The Crucible Summary

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  • Created on: 08-05-13 19:15

The Crucible Summary


Act one

Rev. Parris is praying over his daughter, Betty Parris, who lies as if unconscious in her bed. Conversations between Rev. Parris, his niece Abigail Williams and several other girls reveal that the girls, including Abigail and Betty, were engaged in heretical activities in a nearby forest, apparently led by Tituba, Parris's slave from Barbados. Parris had discovered them, whereupon Betty fainted and has not yet recovered. The townspeople do not know exactly what the girls were up to, but there are rumors of witchcraft.

John Proctor enters the room in which Betty lies in bed, and Abigail, otherwise alone, tries to seduce him. It does not work, but it is revealed that Abigail and Proctor engaged in a previous affair and that Abigail still has feelings for him.

Reverend John Hale is summoned from Beverly to look upon Betty and research the incident. He is a self-proclaimed expert in occult phenomena and is eager to use his acquired learning. He questions Abigail, who accuses Tituba of being a witch. Tituba, afraid of being hanged and threatened with beating, professes faith in God and accuses fishy Goodwives Sarah Good and Osburn of witchcraft. Betty, now awake, claims to have been bewitched and also professes her faith in God. Betty and Abigail sing out a list of people whom they claim to have seen with the Devil.

Act two

Elizabeth questions Proctor to find out if he is late for dinner because of a visit to Salem. She tells him that their housemaid, Mary Warren, has been there all day. Having forbidden Mary from going to Salem, Proctor becomes angry, but Elizabeth explains that Mary has been named an official of the court.

Elizabeth tells Proctor that he must reveal that Abigail is not who everyone thinks she is. He declares that he cannot prove what she told him because they were alone when they talked. Elizabeth becomes upset because he has not previously mentioned this time alone with Abigail. Proctor believes that she is accusing him of resuming his affair with Abigail. An argument then ensues between the two.

Mary returns, and Proctor is furious that she has been in Salem all day. However, she advises that she will be gone every day because of her duties as an official of the court. Mary gives Elizabeth a poppet that she made while in court, tells the couple that thirty-nine people are now in jail, and that Goody Osborne [sic] will hang for her failure to confess to witchcraft. Proctor is angry because he believes the court is condemning people without solid evidence. Mary states that Elizabeth has also been accused, but, as she herself defended her, the court dismissed the accusation.

Elizabeth tells Proctor that she believes Abigail will accuse her of witchcraft and have her executed because she wants to become Proctor's wife. Elizabeth asks Proctor to speak to Abigail and tell her that no chance exists


Paul Dutton


A detailed guide to each act of the play.  Good for revision of plot.