There are some things worth dying for, and in The Crucible that is just what John Proctor did. Proctor’s wife was sent to prison because his mistress Abigail convicted his wife of witchcraft. The Crucible is based in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 through 1693 during the Salem Witch Trials. This was a very strict and troubled time for not only women, but men also. People had to beware of who they crossed, because anyone would throw them under the bus. Today, we face some of the same situations they faced is Salem, things such as jealousy, regret, and fear.
Although, Salem had it way worse due to the witch trials. The Salem Witch Trials were a period of time when people in the town of Salem went around accusing people of witchcraft. Whether or not they did it or not, majority of the time if someone accused you then you would be hung or sent to prison. If you committed to witchcraft and then told a list of others who were involved, then you went to prison. If you did not say you were a witch, whether you were or not, you were hanged. It all started when Reverend Parris caught his niece Abigail and daughter Betty and a few of the other girls dancing in the woods.
Dancing in the woods was seen to be part of the devil’s work and was forbidden, therefore when he saw his niece and daughter doing it he was in shock. He thought of Abigail as a saint, but that is not the case. Abigail Williams is a rude, selfish, and manipulative girl. She treats the other girls as if she is in charge of their every move and they are to listen to her. She would say things like “I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you” (pg. 468). That was not the only thing she had done though. There was a man named John Proctor, who Abigail had worked for. Abigail got ired by Proctor’s wife Elizabeth for having an affair with her husband. Abigail reminds John of what happened in Act one making Proctor very angry and left feeling guilty. When Abigail sees Proctor she tells him she is waiting for him, but Proctor wants nothing to do with her. This makes Abigail very angry, so she begins to talk about Elizabeth. “She is blackening my name in the Village! ” (pg. 471) is what Abigail tells John. Abigail is one of the main people in the village who is cursing out people saying they are apart of witchcraft and have put their spirits on not only her, but the other girls.
Abigail is so manipulative she convinces the court that Elizabeth Proctor has been involved with the devil. This leads to Elizabeth going to prison. In Act 2 the scene is at the Proctor’s house eight days later from when Abigail goes to the court telling the people who are apart of witchcraft. The Proctor’s are at their house, fussing about why John was out so late and how there has been tension in their house. Elizabeth goes on to tell John she does not judge him for what he has done that he judges himself “The magistrate in your heart that judges you” (pg. 490). In the middle of them fussing the court comes to take Elizabeth away.
John tries his best to convince them that Elizabeth does not need to go to prison, but there is no way they are going to change their minds. They are convinced that she is a witch because Abigail Williams was stabbed out of nowhere and it just so happens that Elizabeth had a poppet with a needle stuck ,right where Abigail was stabbed, in the poppet. The only thing is Mary Warren the Proctor’s house maid gave that poppet to Elizabeth and Abigail was there when Mary made it. The court still takes her away even after they explain that it was not Elizabeths “I have nine men outside. You cannot keep her.
The law binds me, John, I cannot budge” (pg. 501). In Act three Proctor, Giles, and Francis Nurse all go to the court to try and get their wives out. All of their wives were convicted of the same thing by the same people. The court though will not budge and this makes them very angry. It makes Proctor so angry to where he brings in Mary Warren, who was one of the girls, to tell the court that they all were lying that those people were innocent. Mary seems to convince the court all until they bring in Abigail and the others. Mary is threatened by Abigail and begins to get a little scared.
Abigail begins to scream and holler for God, so Proctor says she needs not to call on God “How do you call Heaven”. The court asks John why he calls her this, so he tells the court that he has been with Abigail and knows how she is “I have known her, sir. I have known her” (pg. 519). They go back and forth to see if the accusation is true, but they cannot see to it. They then bring in Elizabeth to tell whether or not John is telling the truth about John. She is such a loyal wife that she will not give up his good name “My husband is a good and righteous man. ” (pg. 521).
They ask her once again if it is true and she says no making it seem as if John is a liar and Abigail a saint. John tells Mary to tell the court everything, but she is so frightened by Abigail that she turns on John. He is shocked about this so much that he flips out, therefore being sent to prison. Act four is the last and final scene of them all the setting is in the local jail. This is where people are starting to feel bad about what they have done and what has happened. Reverend Hale feels bad about the deaths, so he tries to make amends by going to the jail and getting the people to confess their sins.
Parris is dealing with some internal feelings about seeing the girls dancing, which he is keeping to himself, so he asks to postpone the hangings “I cannot pardon these when twelve have already hanged for the same crime” (pg. 531). Parris tells the men he is scared that the town Andover will begin to bring their troubles over to Salem. In Andover they have thrown out the court and have a faction. What Parris does not really state is that he believes Abigail has ran off to Andover, so the court would leave her alone. After the court settles down, they then call in Elizabeth Proctor in for her to admit to John being a letcher.
She says she will make no promise until she is able to speak with her husband. As she wished the court brought in John Proctor. John tells Elizabeth that he wants to tell the court the truth and Elizabeth says she just wants him alive “As you will, I would have it. (slight pause) I want you living, John. That’s sure. ” (pg. 534). He asks her if he confesses if she will judge him, she goes on to tell him the only person that can judge him is God “There be no higher judge under Heaven than Proctor is! ” (pg. 535). When the judge and his men arrive they ask John once again if he has worked with the devil, but this time John answers yes.
The court asks John, just as they asked the others, who else was involved and he will not say no one’s name. They bring Rebecca Nurse out and ask if she is a witch and John says he can only answer for his sins “I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. (crying out, with hatred) I have no tongue for it” (pg. 537). Judge Danforth thinks John is lying, so in order for him to be free, he must sign the paper stating he is involved in witchcraft, therefore everyone in the town will have proof. John refuses to sign it since he has already spoiled his name why should he do it on paper “Damn the village!
I confess to God, and God has seen my name on this! It is enough! ” (pg. 538). The judge begins to get concerned and tells John he has to have it in order to tell the town. Proctor says he does not need to sign the paper for it is his name and he has said what he needs, plus God knows his sin “I have given you my soul; leave me my name! ” (pg. 539). He rips the paper causing the court to have no other choice, but to hang him. They also say Rebecca Nurse must hang, because the others hanged. As you see The Crucible is a very intense, dramatic, and conflicted story.
Even though in real life all of this is not true, it is still somewhat not too far from it. Although, The Crucible is based back in 1600s we still face some of these things today. We have to deal with things such as Abigail dealt with like jealous, grieve, and being selfish. Maybe even some like John he feels guilty, embarrassed, and not trusted. A lot of these things happen, but not to the extent of what happened in Salem. The reason there were so many deaths is because the girls were trying to deflect the blame off of themselves on to someone else. They did not care who got hurt in the process as long as they were okay.
Today, there are still some people like that. As long as they are okay that is all that matters. In Salem the girls were afraid to come forward and tell what they had done, because they saw what happened to the others who were hanged or thrown in jail. The court believed them so easily I think because they were young and they did not think they would lie. This story teaches you a lot about how people act in different situations and how faith may lead you to death, but it will also lead you to heaven. The Crucible may be about witches, but it still teaches you the value of your beliefs.