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



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I - cannot do it.

Parris: Then you will confess, will you not? It were attacking spirits made you faint!

Mary Warren: No, sir, I -

Parris: Your Excellency, this is a trick to blind the court!

Mary Warren: ItNs not a trick! She stands. I - I used to faint because I - I thought I saw spirits.

Danforth: Thought you saw them!

Mary Warren: But I did not, Your Honor.

Hathorne: How could you think you saw them unless you saw them?

Mary Warren: I - I cannot tell how, but I did. I - I heard the other girls screaming, and you, Your Honor, you seemed to believe them, and I - It were only sport in the beginning, sir, but then the whole world cried spirits, spirits, and I - I promise you, Mr. Danforth, I only thought I saw them but I did not.

Danforth peers at her.

108 The Crucible

PARRIs, smiling, but nervous because Danforth seems to be struck by Mary WarrenLs story: Surely Your Excellency is not taken by this simple lie.

Danforth, turning worriedly to Abigail: Abigail. I bid you now search your heart and tell me this - and beware of it, child, to God every soul is precious and His vengeance is terrible on them that take life without cause. Is it possible, child, that the spirits you have seen are illusion only, some deception that may cross your mind when -

Abigail: Why, this - this - is a base question, sir.

Danforth: Child, I would have you consider it -

Abigail: I have been hurt, Mr. Danforth; I have seen my blood runninN out! I have been near to murdered every day because I done my duty pointing out the DevilNs people - and this is my reward? To be mistrusted, denied, questioned like a -

Danforth, weakening: Child, I do not mistrust you -

Abigial, in an open threat: Let you beware, Mr. Danforth. Think you to be so mighty that the power of Hell may not turn your wits? Beware of it! There is -

Suddenly, from an accusa-tory attitude, her face turns, looking into the air above - it is truly frightened.

Danforth, apprehensively: What is it, child?

Abigail, looking about in the air, clasping her arms about her as though cold: I - I know not. A wind, a cold wind, has come. Her eyes fall on Mary Warren.

Mary Warren, terrified, pleading: Abby!

Mercy Lewis, shivering: Your Honor, I freeze!

Proctor: TheyNre pretending!

Act Three

109


Hathorne, touching AbigailLs hand: She is cold, Your Honor, touch her!

Mercy Lewis, through chattering teeth: Mary, do you send this shadow on me?

Mary Warren: Lord, save me!

Susanna Walcott: I freeze, I freeze!

Abigail, shivering visibly: It is a wind, a wind!

MARY Warren: Abby, donNt do that!

Danforth, himself engaged and entered by Abigail: Mary Warren, do you witch her? I say to you, do you send your spirit out?

With a hysterical cry Mary Warren starts to run. Proctor catches her.

Mary Warren, almost collapsing: Let me go, Mr. Proctor, I cannot, I cannot -

Abigail, crying to Heaven: Oh, Heavenly Father, take away this shadow!

without warning or hesitation, Proctor leaps at Abigail and, grabbing her by the hair, pulls her to her feet. She screams in pain. Danforth, astonished, cries, SWhat are you about?T and Hathorne and Parris call, STake your hands op her!T and out of it all comes ProctorLs roaring voice.

PRocToR: How do you call Heaven! Whore! Whore!



Herrick breaks Proctor from her.

Herrick: John!

DAnFoRTH: Man! Man, what do you -

110 The Crucible

Proctor, breathless and in agony: It is a whore! Danforth, dumfounded:

You charge - ? Abigail: Mr. Danforth, he is lying!

Proctor: Mark her! Now sheNll suck a scream to stab me with, but -

Danforth: You will prove this! This will not pass!

Proctor, trembling, his life collapsing about him: I have known her, sir. I have known her.

Danforth: You - you are a lecher?

Francis, horrified: John, you cannot say such a -

Proctor: Oh, Francis, I wish you had some evil in you that you might know me! To Danforth: A man will not cast away his good name. You surely know that.

Danforth, dumfounded: In - in what time? In what place?

Proctor, his voice about to break, and his shame great: In the proper place - where my beasts are bedded. On the last night of my joy, some eight months past. She used to serve me in my house, sir. He has to clamp his jaw to keep from weeping. A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know it now. I beg you, sir, I beg you - see her what she is. My wife, my dear good wife, took this girl soon after, sir, and put her out on the highroad. And being what she is, a lump of vanity, sir - He is being overcome. Excellency, forgive me, forgive me. An-grily against himself, he turns away from the Governor for a moment. Then, as though to cry out is his only means of speech left: She thinks to dance with me on my wifeNs grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, t lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whoreNs venge-ance, and you must see it; I set myself entirely in your hands, I know you must see it now.

Act Three

111


Danforth, blanched, in horror, turning to Abigail: You deny every scrap and tittle of this?

Aalu.: If I must answer that, I will leave and I will not come back again!



Danforth seems unsteady.

Proctor: l have made a bell of my honor! I have rung the doom of my good name - you will believe me, Mr. Danforth! My wife is innocent, except she knew a whore when she saw one!

Abigail, stepping up to Danforth: What look do you give me? Danforth cannot speak. INll not have such looks! She turns and starts for the door.

Danforth: You will remain where you are! Herrick steps into her path. She comes up short, fire in her eyes. Mr. Parris, go into the court and bring Goodwife Proctor out.

Parris, objecting: Your Honor, this is all a -

Danforth, sharply to Parris: Bring her out! And tell her not one word of whatNs been spoken here. And let you knock before you enter. Parris goes out. Now we shall touch the bottom of this swamp. To Proctor: Your wife, you say, is an honest woman.

Proctor: In her life, sir, she have never lied. There are them that cannot sing, and them that cannot weep - my wife cannot lie. I have paid much to learn it, sir.

Danforth: And when she put this girl out of your house, she put her out for a harlot?

Proctor: Aye, sir.

Danforth: And knew her for a harlot?

Proctor: Aye, sir, she knew her for a harlot.

Danforth: Good then. To Abigail: And if she tell me, child,

112 The Crucible

it were for harlotry, may God spread His mercy on you! There is a knock. He calls to the door. Hold! To Abigail: Turn your back. Turn your back. To Proctor: Do likewise. Both turn their backs - Abigail with indignant slowness. Now let neither of you turn to face Goody Proctor. No one in this room is to speak one word, or raise a gesture aye or nay.



He turns toward the door, calls: Enter! The door opens. Elizabeth enters with Parris. Parris leaves her. She stands alone, her eyes looking for Proctor. Mr. Cheever, report this testimony in all exactness. Are you ready?

Cheever: Ready, sir.

Danforth: Come here, woman. Elizabeth comes to him, glanc-ing at Proctor's back.

Look at me only, not at your husband. In my eyes only.

Elizabeth, faintly: Good, sir.

Danforth: We are given to understand that at one time you dismissed your servant, Abigail Williams.

Elizabeth: That is true, sir.

Danforth: For what cause did you dismiss her? Slight pause. Then Elizabeth tries to glance at Proctor. You will look in my eyes only and not at your husband. The answer is in your memory and you need no help to give it to me. Why did you dismiss Abigail Williams?

Elizabeth, not knowing what to say, sensing a situation, wetting her lips to stall for time:

She - dissatisfied me. Pause. And my husband.

Danforth: In what way dissatisfied you?

Elizabeth: She were - She glances at Proctor for a cue.

Danforth: Woman, look at me! Elizabeth does. Were she slovenly? Lazy? What disturbance did she cause?

Act Three

113

Elizabeth: Your Honor, I - in that time I were sick. And I - My husband is a good and righteous man. He is never drunk as some are, nor wastinN his time at the shovelboard, but always at his work. But in my sickness - you see, sir, I were a long time sick after my last baby, and I thought I saw my husband somewhat turning from me. And this girl - She turns to Abigail.



Danforth: Look at me.

Elizabeth: Aye, sir. Abigail Williams - She breaks op.

Danforth: What of Abigail Williams?

Elizabeth: I came to think he fancied her. And so one night I lost my wits, I think, and put her out on the highroad.

Danforth: Your husband - did he indeed turn from you?

Elizabeth, in agony: My husband - is a goodly man, sir.

Danforth: Then he did not turn from you.

Elizabeth, starting to glance at Proctor: He -

Danforth, reaches out and holds her face, then: Look at me! To your own knowledge, has John Proctor ever committed the crime of lechery? 1n a crisis of indecision she cannot speak, Answer my question! Is your husband a lecher!

Elizabeth, faintly: No, sir.

Danforth: Remove her, Marshal.

Proctor: Elizabeth, tell the truth!

Danforth: She has spoken. Remove her!

Proctor, crying out: Elizabeth, I have confessed it!

Elizabeth: Oh, God! The door closes behind her.

Proctor: She only thought to save my name!

114 The Crucible

Hale: Excellency, it is a natural lie to tell; I beg you, stop now before another is condemned! l may shut my conscience to it no more - private vengeance is working through this testimony! From the beginning this man has struck me true. By my oath to Heaven, I believe him now, and I pray you call back his wife before we -

Danforth: She spoke nothing of lechery, and this man has lied'

Hale: I believe him! Pointing at Abigail: This girl has always struck me false! She has -



Abigail, with a weird, wild, chilling cry, screams up to the ceiling.

Abigail: You will not! Begone! Begone, I say!

Danforth: What is it, child? But Abigail, pointing with fear, is now raising up her frightened eyes, her awed face, toward the ceiling - the girls are doing the same - and now Hathorne, Hale, Putnam, Cheever, Herrick, and Danforth do the same. WhatNs there? He lowers his eyes from the ceiling, and now he is fright-ened; there is real tension in his voice. Child! She is transfixed - with all the girls, she is whimpering open-mouthed, agape at the ceiling. Girls! Why do you - ?

Mercy Lewis, pointing: ItNs on the beam! Behind the rafters

Danforth, looking up: Where!

Abigail: Why - ? She gulps. Why do you come, yellow bird?

Proctor: WhereNs a bird? I see no bird!

Abigail, to the ceiling: My face? My face?

Proctor: Mr. Hale -

Danforth: Be quiet!

Proctor, to Hale: Do you see a bird?

Danforth: Be quiet!!

Act Three

115


Abigail, to the ceiling, in a genuine conversation with the Sbird,.T as though trying to talk it out of attacking her: But God made my face; you cannot want to tear my face. Envy is a deadly sin, Mary.

Mary Warren, on her feet with a spring, and horrified, plead-ing: Abby!

Abigail, unperturbed, continuing to the SbirdT: Oh, Mary, this is a black art to change your shape. No, I cannot, I cannot stop my mouth; itNs GodNs work I do.

Mary Warren: Abby, INm here!

Proctor, frantically: TheyNre pretending, Mr. Danforth!

Abigail - now she takes a backward step, as though in fear the bird will swoop down momentarily: Oh, please, Mary! DonNt come down.

Susanna Walcott: Her claws, sheNs stretching her claws!

Proctor: Lies, lies.

Abigail, backing further, eyes still fixed above: Mary, please donNt hurt me!

Mary Warren, to Danforth: INm not hurting her!

Danforth, to Mary Warren: Why does she see this vision?

Mary Warren: She sees nothinN!

Abigail, now staring full front as though hypnotized, and mimicking the exact tone of Mary WarrenLs cry: She sees nothinN!

Mary Warren, pleading: Abby, you mustnNt!

Abigail AND All THE Girls, all transfixed: Abby, you mustnNt!

MARY Warren, to all the girls: INm here, I'm here!

116 The Crucible

Girls: INm here, INm here!

DAnFoRth, horrified: Mary Warren! Draw back your spirit out of them!

Mary Warren: Mr. Danforth!

GiRLs, cutting her op: Mr. Danforth!

Danforth: Have you compacted with the Devil? Have you?

Mary Warren: Never, never!

Girls: Never, never!

Danforth, growing hysterical: Why can they only repeat you?

PRoctoR: Give me a whip - INll stop it!

Mary Warren: TheyNre sporting. They - !

Girls: TheyNre sporting!

.Mary Warren, turning on them all hysterically and stamping her feet: Abby, stop it!

Girls, stamping their feet: Abby, stop it!

Mary Warren: Stop it!

Girls: Stop it!

Mary Warren, screaming it out at the top of her lungs, and raising her fists:

Stop it!!

Girls, raising their fists: Stop it!!

Mary Warren, utterly confounded, and becoming overwhelmed by AbigailLs - and the girlsL - utter conviction, starts to whimper, hands half raised, powerless, and all the girls begin whimpering exactly as she does.

Danforth: A little while ago you were afflicted. Now it seems you afflict others; where did you find this power?

Act Three Mary WARREN, staring at Abigail: I - have no power. Girls: I have no power. Proctor: TheyNre gulling you,

Mister!


117

Danforth: Why did you turn about this past two weeks? You have seen the Devil, have you not?

Hale, indicating Abigail and the girls: You cannot believe them! -

Mary Warren: I -

Proctor, sensing her weakening: Mary, God damns all liars!

Danforth, pounding it into her: You have seen the Devil, you have made compact with Lucifer, have you not?

Proctor: God damns liars, Mary!

Mary utters something unintelligible, staring at Abigail, who keeps watching the

SbirdT above.

Danforth: I cannot hear you. What do you say? Mary utters again unintelligibly

You will confess yourself or you will hang! He turns her roughly to face him.

Do you know who I am? I say you will hang if you do not open with me!

Proctor: Mary, remember the angel Raphael - do that which is good and -

Abigail, pointing upward: The wings! Her wings are spreading! Mary, please, donNt, donNt - !

Hale: I see nothing, Your Honor!

Danforth: Do you confess this power! He is an inch from her face. Speak!

Abigail: SheNs going to come down! SheNs walking the beam!

Danforth: Will you speak!

118 The Crucible

Mary Warren, staring in horror: I cannot! Girls: I cannot!

Parris: Cast the Devil out! Look him in the face! Trample him! WeNll save you, Mary, only stand fast against him and -

Abigail, looking up: Look out! SheNs coming down!



She and all the girls run to one wall, shielding their eyes. And now, as though cornered, they let out a gigantic scream, and Mary, as though infected, opens her mouth and screams with them. Gradually Abigail and the girls leave op, until only Mary is left there, staring up at the Sbird,T screaming madly. All watch her, horrified by this evident fit. Proctor strides to her.

Proctor: Mary, tell the Governor what they - He has hardly got a word out, when, seeing him coming for her, she rushes out of his reach, screaming in horror,

Mary Warren: DonNt touch me - donNt touch me! At which the girls halt at the door.

Proctor, astonished: Mary!

Mary Warren, pointing at Proctor: YouNre the DevilNs man!

He is stopped in his tracks.

Parris: Praise God!

Girls: Praise God!

Proctor, numbed: Mary, how - ?

Mary Warren: INll not hang with you! I love God, I love God.

Danforth, to Mary: He bid you do the DevilNs work?

Mary Warren, hysterically, indicating Proctor: He come at me by night and every day to sign, to sign, to -

Danforth: Sign what?

Act Three Parris: The DevilNs book? He come with a book?

119


Mary Warren, hysterically, pointing at Proctor, fearful of him: My name, he want my name. KINll murder you,M he says, Kif my wife hangs! We must go and overthrow the court,M he says!

DanforthLs head jerks toward Proctor, shock and horror in his face.

Proctor, turning, appealing to Hale: Mr. Hale!

Mary Warren, her sobs beginning: He wake me every night, his eyes were like coals and his fingers claw my neck, and I sign, I sign...

Hale: Excellency, this childNs gone wild!

Proctor, as DanforthLs wide eyes pour on him: Mary, Mary!

Mary Warren, screaming at him: No, I love God; I go your way no more. I love God, I bless God. Sobbing, she rushes to Abigail. Abby, Abby, INll never hurt you more! They all watch, as Abigail, out of her infinite charity, reaches out and draws the sobbing Mary to her, and then looks up to Danforth.

Danforth, to Proctor: What are you? Proctor is beyond speech in his anger. You are combined with anti-Christ, are you not? I have seen your power; you will not deny it! What say you, Mister?

Hale: Excellency -

Danforth: I will have nothing from you, Mr. Hale! To Proctor: Will you confess yourself befouled with Hell, or do you keep that black allegiance yet? What say you?

Proctor, his mind wild, breathless: I say - I say - God is dead'

Parris: Hear it, hear it!

Proctor, laughs insanely, then: A fire, a fire is burning! I hear

120 The Crucible

the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be fraud - God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!

Danforth: Marshal! Take him and Corey with him to the jail! Hale, starting across to the door: I denounce these proceedings! Proctor: You are pulling Heaven down and raising up a whore!

Hale: I denounce these proceedings, I quit this court! He slams the door to the outside behind him.

Danforth, calling to him in a fury: Mr. Hale! Mr. Hale!

THE CURTAIN FALLS

ACT FOUR

A cell in Salem jail, that fall.

At the back is a high barred window; near it, a great, heavy door. Along the walls are two benches.

The place is in darkness but for the moonlight seeping through the bars. It appears empty. Presently footsteps are heard com-ing down a corridor beyond the wall, keys rattle, and the door swings open. Marshal Herrick enters with a lantern.

He is nearly drunk, and heavy-footed. He goes to a bench and nudges a bundle of rags lying on it.

Herrick: Sarah,. wake up! Sarah Good! He then crosses to the other bench.

Sarah Good, rising in her rags: Oh, Majesty! CominN, cominN! Tituba, heNs here, His MajestyNs come!

HERRicK.: Go to the north cell; this place is' wanted now. He hangs his lantern on the wall. Tituba sits up.

Tituba: That donNt look to me like His Majesty; look to me like the marshal.

Herrick, taking out a ask: Get along with you now, clear this 121

Act Four

123


Herrick, grabbing Tituba: Come along, come along.

Tituba, resisting him: No, he cominN for me. I goin' home!

Herrick, pulling her to the door: ThatNs not Satan, just a poor old cow with a hatful of milk. Come along now, out with you!

Tituba, calling to the window: Take me home, Devil! Take me home!

Sarah Good, following the shouting Tituba out: Tell him INm goinN, Tituba! Now you tell him Sarah Good is goinN too!

In the corridor outside Tituba calls on - STake me home, Devil; Devil take me home!T and HopkinsL voice orders her to move on. Herrick returns and begins to push old rags and straw into a corner. Hearing footsteps, he turns, and enter Danforth and Judge Hathorne. They are in greatcoats and wear hats against the bitter cold. They are followed in by Cheever, who carries a dispatch case and a flat wooden box containing his writing materials.

HERRick Good morning, Excellency. Danforth: Where is Mr. Parris?

Herrick: INll fetch him. He starts for the door.

Danforth: Marshal. Herrick stops. When did Reverend Hale arrive? Herrick: It were toward midnight, I think.

Danforth, suspiciously: %hat is he about here?

Herrick: He goes among them that will hang, sir. And he prays with them. He sits with Goody Nurse now. And Mr. Parris with him.

Danforth: Indeed. That man have no authority to enter here, Marshal. Why have you let him in?

124 The Crucible

Herrick: Why, Mr. Parris command me, sir. I cannot deny him. Danforth: Are you drunk, Marshal?

Herrick: No, sir; it is a bitter night, and I have no fire here. Danforth, containing his anger: Fetch Mr. Parris.

Herrick: Aye, sir.

Danforth: There is a prodigious stench in this place.

Herrick: I have only now cleared the people out for you.

Danforth: Beware hard drink, Marshal.

Herrick: Aye, sir. He waits an instant for further orders. But Danforth, in dissatisfaction, turns his back on him, and Herrick goes out. There is a pause. Danforth stands in thought.

Hathorne: Let you question Hale, Excellency; I should not be surprised he have been preaching in Andover lately.

Danforth: WeNll come to that; speak nothing of Andover. Parris prays with him. ThatNs strange. He blows on his hands, moves toward the window, and looks out.

Hathorne: Excellency, I wonder if it be wise to let Mr. Parris so continuously with the prisoners. Danforth turns to him, inter-ested. I think, sometimes, the man has a mad look these days.

Danforth: Mad?

Hathorne: I met him yesterday coming out of his house, and I bid him good morning - and he wept and went his way. I think it is not well the village sees him so unsteady.

Danforth: Perhaps he have some sorrow.

Cheever, stamping his feet against the cold: I think it be the cows, sir.

Danforth: Cows?

Act Four


125

Cheever: There be so many cows wanderinN the highroads, now their masters are in the jails, and much disagreement who they will belong to now. I know Mr. Parris be arguinN with farmers all yesterday - there is great contention, sir, about the cows. Contention make him weep, sir; it were always a man that weep for contention. He turns, as do Hathorne and Danforth, hearing someone coming up the corridor. Danforth raises his head as Parris enters. He is gaunt, frightened, and sweating in his greatcoat.


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