The Crucible Quotes

“I have fought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people to me…” Parris to Abigail.Reputation: After seeing the girls dancing in the forest, Parris recognizes the possibility that the witchcraft being practiced has originated in his own household, and he worries about the possible danger to his reputation if the townsfolk learn that his daughter and niece could be consorting with the devil.Spent 3 years to build his image; Abigail’s and Betty’s actions could ruin all that.
“Your name in the town – is entirely white, is it not?” Parris to AbigailThe townspeople may already have heard rumors that Abigail is not a proper girl, if Elizabeth Proctor has been talking about her in the town. However, she assures her reputation is pure and good. She is seen as a sweet, innocent, young girl. There is no tarnish/embarrassment to her.
“I pray you, leap not to witchcraft. I know that you – you least of all, Thomas would ever wish so disastrous a charge laid upon me. We cannot leap to witchcraft They will howl me out of Salem for such corruption in my house.” Parris to Thomas/Mr PutnamParris is telling the Putnams not to assume witchcraft. It could ruin his reputation. This is ironic because he would easily convict any other person in the town.
“I have laid seven babies unbaptized in the earth. Believe me, sir, you never saw more hearty babies born. And yet each would wither in my arms on the night of their birth. I have spoke nothin’ but my heart has clamored intimations. And now this year my Ruth, my only – I see her turning strange. A secret child she has become this year, and shrivels like a sucking mouth were pullin’ on her life too. And so I thought to send her to your Tituba…who else may surely tell us what person murdered my babies?” (pg. 1242) Mrs. Putnam to ParrisMr. and Mrs. Putnam are convinced there is a supernatural explanation for all their dead babies. Though there could be a hundred other explanations for their only surviving daughter Ruth Putnam’s behavior (including her relationship with Abigail), they find it more comforting to explain it as proof of witchcraft. If evil took their babies, then there is nothing they can do but seek God’s help — a more comforting thought than that it might be their own fault or nobody’s. At least this gives them somebody or something to fight against.
“Now look you. All of you. We danced…I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down.” (p. 1244) Abigail to Mary Warren, Betty, and MercyLies and deceit: We learn the true motives behind Abigail’s actions, even as she tries to get the girls to agree on a story to protect herself. She uses the threat of violence, and their belief that she might know some real witchcraft, to keep them in line.
“We were dancin’ in the woods last night, and my uncle leaped in on us. She took fright is all.” Abigail to ProctorLies and deceit: We learn that both Abigail and John have told lies: they have deceived people about their (past) relationship, and they continue to lie about it. But to this person who knows her deception, Abigail tells the truth that she was dancing in the woods and Betty took fright. However, she doesn’t tell him that she drank a potion so that his wife Elizabeth might die.
“I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind…We never touched.” Proctor to AbigailProctor is trying to forget what happened and pretend it didn’t. He wants Abigail to move on also, and put it out of mind.
“You’ll speak nothin’ of Elizabeth… Do you look for a whippin?” (pg. 1247) Proctor to AbigailAbigail is talking trash about Elizabeth, calling her a cold, sniveling, lying, controlling woman. Proctor’s loyalty/guilt emerges as he defends his wife.
“I think she’ll wake in time. Pray calm yourselves… A child’s spirit is like a child, you can never catch it by running after it; you must stand still, and for love it will soon come back.” (pg. 1249) Rebecca to PutnamsConsulting about Betty and regarding Ruth, Rebecca doesn’t believe witchery is afoot, simply the ambitions of children.
“There is prodigious danger in the seeking of loose spirits. I fear it, I fear it. Let us rather blame ourselves-” (pg. 1249) Rebecca to Putnams, Proctor, and ParrisIs there really a devil/witch? Foreshadows the big conflict, what accusations and suspicions will lead to. Rebecca Nurse suggests that they look inside themselves for answers to their problems, rather than blaming supernatural forces, but the Putnams are bent on finding justice and they see the supernatural as perhaps the only source of those answers. Nonetheless, it is likely that Mrs. Putnam’s motives are more pure than those of her husbands, who seems mostly interested in acquiring land.
“Where is my wood?…I am not used to this poverty; I left a thrifty business in the Barbados to serve the Lord. I do not fathom it, why I am persecuted here?…I have often wondered if the devil be in it somewhere; I cannot understand you people otherwise.” Parris to Giles and ProctorReputation: Parris is greedy and self-centered. He thinks everyone is against his every word; arguing against him all the time. On his high horse, he believes he deserves more, given his social standings and “intellectual superiority.”
“It suggests to the mind what the trouble be among us all these years. Think on it. Wherefore is everybody suing everybody else? Think on it now, it’s a deep thing, and dark as a pit. I have been six times in court this year-” (pg. 1251) Giles to Parris, Proctor, & PutnamAsks what’s the motive for the vengeance; there is no unity, everyone turning their backs on one another. Putnam is interested in gaining land.
“It’s strange how I knew you, but I suppose you look as such a good soul should.” Hale to RebeccaReputation is important, travels a long way. Upon arrival, Hale notes the good things he’s heard about Rebecca’s good deeds in Beverly. Rebecca is a respectable woman of society.
“We cannot look to superstition in this. The Devil is precise; the marks of his presence are definite as stone…” Also, “Here is all the invisible world, caught, defined, and calculated. In these books the devil stands stripped of all his brute disguises…” (pg. 1116) Hale to Parris & PutnamThose in Salem all know the basic tenets of Christianity and much about the Devil’s ways. Hale capitalizes on what they already know, but also instructs.This is an example of hypocrisy. Hale states two contradicting ideas in adjacent sentences. He states that superstition must not be involved, but then he immediately goes to his religion for answers. Religion is no different than superstition: ‘If you do bad things, you will be eternally banished to a fiery hell in which you will be tortured endlessly with no escape.’ Neither of them have factual basis and they probably do not happen.
“You will confess yourself for I will take you out and whip you to your death…” (pg. 1119) Parris to TitubaHysteria hits the town; they blame each other to protect themselves. Tituba is whipped & lies a “confession” to save herself.
“You are God’s instrument put in our hands to discover the Devil’s agents among us. You are selected, you are chosen to help cleanse our village, so speak utterly and God will protect you.” Hale to TitubaTurning point where the accused Tituba is now a divine help and innocent. This shows the court’s intention: everyone must confess to witchcraft or be hung.
“How many times she bid me kill you, Mr. Parris!” (pg. 1120) Tituba to Parris.Accusations & Lies: Tituba turns the blame Abigail placed on her to Sarah Good (Goody Osborn).
“It’s winter in here yet. On Sunday let you come with me and we’ll walk the farm together…” (pg. 1123) Proctor to ElizabethWinter could be a metaphor for Elizabeth’s coldness, hinting Proctor’s previous relationship with Abigail. Proctor is trying to prove his faithfulness and goodness.
“I should have roared you down when you first told me our suspicion. But I wilted and like a Christian, I confessed. Confessed! Some dream I had must have mistaken you for God that day, but you’re not…” (pg. 1124) Proctor to ElizabethLack of trust; compassion and forgiveness: Proctor desperately desires forgiveness from his wife, but whether he’s earned it or not, she struggles to let go of her hurt. Proctor fears he is being judged by Elizabeth, who is struggling with the demons of doubt in the midst of seeking to forgive. The emotional dynamic between them is taut and raw.
“I do not judge you. The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you. I never thought you but a good man, John.” Elizabeth to ProctorProctor has not found redemption yet, and Elizabeth still holds suspicion. The events have not yet passed out of mind. She cannot be honest about her lingering feelings of betrayal, and her husband is callous to think that she should just “get over it.”
“She tried to kill me many times…I never knew it before. I never knew anything before…” Elizabeth to Proctor, regarding Mary Warren.Elizabeth is suspicious of all of Proctor’s relationship. She wants Mary Warren out of the house, who said Elizabeth’s name was somewhat mentioned in court. Elizabeth is insecure.Also, neither has completely come to grips with is that the woman Proctor slept with now has the power to cause either or both of them to die. They both stay together, but there is heavy damage caused.
“I must tell you, sir, I will be gone every day now. I am amazed you don’t see what weighty work we do.” (pg. 1126) Mary Warren to Proctor and ElizabethMary is naive and easily influenced by society/others. She defends her position in the court, justifying the executions.
“Oh the noose, the noose is up.” (pg. 1127) Elizabeth to ProctorElizabeth believes that her death is inevitable. She knows Abigail is out to get her. Figurative and literal metaphor to getting hanged; ball’s rolling, accusations will lead to death.
“You have a faulty understanding of young girls. There is a promise made in any bed…spoke or silent a promise is surely made.” Elizabeth to ProctorShe asks him to talk to Abigail again and tell her nothing is going to happen, especially when Elizabeth dies. There is nothing, there was NO promise in the bed. Nothing will ever exist between Proctor and Abigail.
“The promise that a stallion gives a mare I gave that girl!” (pg. 1128) Proctor to ElizabethIdiom: Proctor’s affair was out of lust, not real feelings for Abigail. In this exchange, John Proctor is begging his wife to forgive him – but though she wants to forgive him, she is right about Abigail’s interpretation of their affair, which has bound Abigail and Proctor together in ways Proctor fails to understand.
“Pontius Pilate! God will not let you wash your hands of this!” Proctor to HaleElizabeth has been arrested for “her” poppet. Hale is a coward and cannot stand up to justice out of fear.Pontius Pilate was a Roman official who reluctantly condemned Jesus to death. Pilate is said to have declared “I am innocent of the blood of this just man.” Pontius questions Christ and finds nothing wrong; he feels that Christ is innocent, and has no reason to be arrested.
“I cannot think God be provoked so grandly by such a petty cause… Think on cause man, and let you help me to discover it. For there’s your way, believe it, when such confusion strikes upon the world. Let you counsel among yourselves and what may have drawn from heaven such thundering wrath upon you all. I pray God will open up our eyes.” (pg. 1134) Hale to Procter, then Giles and FrancisAll the wives are taken away by Cheever (clerk of the court), charged by Abigail with murder. Dramatic Irony: We know the great cause he is looking for is the affair, but John is not saying it.
“It is providence and no great change; we are only what we always were, but naked now. Aye, and the wind, God’s icy wind will blow.” (pg. 1135) Proctor half to himself, Mary Warren on the ground.He wants Mary Warren to confess the truth. Biblical allusion to Adam and Eve. Eve, then Adam, bit the apple of knowledge. Their eyes are open, and can see the truth. God’s icy wind is the wrath of God, judgement and damnation will come.
“Do you know who I am, Mr. Nurse?” Danforth to Francis NurseThey are all in the meeting room at court. Giles Corey provided evidence against his wife, Martha (reading book), on accident; but he got kicked out. Mr. Nurse is now trying to prove the girls as frauds. Danforth takes offence to Mr. Nurse’s claims. He uses his reputation to assert his authority; he will not be told what to do.
“Have you given out this story in the village?” Danforth to ProctorProctor and Mary Warren enter the scene, intent on telling the truth. Mary tells Danforth that it was all a pretense, the girls faked it. Danforth wants to make sure no one knows yet; he is fearful of plots against the court.
“We burn a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment.” Danforth to ProctorProctor is questioned about his motivations for giving such evidence. HE says it is purely to save his wife and friends. Danforth is suspicious of motives to undermine the court. Through court and investigation evidence, the truth always comes out. In a way, it is a threat. Also ironic that the court has been using lies and faulty evidence to pass judgement.
“I think it be evidence, John. I am an official of the court, I cannot keep it.” Cheever to ProctorCheever gives evidence of Proctor not being a good Christian: plowing on Sunday. Giles defends him and says other Christians also plow on Sundays.Character revelation: Cheever, who is a deputy of the court, feels obligated to act with righteousness in all cases without thinking of the outcomes. HE does what he is told & displays any information he knows. Sublime official; dutiful.
“A person is either with this court of he must be counted against it, there be no road between.” Danforth to Francis.Reputation: Francis and Proctor give Dansforth a list of 91 people signing they vouch for Rebecca and Martha’s goodness. Parris and Danforth, however, take this act as undermining the court. He tells Cheever to draw up warrants for every one of the names.
“I have this morning signed away the soul of Rebecca Nurse, Your Honor. I’ll not conceal it, my hand shakes yet as with a wound! I pay you, sir, this argument, let lawyers present to you.” Hale to DanforthHale tells Danforth not to be hasty, let Proctor come back with a lawyer later. Death sentences are not to be taken lightly, they must be careful. AGAIN, Danforth takes this as an act against his authority. He counters, the only evidence is the witch and victim’s words. It is an invisible craft, evidence is hard to considet.
“It does not escape me that this deposition may be devised to blind us… If so her neck will break for it.” Danforth to girls (Susana Walcott, Mercy Lewis, Betty Parris, & Abigail) but regarding Mary Warren.Legal proceedings/trials: Displays his open-mind to options, but doesn’t really. His tone and attitude towards Mary is very harsh and mean. But to the girls, he doesn’t really give them room or the comfort to tell the truth, but to keep to the pretense.
“I cannot tell you how, but I did. I-I heard the other girls screaming, and you, Your Honor, you seemed to believe them, and I-it were only sport in the beginning, sir, but then the whole world cried spirits, spirits, and I-I, promise you, Mr. Danforth, I only thought I saw them, but I did not.” Mary to DanforthMary is trumped when Parris, Dansforth, and Hathorne asked her to fake a cold faint at will. However, she cannot and struggles to find reason.
“She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might have, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat.” Proctor to Danforth (the court and everyone there) regarding AbigailHe reveals his lechery. He says Abigail is after his wife. Proctor sets aside his reputation & giid bane; sacrifice for the greater good. He admits his sins by calling Abigail a *****.
“You’re the Devil’s man!” (pg. 1314) Mary Warren to ProctorAccusations and quarreling: Mary is a very weak character. She breaks and goes back to her pretense. She fears Abigail and knows she cannot fight against her. The children all unite against Proctor. Danforth believes the girls, but Hale still defends Proctor.
“For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be fraud – ** ***s out kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together.” Proctor to DanforthProctor is crazed. He sees the truth of this audacity, despite appearances and confessions. He says everyone is at fault and wrong, so they will all burn in Hell together. All have failed to tell the truth and see righteousness out of ignorance. All men sin.
“I would go to God it were not so, Excellency, but these people have great weight yet in the town. Let Rebecca stand upon the gibbet and send up some righteous prayer and she’ll wake a vengeance on you.” (pg. 1157) Parris to DanforthHe is concerned about his well-being, not necessarily anyone else’s or the town’s welfare and justice.. If Rebecca is a witch, they are all out to get Parris.Rebecca is a very outstanding, righteous woman. If they hang a good person, rebellion will give way, like Andover. Foreshadow rebellion, town will begin to see the court’s faults.
“Now that Mr. Hale’s returned, there is hope, I think – for if he bring even one of these to God, that confession surely damns the others in the public eye, and none may doubt more that they are all linked to Hell. This way unconfessed and claiming innocence, doubts are multiplied and many honest people will weep for them, and our good purpose is lost in their tears.” Parris to DanforthFlawed theocracy: He hopes Hale will get everyone to confess; asking for postponement. If they execute innocent, then rebellion. If they execute confessed, then it seems like a good act of justice (credibility compromised). Reputation: Parris will seem like a good Reverend if people confess sins and looks like the work of God. The town would believe Parris is right and his reputation would be solid.
“I will not receive a single plea for pardon or postponement. Them that will not confess will hang. Twelve are already executed, and the the village expects to see them die this morning. Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve or pardon must cast doubt upon them that have died till now.” (pg. 1158) Danforth to Parris and HaleHe doesn’t want postponement because he will be seen as a failed judge. He doesn’t have good intentions of “ridding towns of witchcraft.” Reputation: he is stubborn, hungry for power, and lost his good will.
‘There is blood on my head! Can you not see the blood on my head!!!” (pg. 1159) Hale to DanforthHale believes he has done a grave injustic in executing 12 previous people and will not condemn the next 7. He wants it to stop. There are orphans, rotting crops, and rebelling; like Andover.Metaphor: guilt, responsible for deaths.
“Let you not mistake your duty as I mistook my own… Beware – Cleave to no faith when faith brings blood… Life, soman, life is God’s most precious gift; no principle, however glorious, may justify the taking of it.” (pg. 1159) Hale to ElizabethLife is gift, in which every must be done to prevent it from being taken away; confess and lie if that be the case. Theocracy is flawed. One can never interpret the will of God. Right by the court doesn’t mean it is right by God. Ironic: He says to Elizabeth: don’t let pride shade your eyes.
“More weight” Giles to the courtThey wanted names of people against Putnam. However, Giles didn’t say anything. He died by being pressed by great stones on his chest. He died a good Christian for good and justice; therefore, the land will go to his kids.
“I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint. It is a fraud. I am not that man. My honesty is broke…I am no good man. Nothing’s spoiled by giving them this lie that were not rotten long before.” (pg. 1161) Proctor to Elizabeth.Proctor wallows in his sins, accepting personal responsibility.
“I have sins of my own to count. It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery… I counted myself to plain, so poorly made, no honest love could come to me. Suspicion kissed you when I did; I never knew how I should say my love. It were a cold house I kept.” Elizabeth to Proctor.Elizabeth says the sin is on her soul, not John’s. She finds consultation within herself. She finally forgives John and asks for his forgiveness.
“God in Heaven, what is John Proctor, what is John Proctor?” Proctor to God, giving a prayerHe is debating whether or not to confess. Identity crisis: fraud and life, or honest and saint? Pride and reputation: does his name represent good or evil?
“It is evil. Good then, it is evil, and I do it!” (pg. 1162) Proctor to ElizabethProctor is going to turn evil and confess/lie. Some people believe evil can be good. It is all in the eye of the beholder. Like Hale said, for life, a lie is worth it. But for Proctor, is a life or a single shred of goodness more valuable?
“Courage man, courage – let her witness your good example that she may come to God herself.” Danforth to Proctor.Proctor confesses, Danforth hopes Rebecca would do the same, caving in to the pressure. She doesn’t want to lie and damn herself however. Proctor says he never saw Rebecca with the devil, defending her; he is there only to sell himself, not others. Friendship: Proctor is good and loyal.
“Beguile me not! I blacken all of them when this is nailed to the church the very day they hang for silence.” (pg. 1163) Proctor to DanforthHe is protecting his name/reputation. If the signed confession is made public, he won’t be worth his children. Danforth wants the one confession to make everyone look bad and condemn all of Proctor’s friends (AKA justify the hangings/deaths. How can Proctor live with lies? He sold his soul, all he has left is his name.
“You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs.” Proctor to Hale, Danforth, and ParrisHe takes back his confession, refusing to succumb to evil. He doesn’t have a lot of goodness, but enough to keep from the corrupted government and court. The “magic” is the miracle. Proctor FINALLY forgives himself and sees himself as a good person.
“He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him.” Elizabeth to HaleHale wants Proctor to confess, not be in pride and vanity, to live. But reality, Proctor is a good person, pride is not always bad. He deserves to die pure of heart, rather than living in a lie. Redemption is possible when one is honest, forgiving, and moves to be a better person.

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