Section c: drama answer either question 9

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Answer EITHER QUESTION 9 (essay question) OR QUESTION 10 (contextual question).


“Although they both heighten the tension and suspense of the play, Abigail Williams’ and Elizabeth Proctor's differences lead to turmoil due to their desire for one man's love.”

With this assessment in mind, in an essay of 400 – 450 words (2 - 2½ pages), compare and contrast the

roles of Elizabeth Proctor and Abigail Williams. [25]

Read the extract below and answer the questions that follow.

Hale Ah! The stoppage of prayer – that is strange. I’ll speak further on that with you.

Giles I’m not saying she’s touched the Devil, now, but I’d admire to know what books she reads

and why she hides them. She’ll not answer me, y’see.

Hale Aye, we’ll discuss it. (To all) Now mark me, if the Devil is in her you will witness some

frightful wonders in this room, so please to keep your wits about you. Mr Putnam, stand 5

close in case she flies. Now, Betty, dear will you sit up? (Putnam comes in closer,

ready-handed. Hale sits Betty up, but she hangs limp in his hands.) Hmmm. (He observes her carefully. The others sit breathlessly.) Can you hear me? I am John Hale, minister of Beverly.

I have come to help you dear. Do you remember my two little girls in Beverly? (She does not

stir in his hands.) 10

Parris (in fright): How can it be the Devil? Why would he choose my house to strike? We have all

manner of licentious people in the village!

Hale What victory would the Devil have to win a soul already bad? It is the best the Devil wants,

and who is better than the minister?

Giles That’s deep, Mr Parris, deep, deep! 15

Parris (with resolution now): Betty! Answer Mr Hale! Betty!

Hale Does someone afflict you, child? It need not be a woman, mind you, or a man. Perhaps some

bird invisible to others comes to you – perhaps a pig, a mouse, or any beast at all. Is there

some figure bids you fly? (The child remains limp in his hands. In silence he lays her back on

the pillow. Now, holding out his hands towards her, he intones) ‘In nominee Domini Sabaoth 20

sui filiique ite ad infernos.’ (She does not stir. He turns to Abigail'>Abigail, his eyes narrowing.)

Abigail, what sort of dancing were you doing with her in the forest?

Abigail Why – common dancing is all.

Parris I think I ought to say that I – I saw a kettle in the grass where they were dancing.

Abigail That were only soup. 25

Hale What sort of soup were in this kettle, Abigail?

Abigail Why, it were beans – and lentils, I think, and –

Hale Mr. Parris, you did not notice, did you, any living thing in the kettle? A mouse, perhaps,

a spider, a frog - ?

Parris (fearfully) I – do believe there were some movement - in the soup. 30

Abigail That jumped in, we never put it in!

Hale (quickly): What jumped in?

Abigail Why, a very little frog jumped –

Parris A frog, Abby!

Hale (grasping Abigail): Abigail, it may be your cousin is dying. Did you call the Devil last night? 35

Abigail I never called him! Tituba, Tituba …

Parris (blanched): She called the Devil?

Hale I should like to speak with Tituba.

Parris Goody Ann, will you bring her up? (Mrs Putnam exits)

Abigail I know not – she spoke Barbados. 40

Hale Did you feel any strangeness when she called him? A sudden cold wind, perhaps? A trembling below the ground?

Abigail I didn’t see no Devil! (Shaking Betty.) Betty wake up. Betty! Betty!

Hale You cannot evade me, Abigail. Did your cousin drink any of the brew in that kettle?

Abigail She never drank it! 45

Hale Did you drink it?

Abigail No, Sir!

Hale Did Tituba ask you to drink it?

Abigail She tried, but I refused.

Hale Why are you concealing? Have you sold yourself to Lucifer? 50

Abigail I never sold myself! I’m a good girl! I’m a proper girl!

(Mrs Putnam enters with Tituba, and instantly Abigail points at Tituba.)

Exam Quotes

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10.1 Account for the presence of Reverend Hale in this extract. (2)

10.2 Refer to lines 2–3: ‘I’m not saying she’s touched the Devil ... she’ll not answer me, y’ see.”
Explain why, later in the play, this will have tragic consequences for Giles. (2)
10.3 Refer to lines 11–12: ‘How can it be the Devil? ... licentious people in the village!’
Discuss carefully the reasons for Parris’ fears and concerns about the ‘Devil’. (3)
10.4 Hale declares in lines 13–14: ‘What victory would the Devil have ... better than the minister?’
Critically discuss the irony of these lines in the play as a whole. (3)
10.5 Refer to lines 28–30: ‘Mr Parris ... in the soup.”
10.5.1 Critically evaluate Hale’s cross-examination style both in these lines and in the extract as a

whole. (3)

10.5.2 Comment on Parris’ response. (2)
10.6 Do you agree with Abigail’s assessment that she is “a good girl!” (line 51)? Justify your answer. (3)
10.7 Refer to the final stage direction: ‘Mrs Putnam enters ... instantly Abigail points at Tituba.’
Discuss how a major theme of the play is indicated in this stage direction. Support

your answer with appropriate examples from the play as a whole. (3)

10.8 Comment critically on the role of women in The Crucible, using this extract as the basis for your

answer. (4)



“Although they both heighten the tension and suspense of the play, Abigail Williams’ and Elizabeth Proctor's differences lead to turmoil due to their desire for one man's love.”

With this assessment in mind, in an essay of 400 – 450 words (2 - 2½ pages), compare and contrast the

roles of Elizabeth Proctor and Abigail Williams.

  • One of their major similarities is they both love John Proctor. Elizabeth loves him because he was her husband, they have shared their lives together, and they have children together. Abby loves him for the lust. She only wants him because she knows she cannot have him. They might both love him, but for very different reasons. Elizabeth loves him for all the right reasons, while Abby loves him for selfish reasons.

  • Selfishness is one of the ways they are different. Abby is selfish while Elizabeth is selfless. Abigail accuses innocent people of witchcraft just so she can be with John Proctor. This idea backfired on her and her selfishness actually got John killed. Elizabeth is selfless because she did not try to stop John from being hanged. She knew that he was happy with himself. She knew that he would either live with himself as a liar or die knowing he told the truth. Selfishness is the first way that Abby and Elizabeth are very different women.

  • Another they are the same is they are both liars. Again this time they have different motives for lying. Elizabeth lies to protect John’s reputation. She could have saved herself by saying he had cheated, but she chose not to. Abigail lies to get what she wants. She lies about Elizabeth being a witch so she can have John Proctor. Lying is one of the biggest sins in the Puritan religion

  • Religion is another way they are different. Abigail does several things in the play that were against her religion. She dances in the forest, she lies in court and she could be considered a murderer. Abby gets countless people killed by breaking her religion. Elizabeth was a good Puritan. She was conservative and would not lie. The only time she lied was to protect her husband. She could have lied and said she was a witch but she did not. Elizabeth’s morals were much higher than Abigail’s.

  • Abby is revengeful and Elizabeth is forgiving. Abby takes revenge on Elizabeth for firing her and she takes revenge on the town for John denying her.

  • Elizabeth is a very forgiving woman. It would be hard to forgive any man that cheated. She could have easily ruined his reputation by telling the whole town about what he had done.

  • In conclusion, Abby and Elizabeth are very different characters. They have some similar qualities (broadly speaking), but with different motives. They both loved John Proctor and they both were liars IN DIFFERENT CONTEXTS On the other hand, Abigail was selfish, not very religious, and revengeful, while Elizabeth was selfless, religious, and forgiving.


10.1 Hale is called on to exorcise evil spirits / determine validity of claims of witchcraft

Betty suffering from some afflictions that may be connected with witchcraft (2)
10.2 Giles Corey accidentally causes his wife to be accused of doing witchcraft.

She gets arrested and in a plea to save her, he alleges that Putnam is involved in accusations (an allegation by Giles that he prompted his daughter to accuse George Jacobs of witchcraft. Should

Jacobs hang, he would forfeit his property, and Putnam is the only person in Salem with the money to purchase such a tract. Giles refuses to name the man who gave him the information because he does not want to open him to Putnam's vengeance)

Corey is charged with contempt of court, he dies when the court orders him weighted with stones to

get him to admit the name.

[the two main ideas essential – this is just story recall!] (2)

10.3 Rev. Parris is chiefly worried about his ministerial post. Government in Puritan New England is a theocracy; ruled by God, administered by clergy. Parris fears that his enemies will use the scandal of the girls dancing in the woods,(His daughter Betty and his niece, Abigail, are involved in the incident) and the witchcraft to declare him unfit for the pulpit.

Losing his power would also hurt him financially (Parris’ avarice is hinted at by Proctor) (3)


The irony is that the accused realize who the Devil really is in this play. They can see the bigger picture. They are being accused unfairly, with no evidence. While trying to defend his wife, Elizabeth, John Proctor is also accused of witchcraft. When trying to reveal the true intentions of Abigail, John states, "I'll tell you what's walking Salem-vengeance is walking Salem and common vengeance writes the law!" He admits to sleeping with her and destroys his name just to save his wife from the noose. His confession is still not enough. (3)

10.5.1 Hale blindly leads the “witness” into making compelling confessions and observations about things they could have seen instead of interrogating what they may (or may not have seen). He does not extract information scientifically but builds hysteria through putting the answers for what he is looking in the actual questions. Although his intentions are honest and compassionate, his rigid way of defining the concept of Evil (and its independent existence) is perhaps what flaws his methods ultimately.

[Look for good ideas around these points] (3)

10.5.2 Parris is terrified at what is happening (“fearfully”); he is horrified at the implications

He also shifts blame and the focus towards Abigail (2)

10.6 Abigail’s lying and false accusations in the play do not qualify much goodness within her.

She could be a victim of her circumstances but largely in the play there is not much to redeem her.

[Look for well-detailed answers with appropriate examples from the play] (3)

10.7 Abigail’s reaction to the mounting pressure determines the way in which the rest of the witch trials will play out. Because she can no longer truly deny her involvement in witchcraft, she accepts her guilt but displaces it onto Tituba. She admits being involved in witchcraft but declares that Tituba forced her into it.

This connects with themes such as finger-pointing / mass hysteria.

[Look for well-detailed answers with appropriate examples from the play] (3)


Consider points such as scapegoating of women / girls; male patriarchal voice of logic (in Hale); the framing of Tituba; Betty and Abigail being petrified of the wrath of Parris; women as a disempowered and repressed group find release in activities such as “dancing naked” – the hum around could resonate a dark fear of female sexuality

[For full marks, there must be a critical element on the role and a comment on the success of this portrayal] (4)

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