“The Crucible” Act 2 Think of a time when you have done something in hopes of making someone happy, only to have your effort fail. How does that experience help you understand Proctor’s feelings when Elizabeth fails to respond to his attempts to make her feel better?
“I mean to please you,Elizabeth”?• He wants her to know that he is trying to make up for his past infidelity He tries to be affectionate• She doesn’t trust him – and agreeable with thinks he goes to Salem Elizabeth. Elizabeth is still to see Abigail hurt and perhaps angry with him; she cannot or will not forgive him.
What do you think their relationshipwas like before the affair? What kindsof person does Elizabeth seem to you?
• Mary Warren is normally a timid, mousy girl, but she went into town, even though she was forbidden by her mistress.• Feels herself to be important now that she is a witness at court• the power has started to go into her head
• witchcraft cases in the court• 14 people are jailed• pressured to confess on punishment of hanging.• Both John and Elizabeth know the charges are fraudulent
• Abigail: treated like a saint, they part for her when she walks with her girls, listen to her when she howls and falls to the floor• Elizabeth urges John to go to Salem and convince the people they are being misled; wants John to repeat Abigail’s denial of witchcraft when he first talked to her about the events in town• Problem: he would have to reveal that Abigail and he were alone together
• Elizabeth still does not trust John after his infidelity• thinks he refuses to accuse Abigail• John is angry that she will not forgive him; is upset at her judging him still, even though she is not prefect herself• Implies that he cheated because Elizabeth was not a good/warm wife.• He will allow God to judge him, not his wife.
“you forget nothing, and you forgive nothing”• House is now like a courthouse where he is constantly judged for lies.• He has been trying to please her and is sick of being put down.
Read lines 170-180 and paraphrase.• John says he was weak when he confessed to her, thinking she was God• Elizabeth claims that she does not judge him, but the “magistrate in his heart”• Guilt makes John think everyone is judging him
Mary Warren is tired, upset, anxiou s, overwhelmed by what is happening.Mary Warren brings Elizabeth a cloth doll she had made in court
39 people have now beenaccused, Goody Osborn has been sentenced to hang, Sarah Good confessed to witchcraft
• Mary experiences symptoms of Goody Good’s “witchcraft” that she describes in lines 249- 256• Sarah Good described: sleeps in ditches, old, poor, a beggar, uneducated – doesn’t know the commandments
“But the proof, the proof!”• the hysteria of the town has caused them to make accusations and judgments on an old woman’s faulty memory – that’s no proof of witchcraft
• Mary will no longer stand for beating and will go to Salem despite Proctor’s disapproval• she will not be told what to do• the girls now have authority, when before they were controlled by the adult males
Abigail accusedElizabeth - wantsher out of theway to rekindleher relationshipwith John • the previously accused women were of low social status and easy targets, while Elizabeth is an upstanding Puritan woman = girls getting more bold
• John blushed when he sees Abigail - says he blushes for his sin, Abigail sees it as encouragement and proof of his feelings for her
“The promise that a stallion gives a mare I gave that girl!”• no promise at all, John was using her• Elizabeth thinks John has made Abigail an unspoken promise that they will be together• Elizabeth wants John to tell Abby she is a whore and that he has no interest in a relationship with her – maybe she would take back her accusation
• Hale’s arrival affect the mood of the Proctor house: nervous; Elizabeth never lets him out of sight• Accusations: they don’t often attend church, one of the boys is not baptized, John stumbles over his commandments, they deny the existence of witches
• Rebecca Nurse has been recently accused• she is the most charitable and pious person in the village• Accused because she believes in reason, not witchcraft
• Proctor criticizes Parris: greed – Parris needs gold candle sticks to pray and dreams of cathedrals• John would rather pray at home and communicate with God directly
• Proctor forgets the commandment against adultery – it is the sin he has committed
• Hale suspects in line 619 that the confessions are only because the women don’t want to hang
• Elizabeth sees Hale is disturbed by the Proctors’ answers and he suspects them of witchcraft• But doesn’t reveal the information about Abigail herself - she would never reveal anything about her husband without his consent• Proctor attempts to protect himself and his wife from scandal – so he stays silent
Do you think that Elizabeth will make a favorable impression in court?• she is willing to speak her mind even though her thoughts may be unpopular
• Rebecca Nurse is charged with “the marvelous and supernatural murder of Goody Putnam’s babies”• Hale believes she will be found innocent in court
Explain the lines “remember, until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.”
• Martha Corey is accused of witchcraft• Walcott says he cannot keep a pig alive because Martha bewitches them with her books
• Poppet: there is a needle stuck in the doll; Abigail had a needle stuck in her abdomen and testified that it was Elizabeth’s spirit that stuck it in• Abigail saw Mary make the poppet and knew she would give it to Elizabeth; she injured herself on purpose
Explain lines 876-884: “Is the accuser always holy now?”• The justice system in Salem is a sham• “I’ll tell you what’s walking Salem – vengeance is walking Salem”• people are venting their own hatreds and resentments on others and calling them witches• “We are only what we always were, but naked now.”• the hypocrisy of Salem is now revealed by vindictive accusations
Lines 941-954.• The town is being punished by God for some former sin – murder, abomination, secret blasphemy• John believes his adultery is the secret
• Mary is afraid of going to the court and telling them about the poppet because Abigail has threatened murder. The girls will turn on her and call her a witch• Abigail threatened Proctor - she will ruin his name and reveal his sin of lechery• If she does that, then the town will no longer think of her as a saint. They share the crime.
• Virtuous • honest • courageous • defensive of her position as aDescribe Elizabeth wronged wife • cold toward John
How would you judge John’s behavior so far? Cite evidence from the play to support your judgment?• weak and defensive• hesitates to expose Abigail• angry that Elizabeth is disappointed with him• full of rage by the end
Why do you think that Cheever keepsrepeatedly insisting that he is now anofficial and can’t help but do what he was told? • defers the blame and responsibility • denies his personal morality