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The play begins in a small town during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
The play takes place in Salem, Massachusetts. The event takes place in the Puritan society. The community is portrayed as superstitious and gullible. The Crucible is based on a true story so the setting is real.
The Crucible starts out in the bedroom of Betty Parris, the sick daughter of the towns preacher Samuel Parris. The village people began to spread the rumor that witchcraft is the cause of Bettys illness. The Reverend John Hale is sent for by Mr. Parris to find out what is happening, because Hale is a investigator on strange events involving witchcraft. Samuel accuses and questions Abigail Williams, his niece, of dancing and chanting around a fire in the woods with Betty and his slave, Tituba to conjure up evil sprits. She denies these claims and says that she and the other girls were only dancing. The other girls are then threatened by Abigail to keep them from telling what really happened in the forest. Later in the scene, John Proctor enters the room, and Abigail talks of their affair.
Then, Tibuta confesses to witchcraft after she is interrogated by Parris and Hale under the threat of being whipped to death. She is only sentenced to a short term in prison because she accuses Sarah Good and Goody Osborne of the crime. Betty and Abigail also confess witchcraft, and start accusing almost all of the women from town to
John Proctor comes home from working in his fields to his wife, Elizabeth. They argue about his affair with Abigail.
Mary Warren, their house servant, enters. She tells of a death sentence for one of the accused witches. She gives Elizabeth a is a small doll made to represent a person.
Mary tells them that Elizabeth's name has been mentioned in the court and goes to bed. John and Elizabeth continue to argue. John Hale appears at their doorway. He is traveling to each house, talking to those who were mentioned in court, trying to find out more information about them. John says that he knows that Abigail and the other girls are not telling the truth. Two Salem citizens that have had wives arrested show up and a short time passes before a party comes to arrest Elizabeth.
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Act Three fast forwards to the Salem court house, 33 days after Act Two. Mr. Corey and Mr. Nurse present the judge with evidence that the girls are being untruthful. Judge Danforth, is the lead jude for the trial and refuses to allow the evidence but John Proctor and Mary Warren come forward to also deny Abigail's claims.
Mary and Proctor are questioned by Danforth. This reveals that Elizabeth is pregnant. After finding this out the situation is decided to be looked into more. Abigail and the other girls are called in. Corey is then arrested for contempt of court and warrants are sent out for several citizens that had supported the claims of Mr. Nurse. Parris and others try to get Mary to demonstrate how she and the other girls fainted. When she cannot, Abigail and the girls start to accuse Mary.
John admits to his affair with Abigail to make Abigail look bad. They call Elizabeth into the courtroom to support his story. John claims that Elizabeth never lies, but she does not say that John has ever strayed, in an attempt to save his name. Mary and John's claims are then thrown out. Abigail and the other girls began to act like they are being tortured by Mary. Mary resort's to accusing John Proctor, claiming that he is "in league with the Devil." John replies that "God is dead" if these events can occur. The act ends with the courtroom dissolving into confusion and chaos.
Act Four begins in a jail cell with Proctor chained to the wall cut off from the outside world. Elizabeth is sent to see him by the authorities and Revered Hale to convince Proctor to confess. Proctor gives in and confesses. Hale now spends his time with the captives praying with and advising them to confess to witchcraft, so that they can live. Proctor signs a confession, but takes it back when he finds out that Danforth is going to nail it to the church door and fears that it will ruin his name and the names of his followers. The play ends with Proctor and Rebecca Nurse being sent to the gallows.
Pride - John refused to sign the confession because he would loose his pride and good name.
Revenge - Betty, Abigail, and Tituba start naming people they do not like and wanting to harm them for a crime they committed.
Fear - The town's people's fear of the devil let the witch trials go on.
Conflict of authority - Deputy Governor Danforth had a conflict of authority by feeling like the law should be followed exactly, and that anyone who disapproved of the trials was trying to undermine him, his authority, and the church.
Puritan Ethics - Puritans such as Deputy Governor Danforth believed witchcraft, adultery, and lying were horrible sins and was dedicated to removing all witches. He rules by the law and will not allow any exceptions or anyone to try to undermine his court.
Self interest - Characters such as Reverend Parris and Abigail Williams were looking out only for themselves and resorted to unmoral actions save their own skins.
Honesty- John Procter claimed that Elizabeth was "not able to tell a lie".
Hysteria - Tibuta spreads fear and suspicion that Sarah Good and Goody Osborne were performing acts of witchcraft, causing hysteria.
Integrity - John Proctor represented integrity by choosing to die at the gallows knowing that he was right instead of living a lie the rest of his life.