A small upper bedroom in the home of Reverend Samuel Parris, Salem, Massachusetts, in the spring of the year 1692

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Proctor: But if she say she is pregnant, then she must be! That woman will never lie, Mr. Danforth.

Danforth: She will not?

Proctor: Never, sir, never.

Danforth: We have thought it too convenient to be credited. However, if I should tell you now that I will let her be kept another month; and if she begin to show her natural signs, you shall have her living yet another year until she is delivered - what say you to that? John Proctor is struck silent. Come now. You say your only purpose is to save your wife. Good, then, she is saved at least this year, and a year is long. What say ' you, sir? It is done now. In convict, Proctor glances at Francis and Giles. Will you drop this charge?

PRocToR: I - I think I cannot.

Danforth, now an almost imperceptible hardness in his voice: Then your purpose is somewhat larger.

Parris: HeNs come to overthrow this court, Your Honor!

Proctor: These are my friends. Their wives are also accused -

Danforth, with a sudden briskness of manner: I judge you not, sir. I am ready to hear your evidence.

Proctor: I come not to hurt the court; I only -

Danforth, cutting him op: Marshal, go into the court and bid

Act Three


Judge Stoughton and Judge Sewall declare recess for one hour. And let them go to the tavern, if they will. All witnesses and prisoners are to be kept m the building.

Herrick: Aye, sir'. Very deferentially: If I may say it, sir, I know this man all my life. It is a good man, sir.

Danforth - it is the reflection on himself he resents: I am sure of it, Marshal.

Herrick nods, then goes out. Now, what deposi-tion do you have for us, Mr. Proctor? And I beg you be clear, open as the sky, and honest.

Proctor, as he takes out several papers: I am no lawyer, so I'll -

Danforth: The pure in heart need no lawyers. Proceed as you will.

Proctor, handing Danforth a paper: Will you read this first, sir? ItNs a sort of testament. The people signing it declare their good opinion of Rebecca, and my wife, and Martha Corey. Danforth looks down at the paper.

Parris, to enlist DanforthLs sarcasm: Their good opinion! But Danforth goes on reading, and Proctor is heartened.

Proctor: These are all landholding farmers, members of the church. Delicately, trying to point out a paragraph: If youNll notice, sir - theyNve known the women many years and never saw no sign they had dealings with the Devil.

Parris nervously moves over and reads over Dan forthLs shoulder.

Danforth, glancing down a long list: How many names are here?

Francis: Ninety-one, Your Excellency.

PaRRis,'sweating: These people should be summoned. Danforth Looks up at him questioningly. For questioning.

94 The Crucible

Francis, trembling with anger: Mr. Danforth, I gave them all my word no harm would come to them for signing this.

Parris: This is a clear attack upon the court!

Hale, to Parris, trying to contain himself: Is every defense an attack upon the court? Can no one - ?

Parris: All innocent and Christian people are happy for the courts in Salem! These people are gloomy for it. To Danforth directly: And I think you will want to know, from each and every one of them, what discontents them with you!

Hathorne: I think they ought to be examined, sir.

Danforth: It is not necessarily an attack, I think. Yet -

Francis: These are all covenanted Christians, sir.

Danforth: Then I am sure they may have nothing to fear. Hands Cheever the paper. Mr. Cheever, have warrants drawn for all of these - arrest for examination. To Proctor: Now, Mister, what other information do you have for us? Francis is still standing, horrified. You may sit, Mr. Nurse.

Francis: I have brought trouble on these people; I have -

Danforth: No, old man, you have not hurt these people if they are of good conscience. But you must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between. This is a sharp time, now, a pre-cise time - we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world. Now, by GodNs grace, the shining sun is up, and them that fear not light will surely praise it. I hope you will be one of those. Mary Warren suddenly sobs. SheNs not hearty, I see.

Proctor: No, sheNs not, sir. To Mary, bending to her, holding her hand, quietly:

Now remember what the angel Raphael saint to the boy Tobias. Remember it.

Act Three Mary Warren, hardly audible: Aye.


Proctor: KDo that which is good, and no harm shall come to thee.M

Mary Warren: Aye.

Danforth: Come, man, we wait you.

Marshal Herrick returns, and takes his post at the door.

Giles: John, my deposition, give him mine.

Proctor: Aye. He hands Danforth another paper. This is Mr. CoreyNs deposition.

Danforth: Oh? He looks down at it. Now Hathorne comes behind him and reads with him.

Hathorne, suspiciously: What lawyer drew this, Corey?

Giles: You know I never hired a lawyer in my life, Hathorne.

Danforth, finishing the reading: It is very well phrased. My compliments. Mr. Parris, if Mr. Putnam is in the court, will you bring him in? Hathorne takes the deposition, and walks to the window with it. Parris goes into the court. You have no legal training, Mr. Corey?

Giles, very pleased: I have the best, sir - I am thirty-three time in court in my life. And always plaintiff, too.

Danforth: Oh, then youNre much put-upon.

Giles: I am never put-upon; I know my rights, sir, and I will have them. You know, your father tried a case of mine - might be thirty-five year ago, I think.

Danforth: Indeed.

Giles: He never spoke to you of it?

Danforth: No, I cannot recall it.

96 The Crucible

Giles: ThatNs strange, he give me nine pound damages. He were a fair judge, your father. YNsee, I had a white mare that tinge, and this fellow come to borrow the mare -

Enter Parris with Thomas Putnam. When he sees Putnam, GilesL ease goes; he is hard.

Aye, there he is.

Danforth: Mr. Putnam, I have here an accusation by Mr. Corey against you. He states that you coldly prompted your daughter to cry witchery upon George Jacobs that is now in jail.

Putnam: It is a lie.

Danforth, turning to Giles: Mr. Putnam states your charge is a lie. What say you to that?

Giles, furious, his fists clenched: A fart on Thomas Putnam, that is what I say to that!

DANFoRth: What proof do you submit for your charge, sir?

Giles: My proof is there! Pointing to the paper. If Jacobs hangs for a witch he forfeit up his property - thatNs law! And there is none but Putnam with the; coin to buy so great a piece. This man is killing his neighbors for their land!

Danforth: But proof, sir, proof.

Giles, pointing at his deposition: The proof is there! I have it from an honest man who heard Putnam say it! The day his daughter cried out on Jacobs, he said sheNd given him a fair gift of land.

Hathorne: And the name of this man?

Giles, taken aback: What name?

Hathorne: The man that give you this information.

Giles, hesitates, then: Why, I - I cannot give you his name.

Hathorne: And why not?

Act Three


Giles, hesitates, then bursts out: You know well why not! HeNll lay in jail if I give his name!

Hathorne: This is contempt of the court, Mr. Danforth!

Danforth, to avoid that: You will surely tell us the name.

Giles: I will not give you no name, I mentioned my wifeNs name once and INll burn in hell long enough for that. I stand mute.

Danforth: In that case, I have no choice but to arrest you for contempt of this court, do you know that?

Giles: This is a hearing; you cannot clap me for contempt of a hearing.

Danforth: Oh, it is a proper lawyer! Do you wish me to declare the court in full session here? Or will you give me good reply?

Giles, faltering: I cannot give you no name, sir, I cannot.

Danforth: You are a foolish old man. Mr. Cheever, begin the record. The court is now in session. I ask you, Mr. Corey -

Proctor, breaking in: Your Honor - he has the story in confi-dence, sir, and he -

Parris: The Devil lives on such confidences! To Danforth: Without confidences there could be no conspiracy, Your Honor!

Hathorne. I think it must be broken, sir.

DANFoRTH, to Giles: Old man, if your informant tells the truth let him come here openly like a decent man. But if he hide in anonymity I must know why. Now sir, the government and central church demand of you the name of him who reported Mr. Thomas Putnam a common murderer.

Hale: Excellency -

Danforth: Mr. Hale.

98 The Crucible

Hale: We cannot blink it more. There is a prodigious fear of this court in the country -

DANFoRth: Then there is a prodigious guilt m the country. Are you afraid to be questioned here?

Hale: I may only fear the Lord, sir, bat there is fear in the country nevertheless.

Danforth, angered now: Reproach me not with the fear in the country; there is fear in the country because there is a moving plot to topple Christ in the country!

Hale: But it does not follow that everyone accused is part of it.

Danforth; No uncorrupted man may fear this court, Mr. Hale! None! To Giles: You are under arrest in contempt of this court. Now sit you down and take counsel with yourself, or you will be set in the jail until you decide to answer all questions.

Giles Corey makes a rush for Putnam. Proctor lunges and holds him.

Proctor: No, Giles!

Giles, over ProctorLs shoulder at Putnam: INll cut your throat, Putnam, INll kill you yet!

Proctor, forcing him into a chair: Peace, Giles, peace. Re-leasing him. WeNll prove ourselves. Now we will. He starts to turn to Danforth.

Giles: Say nothinN more, John. Pointing at Danforth: HeNs only playinN you! He means to hang us all!

Mary Warren bursts into sobs.

Danforth: This is a court of law, Mister. INll have no effron-tery here!

Proctor: Forgive him, sir, for his old age. Peace, Giles, weNll prove it all now.

He lifts up MaryLs chin. You cannot weep,

Act Three


Mary. Remember the angel, what he say to the boy. Hold to it, now; there is your rock.

Mary quiets. He takes out a paper, and turns to Danforth. This is Mary WarrenNs deposition. I - I would ask you remember, sir, while you read it, that until two week ago she were no different than the other children are today. He is speaking reasonably, restraining all his fears, his anger, his anxiety. You saw her scream, she howled, she swore familiar spirits choked her; she even testified that Satan, in the form of women now in jail, tried to win hex soul away, and then when she refused -

Danforth: We know all this.

Proctor: Aye, sir. She swears now that she never saw Satan; nor any spirit, vague or clear, that Satan may have sent to hurt her. And she declares her friends are lying now.

Proctor starts to hand Danforth the deposition, and Hale comes up to Danforth in a trembling state.

Hale: Excellency, a moment. I think this goes to the heart of the matter.

Danforth, with deep misgivings: It surely does.

Hale: I cannot say he is an honest man; I know him little. But in all justice, sir, a claim so weighty cannot be argued by a farmer. In GodNs name, sir, stop here; send him home and let him come again with a lawyer -

Danforth, patiently: Now look you, Mr. Hale -

Hale: Excellency, I have signed seventy-two death warrants; I am a minister of the Lord, and I dare not take a life without there be a proof so immaculate no slightest qualm of conscience may doubt it.

Danforth: Mr. Hale, you surely do not doubt my justice.

Hale: I have this morning signed away the soul of Rebecca

100 The Crucible

Nurse, Your Honor. INll not conceal it, my hand shakes yet as with a wound! I pray you, sir, this argument let lawyers present to you.

Danforth: Mr. Hale, believe me; for a man of such terrible learning you are most bewildered - I hope you will forgive me. I have been thirty-two year at the bar, sir, and I should be con-founded were I called upon to defend these people. Let you consider, now - To Proctor and the others: And I bid you all do likewise. In an ordinary crime, how does one defend the accused? One calls up witnesses to prove his innocence. But witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime, is it not? Therefore, who may possibly be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None other. Now we cannot hope the witch will accuse herself; granted? Therefore, we must rely upon her victims - and they do testify, the children certainly do testify. As for the witches, none will deny that we are most eager for all their confessions. Therefore, what is left for a lawyer to bring out? I think I have made my point. Have I not?

Hale: But this child claims the girls are not truthful, and if they are not -

Danforth: That is precisely what I am about to consider, sir. What more may you ask of me? Unless you doubt my probity?

Hale, defeated: I surely do not, sir. Let you consider it, then.

Danforth: And let you put your heart to rest. Her deposition, Mr. Proctor.

Proctor hands it to him. Hathorne rises, goes beside Danforth, and starts reading. Parris comes to his other side. Danforth looks at John Proctor, then proceeds to read. Hale gets up, finds position near the judge, reads too. Proctor glances at Giles. Francis prays silently, hands pressed together. Cheever waits placidly, the sublime official, dutiful. Mary Warren sobs once. John Proctor touches her head reassuringly. Presently Danforth

Act Three


lifts his eyes, stands up, takes out a kerchief and blows his nose. The others stand aside as he moves in thought toward the window.

Parris, hardly able to contain his anger and fear: I should like to question -

DANFoRtH - his first real outburst, in which his contempt for Parris is clear: Mr. Parris, I bid you be silent! He stands in silence, looking out the window. Now, having established that he will set the gait: Mr. Cheever, will you go into the court and bring the children here? Cheever gets up and goes out up-stage. Danforth now turns to Mary. Mary Warren, how came you to this turnabout? Has Mr. Proctor threatened you for this deposition?

Mary Warren: No, sir.

Danforth: Has he ever threatened you?

Mary Warren, weaker: No, sir.

Danforth, sensing a weakening: Has he threatened you?-

Mary Warren: No, sir.

Danforth: Then you tell me that you sat in my court, cal-lously lying, when you knew that people would hang by your evidence? She does not answer. Answer me!

Mary Warken, almost inaudibly: I did, sir.

Danforth: How were you instructed in your life? Do you not know that God damns all liars? She cannot speak. Or is it now that you lie'!

Mary Warren: No, sir - I am with God now.

Danforth: You are with God now.

Mary Warren: Aye, sir.

102 The Crucible

Danforth, containing himself: I will tell you this - you are either lying now, or you were lying in the court, and in either case you have committed perjury and you will go to jail for it. You cannot lightly say you lied, Mary. Do you know that?

Mary Warren: I cannot lie no more. I am with God, I am with God.

But she breaks into sobs at the thought of it, and the right door opens, and enter Susanna Walcott, Mercy Lewis, Betty Parris, and finally Abigail. Cheever comes to Danforth.

CHEEvER: Ruth PutnamNs not in the court, sir, nor the other children.

Danforth: These will be sufficient. Sit you down, children. Silently they sit. Your friend, Mary Warren, has given us a deposition. In which she swears that she never saw familiar spirits, apparitions, nor any manifest of the Devil. She claims as well that none of you have seen these things either. Slight pause. Now, children, this is a court of law. The law, based upon the Bible, and the Bible, writ by Almighty God, forbid the practice of witchcraft, and describe death as the penalty thereof. But likewise, children, the law and Bible damn all bearers of false witness. Slight pause. Now then. It does not escape me that this deposition may be devised to blind us; it may well be that Mary Warren has been conquered by Satan, who sends her here to distract our sacred purpose. If so, her neck will break for it. But if she speak true, I bid you now drop your guile and confess your pretense, for a quick confession will go easier with you. Pause. Abigail Williams, rise, Abigail slowly rises. Is there any truth in this?

Abigail: No, sir.

Danforth, thinks, glances at Mary, then back to Abigail: Chil-dren, a very augur bit will now be turned into your souls until

Act Three


your honesty is proved. Will either of you change your positions now, or do you force me to hard questioning?

Abigail: I have naught to change, sir. She lies.

Danforth. to Mary: You would still go on with this?

Mary Warren, faintly: Aye, sir.

Danforth, turning to Abigail: A poppet were discovered in Mr. ProctorNs house, stabbed by a needle. Mary Warren claims that you sat beside her in the court when she made it, and that you saw her make it and witnessed how she herself stuck her needle into it for safe-keeping. What say you to that?

Abigail, with a slight note of indignation: It is a lie, sir.

Danforth, after a slight pause: While you worked for Mr. Proctor, did you see poppets in that house?

Abigail: Goody Proctor always kept poppets.

Proctor: Your Honor, my wife never kept no poppets. Mary Warren confesses it was her poppet.

Cheever: Your Excellency. Danforth: Mr. Cheever.

Cheever: When I spoke with Goody Proctor in that house, she said she never kept no poppets. But she said she did keep poppets when she were a girl.

Proctor: She has not been a girl these fifteen years, Your Honor.

Hathorne: But a poppet will keep fifteen years, will it not?

Proctor: It will keep i¿ it is kept, but Mary Warren swears she never saw no poppets in my house, nor anyone else.

104 The Crucible

Parris: Why could there not have been poppets hid where no one ever saw them?

Proctor, furious: There might also be a dragon with five legs in my house, but no one has ever seen it.

Parris: We are here, Your Honor, precisely to discover what no one has ever seen.

Proctor: Mr. Danforth, what profit this girl to turn herself about? What may Mary Warren gain but hard questioning and worse?

Danforth: You are charging Abigail Williams with a mar-velous cool plot to murder, do you understand that?

Proctor: I do, sir. I believe she means to murder.

Danforth, pointing at Abigail, incredulously: This child would murder your wife?

Proctor: It is not a child. Now hear me, sir. In the sight of the congregation she were twice this year put out of this meetinN house for laughter during prayer.

Danforth, shocked, turning to Abigail: WhatNs this? Laughter during - !

Parris: Excellency, she were under TitubaNs power at that time, but she is solemn now.

GiLEs: Aye, now she is solemn and goes to hang people! Danforth: Quiet, man.

Hathorne: Surely it have no bearing on the question, sir. He charges contemplation of murder.

Danforth: Aye. He studies Abigail for a moment, then: Con-tinue, Mr. Proctor.

Proctor: Mary. Now tell the Governor how you danced in the woods.

Act Three


Parris, instantly: Excellency, since I come to Salem this man is blackening my name. He -

Danforth: In a moment, sir. To Mary Warren, sternly, and surprised: What is this dancing?

Mary Warren: I - She glances at Abigail, who is staring down at her remorselessly. Then, appealing to Proctor: Mr. Proctor -

Proctor, taking it right up: Abigail leads the girls to the woods, Your Honor, and they have danced there naked -

Parris: Your Honor, this -

Proctor, at once: Mr. Parris discovered them himself in the dead of night! ThereNs the KchildM she is!

Danforth - it is growing into a nightmare, and he turns, as-tonished, to Parris: Mr. Parris -

Parris: I can only say, sir, that I never found any of them naked, and this man is -

Danforth: But you discovered them dancing in the woods? Eyes on Parris, he points at Abigail. Abigail?

Hale: Excellency, when I first arrived from Beverly, Mr. Parris told me that. Danforth: Do you deny it, Mr. Parris?

Parris: I do not, sir, but I never saw any of them naked. Danforth: But she have danced?

Parris, unwillingly: Aye, sir.

Danforth, as though with new eyes, looks at Abigail.

Hathorne: Excellency, will you permit me? He points at Mary Warren.

Danforth, with great worry: Pray, proceed.

106 The Crucible

Hathorne: You say you never saw no spirits, Mary, were never threatened or afflicted by any manifest of the Devil or the DevilNs agents.

Mary Warren, very faintly: No, sir.

Hathorne, with a gleam of victory: And yet, when people ac- cused of witchery confronted you in court, you would faint, saying their spirits came out of their bodies and choked you -

Mary Warren: That were pretense, sir.

Danforth: I cannot hear you.

Mary Warren: Pretense, sir.

Parris: But you did turn cold, did you not? I myself picked you up many times, and your skin were icy, Mr. Danforth, you -

Danforth: I saw that many times.

Proctor: She only pretended to faint, Your Excellency. TheyNre all marvelous pretenders.

Hathorne: Then can she pretend to faint now? Proctor: Now?

Parris: Why not? Now there are no spirits attacking her, for none in this room is accused of witchcraft. So let her turn herself cold now, let her pretend she is attacked now, let her faint. He turns to Mary Warren. Faint!

Mary Warren: Faint?

Parris: Aye, faint. Prove to us how you pretended in the court so many times. MARy Warren, looking to Proctor: I - cannot faint now, sir. Proctor, alarmed, quietly: Can you not pretend it?

Act Three


Mary Warren: I - She looks about as though searching for the passion to faint. I - have no sense of it now, I -

DANFoRrth: Why? What is lacking now?

MARY Warren: I - cannot tell, sir, I -

Danforth: Might it be that here we have no afflicting spirit loose, but in the court there were some?

Mary Warren: I never saw no spirits.

PARRis: Then see no spirits now, and prove to us that you can faint by your own will, as you claim.

Mary Warren, stares, searching for the emotion of it, and then shakes her head:

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