The Crucible Quotes

Abigail: “I want to open myself! I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil; I saw him, I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!” (Act 1, page 45). Abigail sees that confessing to witchcraft gets Tituba positive attention, and makes her a sudden credible source to accuse others, so of course she decides to admit she has sinned but wants to change to win the hearts of Salem. A major theme of the play is blame, vengeance, and mistaken innocence, all of which are addressed in this quote.
Abigail: “Oh posh! We were dancin’ in the woods last night and my uncle leaped in on us. She took fright, is all,” (Act 1, page 20). Before Abigail realizes that providing details of what she did could allow her to sabotage other girls in the village, she lies by emission, and simply shares the basics, leaving out anything that could make her look like she had done any wrong. Because she feels intimacy and connection with John Proctor, she tells him only the truth of it being a game instead of witchcraft. The theme of this quote is lying for personal gain being ever-present.
Abigail: “…I never knew what pretense Salem was, I knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men! And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, I cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet! John, pity me, pity me!” (Act 1, page 22). Abigail has no sense of credibility. She blames others for bewitching her, for her falling in love with a man who wanted nothing more than sex. She figures if she blames someone else she will get the pity she is constantly begging for. The theme of this quote is lying for personal gain being ever-present.
Rebecca: “I think she’ll wake in time. Pray calm yourselves. I have eleven children, and I am twenty-six times a grandma, and I have seen them all through their silly seasons, and when it come on them they will run the Devil bowlegged with their mischief,” (Act 1, page 25). Rebecca is one of the very few characters in the book who even considers that the girls could be just playing games for attention, which is precisely the case, but most of the characters are desperate to find a scapegoat for their own vengeance. The theme frequently hinted at by the author but not by characters is children wanting attention.
Putnam: “Sarah Good? Did you ever see Sarah Good with him [the devil]? Or Osburn?” (Act 1, page 43). The worst possible way to find the truth is to give the person in question a perfect lie to tell. While interrogating Tituba, the first instinct is to give her a list of other women she can use to draw the attention off herself, and blame, yet this is a frequently occurring theme during the Salem trials.
Elizabeth: “You were alone with her?” (Act 2, page 51). This one sentence conveys the lack of trust in the Proctor marriage after John’s affair with Abigail. Even a conversation between the two of them is seen as a reason for fear. The theme is trust and who it should be placed in, because throughout the play all the wrong types of people are being taken as credible sources.
Elizabeth: “It is her dearest hope, John, I know it. There be a thousand names; why does she call mine? There be a certain danger in calling such a name – I am no Goody Good that sleeps in ditches, nor Osburn, drunk and half-witted. She’d dare not call out such a farmer’s wife but there be monstrous profit in it. She thinks to take my place, John,” (Act 2, page 59). The she is Abigail, and of course she’s after John Proctor in the hopes they can reunite and begin a new chapter, but the only way is to remove his wife from the picture. The theme is the social structure of Salem.
Cheever: “The girl, the Williams girl, Abigail Williams, sir. She sat to dinner in Reverend Parris’s house tonight, and without word nor warnin’ she falls to the floor. Like a struck beast, he says, and screamed a scream that a bull would weep to hear. And he goes to save her, and, stuck two inches in the flesh of her belly, he draw a needle out. And demandin’ of her how she come to be so stabbed, she testify it were your wife’s familiar spirit pushed it in,” (Act 2, pages 70-71). By using spectral evidence, they finally “have” something against Elizabeth. There is absolutely no evidence to convey anything, yet Abigail’s word is trusted simply because she confessed and began blaming other girls. The theme is spectral evidence.
Mary Warren: “She’ll kill me for sayin’ that! Abby’ll charge lechery on you Mr. Proctor!” (Act 2, page 76). Abby’s gotten so far up in social standing, that no one can stop her from escalating in her accusations, and at this point people trust her more than Mr. Proctor, and she can manipulate their affair to her advantage. The theme is manipulation.
Elizabeth: “I cannot think the Devil may own a woman’s soul, Mr. Hale, when she keeps an upright way, as I have.” (Act 2, page 67). A frequent theme of The Crucible is the line between sin and morality. Morality is seen as proof of innocence by her and most likely by Salem people, and by her bringing up her own morality, she somewhat hints to her belief that Abigail lacks morality.
Parris: “They’ve come to overthrow the court, sir! This man is—” (Act 3, page 82). Throughout Act 3, it is frequently presented as if anyone disagreeing with Abigail and her accusations is a traitor to the court. A theme is peer pressure and mob mentality.
Parris: “Why could there not have been poppers hid where no one ever saw them?” (Act 3, page 96). Parris, who in the beginning wanted nothing to do with the witchcraft trials, is now in love with the attention over the girls living in his home, and is quick to even search for evidence hiding in places that don’t exist. The theme is paranoia.
Giles: “Aye, now she is solemn and goes to hang people!” (Act 3, page 97). Giles makes a fair point. If Abigail is so close to God now, why is her goal to lock up and hang the women around her instead of help them find God? The theme is the pedestal of Abigail’s status.
Parris: “I can only say, sir, that I never found any of them naked, and this man is—” (Act 3, page 97). Now even a man of the cloth is caught up in the lying and changing of stories. Just two acts earlier he was yelling at Abigail that he saw someone naked and dancing, while she denied it, and now he lies too. The theme is getting caught up in lies.
Mary Warren: “My name, he want my name. ‘I’ll murder you,’ he says, ‘if my wife hangs! We must go and overthrow the court,’ he says!” (Act 3, page 110). Mary begins the act ready to testify for John and put an end to it all, and once the chaos begins and witchcraft is tied to her name, she decides to blame him to protect her life. The theme is the constant search for others to blame.
Elizabeth: “He were not hanged. He would not answer aye or nay to his indictment; for if he denied the charge they’d hang him surely, and auction out his property. So he stand mute, and died Christian under the law. And so his sons will have his farm. It is the law, for he could not be con-demned a wizard without he answer the indictment, aye or nay.” (Act 4, page 125). Giles is part of how the play receives its title. A crucible is resistant to flame, much like Giles was tolerant of the stones on his chest. The theme is not giving in.
Elizabeth: “Great stones they lay upon his chest until he plead aye or nay. They say he give them but two words. ‘More weight,’ he says. And died.” (Act 4, page 125). Giles refused to confess because he felt it wrong why he was being asked to, so he refused. The theme is following your morals.
Danforth: “Do you sport with me? You will sign your name or it is no confession, Mister!” (Act 4, page 142). Any questioning of the court is instantly treated like an attack on justice, even when it is a fight in favor of justice. The theme is the mob mentality.
Proctor: “You will not use me! I am no Sarah Good or Tituba, I am John Proctor! You will not use me! It is no part of salvation that you should use me!” (Act 4, page 143). John Proctor is one of the characters that earned the title of Crucible, as the flames of the judges will not damage him, and he refuses to throw in names to blame, reinforcing the theme of being human crucibles.
Danforth: “Is that document a lie? If it is a lie I will not accept it! What say you? I will not deal in lies, Mister! (Proctor is motionless.) You will give me your honest confession in my hand, or I cannot keep you from the rope. Proctor does not reply. Which way do you go, Mister?” (Act 4, page 144). Yet again the play turns to a “you’re with us or against us”. There is definitely a reoccurring theme of a battle against the popular but wrong ideal.

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