The Crucible Act IV Study Guide Questions
1. What explanation does Cheever give for Parris’s “mad look”? • He thinks it is caused by the cows. In other words, the cows are left wandering since their masters are in jail, and there is much contention in the town about ownership.
2. What did Abigail do? • Abigail stole money from Parris and disappeared, reportedly left on a ship.
3. Parris says, “You cannot hang this sort. There is danger for me.” What “sort” does he mean, and what is the danger to him? • Proctor, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Martha and others were upstanding and respected citizens. • Since Parris was so involved with the prosecution of these individuals, he was beginning to get threats on his life.
4. Explain Danforth’s reason that a pardon would not be just. • If he would pardon the remaining accused, the people who had been hanged would have died in vain. • Rather than admit that the court could have been wrong and therefore admit the others may have been hanged unjustly, he though it better to continue hanging people so all accused would get the same treatment from the court.
5. Why has Hale come back to Salem? • To encourage the accused to confess and save their lives. • He feels guilt about the proceedings.
6. What does Hale want Elizabeth to do? • Hale wants Elizabeth to convince Proctor to confess.
7. What happened to Giles? • Giles was pressed to death during questioning.
8. Proctor says, “My honesty is broke, Elizabeth, I am no good man.” Explain. • At this point, he has decided to confess even though he is not guilty. He is telling a lie to save his own life. That in itself takes away his goodness, his honesty. • At first, he doesn’t want to confess. He still doesn’t like Parris.
9. What “confession” did Elizabeth make to John? • She feels she is also responsible for his affair with Abigail. She thinks if she had been a better, warmer wife, he would not have been inclined to place his affections elsewhere.
10. What did Proctor do after he signed the confession? Why? • When he learned that his written confession would be posted in public and used to convince others to confess, he tore it up.
11. “I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” Explain. • He is ashamed for sacrificing his true beliefs to save his life by confessing to a lie; he feels that by signing his name for all to see he is giving away his final shred of dignity and respect.
12. “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!” What does Elizabeth mean? • If she were to convince Proctor to give a public confession, his goodness would be lost. She recognized the importance of Proctor’s eternal well-being and wished that for him over her own desires. Since he tears up the confession, he has his honor back.
Parris is a dynamic character. Prove it. While Parris is still concerned about himself, especially his safety, but by the end of Act IV, he is concerned for others, including Proctor. He sides with Hale that the proceedings should be postponed because of the threat of riots. He is upset that Abigail took his money, but he is more upset that innocent people will die.
What people serve as examples for John Proctor? Rebecca Nurse, Giles and Martha Corey all faced death with dignity and honor.