The Crucible Test Review
The Crucible Character Review
Abigail Williams • Orphaned niece of Rev. Parris • Mistress of Proctor • Leads “crying out” during the trial • Uses her power to rid herself of Elizabeth • Flees town when she fears the villagers are about to turn on her
John Proctor • Good man with human frailties and a guilty secret • Often the voice of reason in the play • Accused of witchcraft • Will not commit to a confession to save himself • He finds goodness in himself when he decides not to confess
Elizabeth Proctor • Wife of John Proctor • She discovered an affair going on between her husband and Abigail and turned Abigail out of her house • She is Abigail’s main target, but is saved from hanging by pregnancy • She feels responsibility for driving her husband to an affair • When John will not lie to save himself, she supports his decision because it is his way of redeeming himself and she cannot take it from him
Putnam • Vindictive, bitter villager who believes he has been wronged and cheated • Leading village voice against the witches • All but one of his children have died – he needs someone to blame • He is accused of coercing his daughter to accuse people, for example, George Jacobs, in order to gain their forfeited land.
Mrs. Putnam • Wife of Thomas Putnam • First plants the idea that Betty has been bewitched • All of her children except one have died • Sent her daughter to Tituba to cast a spell to discover the supposed murderer of her children
Ruth Putnam • Daughter of the Putnams • In a coma like state at the opening of the play because she has supposedly been “bewitched” • Involved in the “crying out” at the trials
Mercy Lewis • Putnam’s servant • Also involved in the accusation of witches (seems to enjoy it) • When Abigail flees town, it is believed Mercy goes with her
Mary Warren • Proctor’s servant • An easily swayed, weak young girl who plants the evidence of witchcraft on Elizabeth • Admits the accusations of the girls are false, but then changes her story because she fears Abigail as the other girls start to turn against her • Used by Abigail to accuse Elizabeth of witchcraft
Giles Corey • Has brought numerous lawsuits against neighbors before the courts • Thrown in jail for contempt of court for not revealing where information accusing Putnam of false witchcraft accusations against George Jacobs came from • Inadvertantly accuses his wife of witchcraft • He is eventually pressed to death when he refuses to enter a plea to the charges (pleading guilty or conviction would have meant forfeiture of his land, leaving his sons with no inheritance) • Dies for truth and honor. His last words were “more weight.”
Hathorne • One of the judges at the trial
Tituba • Parris’s slave from Barbados • First accused witch • Enlisted by Abigail and Ruth Putnam to cast spells and charms • Due to pressure and fear, admits to “consorting with the Devil” and names others as witches
Rebecca Nurse • Wife of the respected Francis Nurse • Midwife • Exemplary Christian • Accused witch who refuses to admit to witchcraft and is hanged • News of her arrest and execution shows how out of control the situation in Salem is.
Rev. Hale • A minister who is a recognized authority on witchcraft • At the play’s end tries to save the accused by convincing them to confess • Suffers guilt for he says the executed people’s blood is on his head
Sarah Good • Accused witch who cracks under the strain of imprisonment • Becomes delusional due to the harsh conditions of the jail, but is not executed because she is pregnant
Reverend Parris • A minister in Salem who is more worried about his reputation than the life of his daughter or the lives of his parishioners • Encounters the girls in the woods dancing • Not well-liked by many of the villagers and fearful for his job, Reverend Parris eventually sees the complete chaos brought on by the trials. He urges Proctor to confess and save himself
Susanna • Doctor’s messenger • Involved in the “crying out”
Cheever • Works as an official of the court to arrest the accused witches
Herrick • An official of the court who acts as the jailkeeper • Pressure of his job drives him to drink
Martha Corey • Giles Corey’s wife who is inadvertantly accused of witchcraft by her husband for reading books
Goody Osburn • Midwife at birth of three Putnam babies who were born dead • Accused and executed witch
Danforth • Deputy Governor of Massachusetts who is taken in by the testimony • He is overcome with his own power. He will not postpone the trials or executions because he is not willing to admit to any mistakes.
Betty Parris • Parris’s young daughter • Until Abigail gives her a valid explanation for dancing in the woods, she lies mute in her bed, terrified of her father • One of the girls who “cries out” during the trial, she is weak and terrified. She is easily made Abigail’s fool.
The Crucible The Setting
Act One, Setting and Summary • Act One takes place in the home of Reverend Parris. Conflicts, resentments, and motives for accusing others all surface in this act, which begins with witchcraft and ends with a chilling “crying out” of those who supposedly kept company with the devil. The tragedy of Salem is set in motion.
The Motives • Fear • Self-preservation • Spite and malice
Act Two, Setting and Summary • Act Two is set in the home of the Proctors as the Salem troubles visit their doorstep. We learn that Abigail has accused Elizabeth of witchcraft. Haunted by Abigail’s accusation as a consequence of his affair, John Proctor must decide if he has the courage to publicly admit his affair in order to save his wife.
Act Three, Summary and Setting • Set in the Salem courtroom, the Third Act reveals that Justice is not always as it is depicted. As characters with varying and often opposing motives take the stand, it becomes clear that the search for justice can be affected by human impulses, both ill and well meant.
Act Four, Summary and Setting • The setting turns to the jail as the morning of John’s execution arrives. The judges force John to decide whether he will live or die. Proctor must search his soul to discover if he is strong enough to face death rather than to be dishonest. In the end, he finds goodness in himself by choosing to die rather than to be dishonest.