The Crucible by Arthur MillerSummaries

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible: Summary

7 Mins read

The Crucible, a historic play primarily based on the events of the Salem witchcraft trials, takes place in a small Puritan village within the colony of Massachusetts in 1692. The witchcraft trials, as Miller explains in a prose prologue to the play, grew out of the actual moral system of the Puritans, which promoted interference in others’ affairs in addition to a repressive code of conduct that frowned on any diversion from norms of conduct.

The play begins within the home of Reverend Samuel Parris, whose daughter, Betty, lays in poor health. Parris lives along with his daughter and his seventeen-year old niece, Abigail Williams, an orphan who witnessed her parents’ homicide by the Indians. Parris has sent for Reverend Hale of Beverly, believing his daughter’s sickness stems from supernatural explanations. Betty grew to become sick when her father found her dancing within the woods with Abigail, Tituba and a number of other different native women. Already there are rumors that Betty’s sickness is because of witchcraft, however Parris tells Abigail that he can’t admit that he found his daughter and niece dancing like heathens within the forest. Abigail says that she’s going to admit to dancing and accept the punishment, however is not going to admit to witchcraft. Abigail and Parris focus on rumors concerning the girls: once they were dancing one of many women was bare, and Tituba was screeching gibberish. Parris additionally brings up rumors that Abigail’s former employer, Elizabeth Proctor, believes that Abby is immoral.

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Thomas and Ann Putnam arrive and inform Parris that their daughter, Ruth, is sick. Ann Putnam admits that she sent Ruth to Tituba, for Tituba is aware of how to converse to the dead and will discover out who murdered her seven children, every of whom died during infancy. When the adults depart, Abigail discusses Betty’s sickness with Mercy Lewis and Mary Warren, the servants of the Putnams and the Proctors, respectively. Abigail threatens them, warning them to not say something more than that they danced and Tituba conjured Ruth’s sisters. John Proctor arrives to search out Mary and send her home. He speaks with Abigail alone, and she admits to him concerning the dancing. In the past, John and Abigail had an affair, which is the reason why Elizabeth Proctor fired her. Abigail propositions John, however he sternly refuses her. When Betty hears people singing psalms from outdoor, she begins to shriek. Reverend Parris returns, and realizes that Betty can’t bear to listen to the Lord’s name.

Giles Corey and Rebecca Nurse are the subsequent to go to. The former is a contentious old man, whereas the latter is a well-respected old woman. Rebecca claims that Betty’s sickness is nothing severe, however merely a infantile phase. Parris confronts Proctor because he has not been in church just lately, however Proctor claims that Parris is just too obsessive about damnation and by no means mentions God.

Reverend John Hale arrives from Beverly, a scholarly man who appears for exact indicators of the supernatural. Parris tells him concerning the dancing and the conjuring, whereas Giles Corey asks if there’s any significance to his spouse’s studying unusual books. Hale questions Abigail, asking if she bought her soul to Lucifer. Finally Abigail blames Tituba, claiming that Tituba made Abigail and Betty drink blood and that Tituba sends her spirit out to make mischief. Putnam declares that Tituba must be hanged, however Hale confronts her. Upon realizing that the one strategy to save herself is to confess to the charge, Tituba claims that the Satan got here to her and promised to return her to Barbados. She says that a number of girls had been with him, together with Sarah Good and Sarah Osburn, and the women join within the refrain of accusations, name more individuals they declare to have seen with the Satan.

The second act takes place a week later within the Proctor’s residence. John Proctor returns home late after a hectic day planting within the fields, and Elizabeth suspects that he has been within the village. Mary Warren has been there as an official of the court for the witchcraft trials, even after Elizabeth forbade her. Elizabeth tells John that she should inform Ezekiel Cheever, the constable that Abigail admitted that Betty’s illness has nothing to do with witchcraft, however Proctor admits that no person will consider him because he was alone with Abigail on the time. Elizabeth is disturbed by this, however Proctor reprimands her for her suspicion. Mary Warren arrives and offers Elizabeth a puppet that she made in courtroom. Mary tells them that thirty-nine individuals have been arrested and Sarah Osburn will hang, however not Sarah Good, who confessed. When Proctor becomes angry at Mary, she tells him that she saved Elizabeth’s life in the present day, for her name was mentioned in courtroom.

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John Hale arrives. He tells the Proctors that Rebecca Nurse was charged, then questions Proctor on his churchgoing habits. Finally he makes Proctor state the Ten Commandments; he can remember 9 of the ten, however Elizabeth should remind him of adultery. Proctor tells Hale what Abigail admitted about Parris discovering her within the woods, however Hale says that it must be nonsense, for therefore many have confessed to witchcraft. Proctor reminds him that these individuals would definitely confess, if denying it implies that they must be hanged. Hale asks Proctor whether or not he believes in witches, and he says that he does, however not these in Salem. Elizabeth denies all perception in witchcraft, for she believes that the Satan can’t take a lady’s soul if she is really upright.

Ezekiel Cheever arrives to arrest Elizabeth on the charge that she sent her spirit out to Abigail and caught a needle in her. Cheever finds the puppet, which has a needle in it, however Mary Warren says that she made the puppet in courtroom that day, though Abigail witnessed her making it. Upon listening to the charge, Elizabeth claims that Abigail is a murderer who have to be ripped out of the world. Proctor rips up the warrant and tells Cheever that he is not going to give his spouse to vengeance. When Hale insists that the court is just, Proctor calls him a Pontius Pilate. He lastly calls for that Mary Warren come to courtroom and testify against Abigail, however she sobs that she can’t.

The third act takes place within the vestry room of the Salem meeting house, which serves the courtroom. Giles Corey arrives with Francis Nurse and tells Deputy Governor Danforth, who presides over the trials, that Thomas Putnam is charging individuals with witchcraft with a view to acquire their land. He additionally says that he meant nothing when he stated that his spouse read unusual books.

John Proctor arrives with Mary Warren, and presents a deposition signed by Mary that asserts that she never noticed any spirits. Parris thinks that they’re there to overthrow the court, and Danforth questions whether or not Proctor has any ulterior motive, and tells Proctor that his spouse is pregnant and thus will live at the least another 12 months, even when convicted. Proctor additionally presents a petition signed by ninety-one individuals testifying to the good character of Elizabeth Proctor, Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey. Parris claims that this is an assault upon the court, however Hale asks Parris if each defense is an assault on it.

Putnam arrives on the courtroom, and Giles Corey charges him with homicide. Giles tells Danforth that somebody instructed him that Putnam prompted his daughter to accuse George Jacobs in order that he might purchase his land. Giles refuses to name this individual, and so is arrested for contempt. Abigail then arrives with the opposite girls, and Proctor tells Danforth how Abigail means to homicide his spouse. Abigail pretends that she feels a sharp wind threatening her. Proctor grabs her by the hair and calls her a whore, lastly admitting his affair.

Danforth orders that Elizabeth be delivered to the courtroom. If Elizabeth admits to firing Abigail for her affair, Danforth will charge Abigail with homicide. Elizabeth, pondering that she is defending her husband, solely claims that she fired Abigail due to poor work habits. Proctor cries out for Elizabeth to inform the reality, and Hale admits that Elizabeth’s lie is a pure one to inform. Abigail then claims that Mary Warren’s spirit is attacking her within the form of a bird. Although Mary claims that the women are lying, she quickly breaks down and tells Danforth that Proctor is in league with Satan and needs to pull down the court.

Proctor cries out that God is dead, and fire is burning in Hell because the courtroom is pulling Heaven down and elevating up a whore. Hale denounces the proceedings and quits the courtroom.

The fourth act takes places several months later within the autumn on the Salem jail cell. Cheever details how the city is in shambles because so many individuals are in jail. Hale has been begging Rebecca Nurse to confess to witchcraft. Parris arrives and tells Danforth how Abigail has vanished with Mercy Lewis and stolen his money. Parris worries concerning the rumors of revolt in opposition to the witchcraft proceedings in Andover, however Hathorne reminds Parris how there has solely been great satisfaction in the entire Salem executions. Parris reminds him that Rebecca Nurse isn’t any immoral girl just like the others executed and there will probably be consequences to her execution. Still, Danforth refuses to postpone any of the executions.

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Danforth calls for Elizabeth Proctor, and Hale tells her that he doesn’t need Proctor to die, for he would really feel liable for the homicide. He tells Elizabeth that God may damn a liar lower than an individual who throws one’s life away, however Elizabeth claims that this can be the Devil’s argument. Finally Elizabeth agrees to talk with Proctor, who’s introduced in bearded and filthy. Proctor and Elizabeth focus on their children, and Elizabeth tells him how Giles Corey died: when he refused to reply sure or no to his indictment, and was thus pressed with stones till he would reply. He solely gave the phrases “more weight” before they crushed him.

Proctor says that he can’t mount the gibbet as a saint, for it will be a fraud to assert that he has never lied. Elizabeth says that she has her personal sins, for less than a cold spouse would immediate lechery. Finally Proctor decides that he’ll confess himself. Danforth calls for a written confession and, to show the purity of his soul, he calls for that Proctor accuse others. Hale means that it’s adequate for Proctor to admit to God, however Danforth still requires a written assertion. Proctor refuses, because he needs solely to maintain his good title for the respectability of his children. Danforth refuses to simply accept his confession, and orders that he be hanged. Hale begs Elizabeth to plead with Proctor to sign a confession, however Elizabeth claims that Proctor now has his goodness, and no person ought to take it away from him.

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