The Crucible : Character Profiles - Mary Warren

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Nabilah Chowdhury, 11Ra Character Profile: Mary Warren
Character Profile: Mary Warren
Mary Warren is a character of weak determination who allows herself to be bullied constantly.
She is not an evil person, but her weak will combined with her desire to be someone in the Salem community
forces her into a situation in which she does harm to other people.
She attempts to stand up to her main pressure, Abigail Williams, in Act III, but her lack of resolve undermines
this effort and leads to the climax.
Mary Warren's extremely weak will and timid nature cause her to feed the theme in the play that people will
often succumb society pressuring them towards an easier end rather than stand up and do what they know is
right (unlike Rebecca Nurse or Proctor, who died rather than lying).
Mary Warren is used as a tool by Miller to convey the extent of the hysteria in Salem during the witch trials.
Conveyed through her subservient (obedient) nature. She begins doing as Abigail tells her to, however when
Proctor is angered after Elizabeth's arrest, she agrees to confess to lying about the witchcraft
Mary Warren's malleability emphasizes how weak most people in Salem are, buffeted first one way and then
another by whichever is the most powerful force at the time.
The fact that Mary also seems to really believe in witchcraft e.g. `I feel misty coldness climbing up my back'
(P47) reveals how deeply the belief of witchcraft has become ingrained within people.
She is also used as a stark contrast to Abigail in order to emphasize Abigail's manipulative nature. The fact
that Abigail has such a strong control over Mary Warren highlights how scheming she really is.
Mary does, however, also share some similar traits to Abigail Williams. She is similar to Abigail in that she uses
her "authority" from the witch trials in an attempt to defy Proctor. She asserts the fact that she helped
protect Goody Proctor from being arrested in an attempt to undermine the existing social hierarchy. A lowly
servant like herself has managed to protect a woman of high status such as Goody Proctor.
However, unlike Abigail, her intentions are not to exact revenge upon people in the town, but rather to do
the "right" thing (she never did take part physically in the dancing and rituals).
Mary Warren also possesses character traits similar to Reverend Hale.
She is similar to Hale, in that she has good intentions but is merely misinformed about the events that are
occurring in Salem.
She is also a torn and confused character, like Hale, trying to figure out what is true and what is false amongst
all the hysteria e.g. `I used to faint because I thought I saw sprits'- she truly did believe that she was seeing
spirits when in fact it as the influence of pack mentality.
Additionally, like Hale, Mary Warren gets a status and sense of purpose (although superficial) from the witch
trials, and she enjoys this status, as prior to the trials, she was near the bottom of the social hierarchy as a
young servant girl.
However, unlike Hale, Mary Warren appears to be unable to ultimately make the realisation that the
accusations of witchcraft were a false plot.
Mary Warren is also used by Miller to create tension, as she is constantly changing her story/opinion, which
leads to the audience anticipating what will happen next.
Quotes Analysis
`[She is seventeen, a subservient, naïve, lonely girl.]'
This quotation lets us know immediately that she is extremely timid and very naïve.
The fact that this description is provided in the stage directions illustrates that this is Mary Warren's true
character, as opposed to Abigail, who puts on a show as an innocent little girl but really has an `endless
capacity for dissembling (concealing ones true motives)'.
Mary's stark contrast to Abigail highlights Abby's manipulative nature.
GCSE English Literature Exam Notes

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Nabilah Chowdhury, 11Ra Character Profile: Mary Warren
"I am amazed you do not see what weighty work we do." + "it's God's work we do... I am an official of the
This quotation clearly demonstrates the fact that the witch trials give Mary Warren status and sense of
purpose in society; whereas she used to be near the bottom of Salem's social hierarchy as a 17 year old
servant girl, she has now become an official of the court.…read more

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Nabilah Chowdhury, 11Ra Character Profile: Mary Warren
It also depicts her as childish and naïve, because of her failure to stand up for herself and maintain her
composure. She seems to sob at almost everything, which generates a sense of sympathy in the audience,
She is horrified by what is happening, and the consequences.
[she looks up at Abigail who is staring down at her remorselessly. Then, turning to Proctor]
The fact that she is looked [down] on, emphasizes her powerlessness in the situation.…read more

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Nabilah Chowdhury, 11Ra Character Profile: Mary Warren
It also again shows how deeply the hysteria is engrained in her mind, as she is able to completely reverse her
statement so quickly.
It demonstrates her lack of independence, and an apparent need for approval, be it from Proctor or in this
case, Abigail.…read more


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