16 September 2012
The Crucible Socratic Seminar Questions
Mary enters Act II feeling weak, sad and guilty. This is first represented when she gives Elizabeth the poppet that she had hand-sewed. As the play advances, Mary breaks down in sobs while telling the Proctors about the proceedings she witnessed that day. Later, due to her strong sense of shame, Mary agrees to testify against Abigail in the high court with John. Seeing so many falsely accused people caused her to feel severely emotionally damaged, leading up to the drama of Act III.
As the trial proceeds in Act III, Mary becomes overwhelmed with fear, making her unable to explain herself and what actually happened. Fear begins to consume more and more of her. Afraid that she will die, Mary breaks under the pressure. She found it easier to lie and survive, rather than tell the truth and die.
Her accusation of John being “the Devil’s man” ultimately changes the Proctor’s lives forever. John and Elizabeth cannot see their children grow up. John feels shameful that his name has been blackened. Yet it makes John and Elizabeth’s relationship grow stronger, because they both start to appreciate the other more, apologize for their mistakes, and forgive each other.
John takes pride in his name. He cares about his reputation of not only him as a Proctor, but his children too. But when he realizes that admitting to adultery is the only way he can break off Abigail’s power, he recognizes that the goodness of the town and its people is more important than blackening his name.
John’s decides to confess in Act IV because he does not want his children to grow up without a father, and he does not want Elizabeth to live without a supporting husband. His personal integrity causes him to renounce his confession. He does not want to blacken his name any more than it already has been. And after seeing Rebecca Nurse, he realizes that he would rather die an honest man than live...
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