The Crucible : Character Profiles - Rebecca Nurse

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Nabilah Chowdhury, 11Ra Character Profile: Rebecca Nurse
Character Profile ­ Rebecca Nurse
Opening Impression:
There already exist connotations of wisdom that come with age and so an initial impression of her may be a
character with greater insight and more experience than many other characters in the play.
It quickly becomes clear that Rebecca Nurse is capable of seeing past the irrational fears which has panic
stricken a whole town.
She sees the truth and does not add to the hysteria or the fear.
For her, dignity and the truth are important moral values.
The fact that she remains resolute reveals the strength of her character and, ultimately, she makes an
honorable decision leading her to martyrdom in attempt to protect her own morals like John Proctor.
Throughout the play, her role is less extreme than Proctor making her a more pragmatic and sensible
character. The kind of person that Miller seems to wish there were more of in modern America.
Quotations & Analysis:
"PARRIS [trembling]: Rebecca, Rebecca, go to her, we're lost. She suddenly cannot bear to hear the Lord's ­ "
The tone of urgency illustrates how desperate Parris he is as he admits "we're lost".
Rebecca may be portrayed as a maternal figure who provides assurance, safety, and wisdom.
She is evidently a trustworthy character who should be favored by the audience.
"REBECCA [sitting]: ...I am twenty-six times a grandma, and I have seen them all through their silly seasons"
The characterization of Rebecca in this particular quotation is particularly telling of her strong will and
Rebecca is evidently an experienced maternal figure and does not jump to the assumption that witchcraft is
the cause of Betty's "illness".
Like Proctor, Rebecca does not conform to society's intense belief in witchery.
Her tone and slow pace contrasts with that of the other characters in this scene, as she is composed and
REBECCA: If so he is, then let us go to God for the cause of it. There is prodigious danger in the seeding of
loose spirits. I feat it, I feat it. Let us rather blame ourselves and ­
PUTNAM: How may we blame ourselves? I am one of nine sons; the Putnam seed have peopled this province.
And yet I have but one child left of eight ­ and now she shrivels!
REBECCA: I cannot fathom that.
Rebecca does not hide behind "God" as other characters do. Putnam, being a representation of the rest of
the Salemite community, does not take responsibility, only blaming it on other forces which are easiest to
It is apparent that through her wisdom, Rebecca remains honest as she admits, "I cannot fathom that".
PROCTOR: I mean it solemnly, Rebecca; I like not the smell of this `authority'.
REBECCA: No, you cannot break charity with your minister. You are another kind, John. Clasp his hand, make
your peace.
John Proctor comes across as an extreme rebel whilst the rest of Salem is extremely religious
Rebecca, however, is neither. With her wisdom and experience, she is more able to control emotion which
evidently triggers Proctor's injudicious outbursts and actions.
This particular quotation reemphasizes her composed manner in which she handles situations; being more
realistic knowing that no good can come from such passionate outbursts.
GCSE English Literature Exam Notes


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