Danforth, his eyes narrow on Proctor: Did you ever see Martha Corey with the Devil?
Proctor: I did not.
Danforth, realizing, slowly putting the sheet down: Did you ever see anyone with the Devil?
Proctor: I did not.
Danforth: Proctor, you mistake me. I am not empowered to trade your life for a lie. You have most certainly seen some person with the Devil. Proctor is silent. Mr. Proctor, a score of people have already testified they saw this woman with the Devil.
Proctor: Then it is proved. Why must I say it?
Danforth: Why KmustM you say it! Why, you should rejoice to say it if your soul is truly purged of any love for Hell!
Proctor: They think to go like saints. I like not to spoil their names.
Danforth, inquiring, incredulous: Mr. Proctor, do you think they go like saints?
Proctor, evading: This woman never thought she done the DevilNs work.
Danforth: Look you, sir. I think you mistake your duty here. It matters nothing what she thought - she is convicted of the unnatural murder of children, and you for sending your spirit out upon Mary Warren. Your soul alone is the issue here, Mister, and you will prove its whiteness or you cannot live in a Christian country. Will you tell me now what persons conspired with you in the DevilNs company? Proctor is silent. To your knowledge was Rebecca Nurse ever -
Proctor". I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. Crying out, with hatred: I have no tongue for it.
HALE, quickly to Danforth: Excellency, it is enough he confess himself. Let him sign it, let him sign it.
Parris, feverishly: It is a great service, sir. It is a weighty name; it will strike the village that Proctor confess. I beg you, let him sign it. The sun is up, Excellency!
Danforth, considers; then with dissatisfaction, Come, then, sign your testimony.
To Cheever: Give it to him. Cheever goes to Proctor, the confession and a pen in hand. Proctor does not look at it. Come, man, sign it.
Proctor, after glancing at the confession: You have all wit-nessed it - it is enough.
Danforth: You will not sign it?
142 The Crucible
PROCTOR: You have all witnessed it; what more is needed?
Danforth: Do you sport with me? You will sign your name or it is no confession, Mister! His breast heaving with agonized breathing, Proctor nowlays the paper down and signs his name.
Parris: Praise be to the Lord!
Proctor has just finished signing when Danforth reaches for the paper. But Proctor snatches it up, and now a wild terror is rising in him, and a boundless anger.
Danforth, perplexed, but politely extending his hand: If you please, sir.
Danforth, as though Proctor did not understand: Mr. Proctor, I must have -
Proctor: No, no. I have signed it, You have seen me. It is done! You have no need for this.
Parris: Proctor, the village must have proof that -
Proctor: Damn the village! I confess to God, and God has seen my name on this! It is enough!
Danforth: No, sir, it is -
Proctor: You came to save my soul, did you not? Here! I have confessed myself; it is enough!
Danforth: You have not con -
Proctor: I have confessed myself! Is there no good penitence but it be public? God does not need my name nailed upon the church! God sees my name; God knows how black my sins are! It is enough!
Danforth: Mr. Proctor -
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 salva-tion that you should use me!
Danforth: I do not wish to -
Proctor: I have three children - how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?
Danforth: You have not sold your friends -
Proctor: Beguile me not! I blacken all of them when this is nailed to the church the very day they hang for silence!
Danforth: Mr. Proctor, I must have good and legal proof that you -
Proctor: You are the high court, your word is good enough! Tell them I confessed myself; say Proctor broke his knees and wept like a woman; say what you will, but my name cannot -
Danforth, with suspicion: It is the same, is it not? If I report it or you sign to it?
Proctor - he knows it is insane: No, it is not the same! What others say and what I sign to is not the same!
Danforth: Why? Do you mean to deny this confession when you are free?
Proctor, with a cry of his whole soul: Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!
Danforth, pointing at the confession in ProctorLs hand: Is that document a lie? If it is a lie I will not accept it! What say you?
144 The Crucible
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?
His breast heaving, his eyes staring, Proctor tears the paper and crumples it, and he is weeping in fury, but erect.
Parris, hysterically, as though the tearing paper were his life: Proctor, Proctor!
Hale: Man, you will hang! You cannot!
Proctor, his eyes fully of tears: I can. And thereNs your first marvel, that I can. 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. Elizabeth, in a burst of terror, rushes to himand weeps against his hand. Give them no tear! Tears pleasure them! Showhonor now, show a stony heart and sink them with it! He has lifted her, andkisses her now with great passion.
Rebecca: Let you fear nothing! Another judgment waits us all!
Danforth: Hang them high over the town! Who weeps for these, weeps for corruption! He sweeps out past them. Herrick starts to lead Rebecca, whoalmost collapses, but Proctor catches her, and she glances up at him apologetically.
Rebecca: INve had no breakfast.
Herrick: Come, man.
Herrick escorts them out, Hathorne and Cheever behind them. Elizabeth stands staring at the empty doorway.
Parris, in deadly fear, to Elizabeth: Go to him, Goody Proctor! There is yet time!
From outside a drumroll strikes the air. Parris is startled. Eliza-beth jerks about toward the window.
Parris: Go to him! He rushes out the door, as though to hold back his fate. Proctor! Proctor!
Again, a short burst of drums.
Hale: Woman, plead with him! He starts to rush out the door, and then goes back toher. Woman! It is pride, it is vanity. She avoids his eyes, and moves to the window. He drops to his knees. Be his helper! - What profit him to bleed? Shall the dust praise him?Shall the worms declare his truth? Go to him, take his shame away!
Elizabeth, supporting herself against collapse, grips the bars. of the window, and with acry: He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!
The final drumroll crashes, then heightens violently. Hale weeps in frantic prayer, and the new sun is pouring in upon her face, and the drums rattle like bones in the morning air.
The legend has it that Abigail turned up later as a prostitute in Boston.
Twenty years after the last execution, the government awarded compensation to the victims still living, and to the families of the dead, However, it is evident that some people still were unwilling to admit their total guilt, and also that the factionalism was still alive, for some beneficiaries were actually not victims at all, but informers.
Elizabeth Proctor married again, four years after ProctorNs death.
In solemn meeting, the congregation rescinded the excommunica-tions - this in March 1712. But they did so upon orders of the government. The jury, however, wrote a statement praying forgive-ness of all who had suffered.
Certain farms which had belonged to the victims were left to ruin, and for more than a century no one would buy them or live on them.
To all intents and purposes, the power of theocracy in Massachu-setts was broken.
A PLAY BY ARTHUR MILLER STAGED BY JED
CAST (in order of appearance)
Reverend Orris Betty Parris Tituba Abigail Williams SUSANNA WALCOTT Mrs. Ann PUTNnaM Thomas Putnam Mercy Lewis Mary WARREN John Proctor Rebecca Nurse Giles Corky Reverend John Hh.LE Elizabeth Proctor Facets Nvasa Ezekiel Cheever Marshal Herrick Judge
Hawthorne Deputy Governor Danforth Sarah Good Hopkins Fred Stewart Janet Alexander Coolidge Walter Hampden Adele Fortin Donald Marye
The settings were designed by Boris Aronson. The costumes were made and designed by Edith Lutyens.
Presented by Kermit Bloomgarden at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York on January 22, 1953.
Acr Two, Scene 2
A wood. Night.
Proctor enters with lantern, glowing behind him, then halts, holding lantern raised. Abigail appears with a wrap over her nightgown, her hair down. A moment of questioning silence.
Proctor, searching: I must speak with you, Abigail. She does not move, staring at him.
Will you sit?
Abigail: How do you come?
Abigail, glancing about: I donNt like the woods at night. Pray you, stand closer. Hecomes closer to her. I knew it must be you. When I heard the pebbles on the window,before I opened up my eyes I knew. Sits on log. I thought you would come a good time sooner.
Proctor: I had thought to come many times.
Abigail: Why didnNt you? I am so alone in the world now.
Proctor, as a fact, not bitterly: Are you! INve heard that people ride a hundred mile to see your face these days.
Abigail: Aye, my face. Can you see my face?
Proctor, holds lantern to her face: Then youNre troubled?
Abigail: Have you come to mock me?
Proctor, sets lantern on ground. Sits next to her: No, no, but I hear only that you go to the tavern every night, and play shovel-board with the Deputy Governor, and they give you cider.
Abigail: I have once or twice played the shovelboard. But I have no joy in it.
Proctor: This is a surprise, Abby. INd thought to find you gayer than this. INm told a troop of boys go step for step with you wherever you walk these days.
Abigail: Aye, they do. But I have only lewd looks from the boys.
Proctor: And you like that not?
Abigail: I cannot bear lewd looks no more, John. My spiritNs changed entirely. I ought be given Godly looks when I suffer for them as I do.
Proctor: Oh? How do you suffer, Abby?
Abigail, pulls up dress: Why, look at my leg. INm holes all over from their damned needles and pins. Touching her stomach: The jab your wife gave meNs not healed yet, yNknow.
Proctor, seeing her madness now: Oh, it isnNt.
Abigail'. I think sometimes she pricks it open again while I sleep.
Abigail: And George Jacobs - sliding up her sleeve - he comes again and again and raps me with his stick - the same spot every night all this week. Look at the lump I have. PROCTOr: Abby - George Jacobs is in the jail all this month.
Abigail: Thank God he is, and bless the day he hangs and lets
150 The Crucible
me sleep in peace again! Oh, John, the worldNs so full of hypo-crites! Astonished,outraged: They pray in jail! INm told they all pray in jail!
Proctor: They may not pray?
Abigail: And torture me in my bed while sacred words are cominN from their mouths? Oh, it will need God Himself to cleanse this town properly!
Abigail: Why, you taught me goodness, therefore you are good. It were a fire you walked me through, and all my ignorance was burned away. It were a fire, John, we lay in fire. And from that night no woman dare call me wicked any more but I knew my answer. I used to weep for my sins when the wind lifted up my skirts; and blushed for shame because some old Rebecca called ,me loose. And then you burned my ignorance away. As bare as some December tree I saw them all - walking like saints to church, running to feed the sick, and hypocrites in their hearts! And God gave me strength to call them liars, and God made men to listen to me, and by God l will scrub the world clean for the love of Him! Oh, John, I will make you such a wife when the world is white again! She kisses hishand. You will be amazed to see me every day, a light of heaven in your house,a - He rises, backs away amazed. Why are you cold?
Proctor: My wife goes to trial in the morning, Abigail.
ABIGAIL, distantly: Your wife?
Proctor: Surely you knew of it?
AaraAii.: I do remember it now. How - how - Is she well?
Proctor: As well as she may be, thirty-six days in that place.
AaroAtr.: You said you came friendly.
Proctor: She will not be condemned, Abby.
Abigail: You brought me from my bed to speak of her?
Proctor: I come to tell you, Abby, what I will do tomorrow in the court. I would not take you by surprise, but give you all good time to think on what to do to save yourself.
Abigail, her voice small - astonished: How - ruin me?
Proctor: I have rocky proof in documents that you knew that poppet were none of my wifeNs; and that you yourself bade Mary Warren stab that needle into it.
Abigail - 0 wildness stirs in her, a child is standing here who is unutterablyfrustrated, denied her wish, but she is still grasping for her wits: 1 bade MaryWarren - ?
PRoc ToR: You know what you do, you are not so mad!
Abigail: Oh, hypocrites! Have you won him, too? John, why do you let them send you?
Proctor: I warn you, Abby!
Abigail: They send you! They steal your honesty and -
Proctor: I have found my honesty!
Abigail: No, this is your wife pleading, your sniveling, envious
152 The Crucible
wife! This is RebeccaNs voice, Martha CoreyNs voice. You were no hypocrite!
Proctor: I will prove you for the fraud you are!
Abigail: And if they ask you why Abigail would ever do so murderous a deed, what will you tell them?
Proctor: I will tell them why.
AatoAn,: What will you tell? You will confess to fornication? In the court?
Proctor: If you will have it so, so I will tell it! She utters a disbelieving laugh. I say I will! She laughs louder, now with more assurance he will never do it. Heshakes her roughly. If you can still hear, hear this! Can you hear! She is trembling, staring up at him as though he were out of his mind. You will tell thecourt you are blind to spirits; you cannot see them any more, and you will never cry witchery again, or I will make you famous for the whore you are!
Abigail, grabs him: Never in this world! I know you, John - you are this moment singing secret hallelujahs that your wife will hang!
Proctor, throws her down: You mad, you murderous bitch!
Abigail: Oh, how hard it is when pretense falls! But it falls, it falls! She wrapsherself up as though to go. You have done your duty by hei. I hope it is yourlast hypocrisy. I pray you will come again with sweeter news for me. I know you will - now that your dutyNs done. Good night, John. She is backing away,raising her hand in farewell. Fear naught. I will save you tomorrow. As she turns and goes: From yourself I will save you. She is gone. Proctor is left alone, amazed, in terror. Takes up his lantern and slowly exits.
Arthur Miller was born in New York City in 1915 and studied at the University of Michigan. His plays include Death of a Salesman
(1949), The Crucible (1953), A Memory of Two Mondays (1955), After the Fall (1963), Incident at Vichy (1964), The Price (1968), and The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972). He has alsowritten two novels, Focus (1945), and The Misfits, which was filmed in 1960, and the text for In Russia (1969) and In the Country, books of photographs by his wife, Inge Morath. The Theater Essays ofArthur Miller, edited by Robert A. Martin, was published in 1978. Hismost recent works are Timebends, a memoir, and Danger: Memory!Two Plays. He has twice won the New York Drama Critics CircleAward, and in 1949 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.