The Crucible Acts III and IV Notes
Act III • As the court is in session Giles Corey interrupts by shouting that Putnam is making a grab to obtain more land and claims to have evidence to back it up. • Judge Hathorne, Deputy Gov. Danforth, and Hale and Parris join Giles and Putnam in the vestry room to discuss the matter.
As this is going on, Proctor and Mary Warren enter the room. Mary testifies that she and the other girls were only pretending to be afflicted with witchcraft. • Danforth wants to know if Proctor has told the village about Mary’s claims and also wants to know if Proctor is attempting to undermine the court.
Proctor states that he just wants to free his wife. Cheever interjects that Proctor ripped up the warrant for Elizabeth’s arrest. • Danforth then questions Proctor about his religious beliefs, especially about the fact that he only attends church once a month.
Cheever also adds that Proctor plows on Sunday, a serious offense! • Proctor is informed that Elizabeth will not be executed right away because she claims to pregnant. • She will be hanged after she delivers!
Proctor then submits a deposition to Danforth signed by 91 land-owning farmers who attest to the good character of Elizabeth, along with Martha and Rebecca. • Parris insists they all be summoned for questioning, as the deposition is an attack on the court.
Meanwhile, Putnam is led into the room to answer to an allegation by Giles that he prompted his daughter to accuse George Jacobs of witchcraft. • Giles refuses to name the man who gave him the information and arrested for contempt of court.
As a result, Giles is pressed to death by heavy stones! • Danforth sends for Abigail and her troop of girls who deny Mary’s testimony and the explanation of the doll in the Proctor home. • Mary maintains that the girls are only pretending.
Hathorne asks her to pretend to faint but Mary can not, saying she “does not have the sense of it” now. • Under continued pressure, she gives in and says she only thought she saw spirits. • Danforth pressures Abigail to be truthful and she begins to shudder. The other girls follow her lead and they accuse Mary of bewitching them with a cold wind!
Proctor leaps at Abigail and calls her a whore! He then confesses his affair with her and tells all to the court. • Danforth orders both Procter and Abigail to turn their backs while Elizabeth is questioned. • Elizabeth givers her testimony and is removed from the room.
Proctor states that he has confessed his sin but it is too late for Elizabeth to change her story. • Abigail and the girls scream and state that Mary is sending her spirit at them. As Mary pleads with them to stop, they repeat her words verbatim and the room erupts in a hysterical frenzy!
As Proctor tries to calm her, she calls him the devil’s man and accuses him of consorting with the Lucifer! • Danforth orders the arrest of Proctor against Hale’s vocal opposition. Hale then declares he is quitting the court.
ACT IV • Later in the fall, Danforth and Hathorne visit a Salem jail to see Parris and demand to know why Hale has returned to Salem. • Parris assures them that Hale only wants to save the holdout prisoners from the gallows. He reports that Abigail and Mercy have vanished from Salem.
Hale appears and begs the men to pardon the prisoners because they will not confess. • Danforth replies that pardoning them will only cast doubt about the guilt of the seven remaining prisoners and the twelve that have already hung!
As a result of the trials, the town of Salem has gone to ruin. Cows are wondering around as well as orphaned children because their parents are in jail! • EVERYONE lives in fear of being accused of witchcraft!
Danforth hopes that Elizabeth can persuade John to confess and agrees to speak with him but makes no promises. • As Elizabeth and John are alone, she states that almost one hundred people have confessed to witchcraft and that Giles was put to death.
The treatment of Proctor reveals an obsessive need to preserve the appearance of order and justification of the actions of Danforth and Hathorne, as well as their hypocrisy! • They want Proctor to sign his own confession admitting him a witch and agree with the court’s findings.
Danforth and Hathorne take advantage of Proctor’s honesty to support their claims of having conducted themselves justly. • Proctor’s refusal to sign his name shows that he will be destroyed as an honest person. • If he were to sign his name, his honesty would be forfeit.
Thus Proctor is able to die heroically and his honesty that was lost in the affair with Abigail is recovered. • Hale and Parris plead with Elizabeth to get Proctor to sign his name but she refuses, saying that he doing what he feels is just.
Epilogue • After the death of Proctor, Parris is voted out of office and leaves Salem, never to be heard from again. • According to rumor, Abigail became a prostitute in Boston. • Elizabeth remarries a few yrs. later after her husband’s execution.