The Crucible Summary

Topics: Salem witch trials, The Crucible, People of the Salem witch trials Pages: 6 (1914 words) Published: January 23, 2014
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· Act One Summary
Table of Contents
· AP English Language
· AP English Literature
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The Crucible Summary
How It All Goes Down
Act I of The Crucible opens with Salem’s minister, the Reverend Parris, watching over his sick daughter Betty, wondering what is wrong with her. We soon learn that the entire town is buzzing with rumors that Betty is sick because of witchcraft. Rev. Parris had seen both Betty and his niece Abigail dancing in the forest with his slave, Tituba, the night before. That evening in the forest, he also saw a cauldron and a frog leaping into it. When first questioned, Abigail denies that she or Betty have been involved in witchcraft, but she admits that they were dancing in the forest with Tituba. Abigail lives in the Parris household because her own parents are dead. She used to live at the home of John and Elizabeth Proctor, but they asked her to leave for some mysterious reason.

When another couple, Thomas and Ann Putnam, arrives at the Parris household, they admit that they actually consulted Tituba, hoping she could conjure up the spirits of their seven dead children. They wanted to find out why all seven died so soon after childbirth. To Reverend Parris’s horror, the Putnams emphatically state that his slave Tituba consorts with the dead. The Putnams’s only living daughter, Ruth, is now struck by a similar ailment as Betty Parris, and this obviously has the Putnams up in arms.

When the minister and the Putnams are out of the room, Abigail threatens to harm the three other young girls in the room if they speak a word about what they did in the forest with Tituba.

John Proctor comes to see what is wrong with Betty. He confronts Abigail, who says that Betty is just pretending to be ill or possessed by evil spirits. As Proctor and Abigail have this conversation, it becomes clear that the two of them had an affair while Abigail worked in the Proctor household and Proctor’s wife, Elizabeth, was ill. Abigail tries to flirt with Proctor, but he firmly tells her that their relationship is over. Abigail blames Elizabeth for his behavior, and tells him that they will be together again someday.

Reverend Parris and the Putnams return, and soon, the Reverend Hale arrives at the Parris home. Hale is a famed witch expert from a nearby town. Suddenly, in front of Reverend Hale, Abigail changes her story and begins to suggest that Tituba did indeed call on the Devil. Tituba, surprised at this accusation, vehemently denies it. But when Rev. Hale and Rev. Parris interrogate Tituba, under pressure she confesses to witchcraft, and fingers several other women as “witches” in the village, including Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne. While Tituba and Abigail are accusing women in the town, several other young girls, including Mary Warren (who now works in John Proctor’s household) follow Abigail’s lead and begin accusing other women as well.

Act II opens in the Proctors’ kitchen. Proctor and his wife Elizabeth mourn that their own household helper, Mary Warren, is caught up in the frenzy of accusations. Elizabeth is afraid. They know that Abigail is behind these accusations, and Elizabeth urges Proctor to go to town and reveal that Abigail basically said it was all a hoax. Elizabeth makes an allusion to the affair Proctor had with...
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