The Crucible Revision Notes

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  • Hard way of life – hard to create an existence
  • People appointed to find people who were not attending church- almost like a crime
  • Live in a close community to protect them from things in the land
  • The old disciplines start to become irrelevant – people start to feel safe
  • People left cos of harsh persecution to start a new life
  • Repressed society


  • Puritans and those who are rebelling against the puritan way of life
  • Between landscape – puritans saw it as barbaric (vicious, fatal)
  • Land war – Thomas Putnam and Francus Nurse
  • Conflict of the people against the Theocracy
  • Conflict of neighbour against neighbour
  • Outlet for wrong doing
  • Vengeance for old grudges
  • Conflict of ones conscious
  • The witch hunt became an excuse to:
  • Repress those who sought greater individual freedom
  • Became an excuse for some to express their guilt publicly
  • An excuse to seek vengeance on long held grievances against neighbours (Thomas Putnam)
  • Gain land, land lust (Thomas Putnam)
  • Based on jealousy (Anna Putnam)
  • Grieving for her dead baby

Barbaric frontier: Cruel and brutal

Subjugated: To bring under control; conquer.

Subservient: Prepared to obey others unquestioningly


Parris: pg 34.

  • Non compensated for firewood
  • See him as greedy - avaricious (Having or showing an extreme greed for wealth or material gain)
  • Concerned about his reputation in the town

Putnam pg. 34

  • Greedy + avaricious

Mr Hale

  • Authority

Abigail: I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart! I never knew what pretense Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men! And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, I cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!

  • Past affair between Abi and John Proctor
  • For Proctor, we quickly realize, their relationship belongs to the past—while he may still be attracted to her, he is desperately trying to put the incident behind him.
  • Abigail-has no such sense of closure- she begs him to come back to her, her anger overflows, and we see the roots of what becomes her targeted, destructive romp through Salem.
  • Her jealousy of Elizabeth Proctor and her fantasy that if she could only dispose of Elizabeth, John would be hers.
  • Fierce loathing of the entire town—“I never knew what pretense Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons. . . .” Abigail hates Salem, and in the course of The Crucible, she makes Salem pay.

2. I want to open myself! . . . I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil; I saw him, I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!

Outberst from Abigail after the slave-girl Tituba has confessed to witchcraft.

Abigail spent the first act worrying desperately about the possibility of being disgraced for having cast charms with her friends in the forest. Tituba’s confession, however, offers an example of a way out, and Abigail takes it. She “confesses” to consorting with the Devil, which, according to the theology of Salem, means that she is redeemed and free from guilt. Then, as the next step in absolving herself of sin, she accuses others of being witches, thus shifting the burden of shame from her shoulders to those she names. Seeing Abigail’s success, the other girls follow suit, and with this pattern of hysterical, self-serving accusations, the witch trials get underway.

3. 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 precise time—we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world. Now, by God’s grace, the shining sun is up, and them that fear not light will surely praise it.

This statement, given by Danforth in Act III, aptly sums up the attitude of the authorities toward the witch trials. In his own right, Danforth is an honorable man, but, like everyone else in Salem, he sees the world in black and white. Everything and everyone belongs to either God or the Devil. The court and government of Massachusetts, being divinely sanctioned, necessarily belong to God. Thus, anyone who opposes the court’s activities cannot be an honest opponent. In a theocracy, one cannot have honest disagreements because God is infallible. Since the court is conducting the witch trials, anyone who questions the trials, such as Proctor or Giles Corey, is the court’s enemy. From there, the logic is simple: the court does God’s work, and so an enemy of the court must, necessarily, be a servant of the Devil.

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4. 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. . . . She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whore’s vengeance. . . .

This quotation is taken from Act III, when Proctor finally breaks down and confesses his affair with Abigail, after trying, in vain, to expose her as a fraud ...

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