcraft.
Mary gives Elizabeth a poppet that she had made during court sessions.
Elizabeth takes the kind gesture and life goes on.
Elizabeth reminds Mary that her needle is still inside of the poppet.
Mary says that she put it there for safe keeping and to leave it there.
Reverend Hale Visits
The Arrest
After Hale left, the Marshals came.
They presented a warrant for Elizabeth's arrest for using a poppet to witch Abigail.
They search the home and find the poppet.
John and Mary tell about how Elizabeth didn't put that there, but Mary did.
To prevent any other conflict Elizabeth went with the Marshals.
Act 3
Event 1
Act 3
Event 2
Act 3
Event 3
Act 3
Event 4
Martha Is Questioned
It is an official case, in a private session, where the judges, the girls and Martha Corey are in the empty court room.
Judge Hawthorne questions Martha why she is witching the children, which she denies.
While the case is proceeding Giles bursts into the court room, proclaiming that he has new evidence.
This pauses the case and they look at the new evidence.
New Evidence
John, Giles, and Francis are in back with Mary, who is part of the new evidence.
She has a deposition that claims the girls are faking.
So a new case is started, and they asked Mary to give an example of how the girls are lying and pretending.
The girls deny it and call Mary a liar.
Giles Sues
Giles Corey sues Putnam for accusing his neighbor of witchcraft, just to gain the mans land once he was arrested.
Putnam denies the accusation.
So Giles gives the list of people that agree with Giles.
Warrants for questioning were issued to all the people that are on the list.
John Proctor Arrested
once his evidence is thrown out, John comes forward.
He says that Abigail is doing this because she and him had an affair.
To prove this Elizabeth is brought in and sadly denies that John had an affair.
This is considered an attempt to uproot the court.
For that John is arrested, and he is sentenced to death.
Act 4
Event 1
Act 4
Event 2
Act 4
Event 3
Act 4
Event 4
Giles Killed
The court decides to interrogate Giles until he says who his witnesses are.
They bring rocks and pile them on top of him.
He doesn't talk, and asks for more weight.
Eventually, the rock weight gets too heavy, and Giles dies.
Thankfully his property isn't denied to his family after the trials.
Proctor Hangs
Proctor is sentenced to death for uprooting the court.
The girls still have the court that they were witched.
Slowly people in the town are questioning whether they did the right thing.
Proctor hangs for his crimes and the court still stands.
Hale Comes Back
To the judges surprise and disappointment he comes back to assist the defendants.
Hale comes back after removing himself from the court.
He specifically comes to talk to Elizabeth Proctor and apologize for his actions towards her family.
Later he asks a favor to help free her from jail.
Abigail Gone. Courts Fail.
Reverend Parris requests to speak with Danforth during a current session, and Danforth agrees to speak with him.
Parris says that Abigail has vanished and has run away.
The court is shocked, and will fall apart.
Without Abigail, the girls don't show signs of being witched.
The people abandon the court, and the trials are over.
After delivering her child the witch trials are over.
Then Elizabeth Proctor was pardoned and returned home.
Her husband was hanged for the crime of uprooting the court.
A man thought that he could profit with the death of a pig that he bought from Rebecca Nurse.
He accused her of being a witch and cursing the pig.
This claim was thrown out however,l because he was known for taking poor care of his animals.
Reverend Hale and Reverend Parris
Both men are Reverends.
Both believe in witchcraft in the beginning of the play.
Both were considered court officials during the trials.
Reverend Hale claims to be an expert in witchcraft, but is not.
He evaluates the people that don't attend church, to see if they are witches.
In the end he proclaims himself clean of what he has done while participating in the witch trials.
Reverend Parris is the man who called Rev. Hale into Salem about witchcraft.
Parris 's niece is behind the whole idea of the lies and deceit that causes the trials.
He ends up still thinking that he did well among the people of Salem.
Reverend Hale claims to be an expert in witchcraft.
He later proclaims himself eliminated from the courts and apologizes for his his actions.
Deputy Governor Danforth
1. What is your role in the Witch Trials?
My role here is to act as a judge, and give authorization by the state for executions.
2. Do you also authorize warrants?
Yes, I do issue warrants for the search of property and arrest of suspects.
3. Why did you arrest Giles Corey?
He refused to tell me information, therefore he withheld information, this made him subject to criminal charges.
4. Have you been in Salem since the beginning of the trials?
Yes, I arrived with the other judges from Boston, when the trials were called to order.
5. Do feel that these girls show good evidence of being witched?
Yes, the girls display all of the usual signs, fainting, showing pain, and losing control of their body without warning.
6. What did you think when John Proctor said that he had an affair with Abigail?
I was shocked, I mean he said he knew all of the commandments, apparently he needs to take a second look on the one about adultery.
7. Is there any chance that this, if it is true, will end the trials?
Yes, there is a chance that the trials will come to an end, but I feel they will not end.
8. Is Mary Warren a good witness brought forth by John Proctor?
No, she isn't a good witness because she could have a conflicting interest with John and Abigail.
9. What will happen to Giles Corey?
Mr. Corey, will be interrogated harshly, until he tells us who he was protecting.
10. Do you feel that you are helping or harming the people of Salem?
Obviously I am helping the people of Salem, with the elimination of witches and demons that possess these young girls.
Reverend Hale shows up to ask why the Proctors haven't attended to church in a few weeks.
They explain that they don't care for the way Reverend Parris preaches.
Reverend Hale asked if the Proctors read their scripture and whether or not they could recite the Ten Commandments.
They could between them and that was the end of the visit.
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