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The Crucible | Study Guide

Arthur Miller

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The Crucible | Quotes


There is a faction that is sworn to drive me from my pulpit.

Reverend Parris, Act 1 (Betty Is Bewitched)

Reverend Parris questions Abigail Williams about the girls' dancing in the forest. He worries those who oppose him will hold him responsible for his daughter's part in this transgression and will use the incident to fire him.


You drank a charm to kill John Proctor's wife!

Betty Parris, Act 1 (Betty Is Bewitched)

Betty reminds Abigail of this after she tries to jump out the window and the older girl stops her. Betty knows the girls' actions involved sorcery, and because she was raised to follow the tenets of the Bible, this knowledge of their sin frightens her.


I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!

Abigail Williams, Act 1 (Betty Is Bewitched)

Abigail commands the girls never to admit to anything more than dancing and watching Tituba call up the dead Putnam babies. She threatens them with her knowledge of sorcery and willingness to do whatever it takes, even hurt them, to save her reputation.


I've heard you to be a sensible man, Mr. Hale. I hope you'll leave some of it in Salem.

John Proctor, Act 1 (Reverend John Hale Arrives)

Reverend Hale, an expert on witchcraft, comes to Salem to help the children recover if they have been bewitched. With everyone visiting the Parris house and insinuating how witchcraft is swirling through Salem, John Proctor remembers people referring to the reverend as a man grounded in rational thinking and appeals to him to help stop the mob hysteria.

Mary Warren returns from court and mentions Sarah Good will hang because she couldn't recite the Ten Commandments when asked. The judges interpret this as evidence the woman is a witch. Proctor asks for concrete proof instead of accepting circumstantial evidence as the truth.

Mary Warren tells the Proctors Elizabeth's name was "somewhat mentioned" in court. Understanding that a remark is as good as a conviction in the witch hunt climate of the court, Elizabeth reminds John anyone convicted of witchcraft will hang. She fears she will be a victim of this hysteria.


No man may longer doubt the powers of the dark are gathered ... upon this village.

Reverend Hale, Act 2 (Elizabeth Is Arrested)

Reverend Hale responds to John Proctor's outrage that a woman as truly pious and good as Rebecca Nurse has been charged with witchcraft. He says the evidence he has been hearing in court coincides with his belief the Devil is a "wily one," so he has yet to find solid evidence to refute his presence.


There are them that will swear to anything before they'll hang.

John Proctor, Act 2 (Elizabeth Is Arrested)

Reverend Hale has told John Proctor he has talked with Tituba and Sarah Good, among others, who have confessed to doing the Devil's work. Proctor says many people will choose the lesser punishment, in this case agreeing with lies about their actions, if it will save them from being sentenced to death. Proctor's own refusal to do so will lead to his death.


Is the accuser always holy now?

John Proctor, Act 2 (Elizabeth Is Arrested)

John Proctor says this to Reverend Hale after the minister chastises him for ripping up Elizabeth's arrest warrant. Proctor wants to know why the accuser is always believed, putting the accused in the position of being "guilty until proven innocent." He is furious anything the accusers say is considered completely truthful, but the words of those being indicted are considered suspect.


How do you know, then, that you are not a witch?

Judge Hathorne, Act 3

The judge asks Martha Corey this question during her trial when she denies being a witch because she "know[s] not what a witch is." It is a ridiculous question because Martha's answer is self-incriminating, no matter what she says. The court takes her denial as hiding the fact that she is a witch, but if she mentioned examples of witchcraft, they would convict her of sorcery, because only a witch would know about these actions.


We burn a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment.

Deputy Governor Danforth, Act 3

Deputy Governor Danforth warns John Proctor of Mary's testimony about the girls' pretense during the trials, stating it will open her to cross-examination. This interrogation will be so pointed and so unrelenting Mary will not be able to hide any facts she might not want revealed, including details incriminating

the Proctors or herself. There is an obvious reference here to a crucible, a vessel for burning.


I may shut my conscience to it no more—private vengeance is working through this testimony!

Reverend Hale, Act 3

Reverend Hale is furious the court won't call Elizabeth Proctor back in to say she lied only to support her husband. Hale correctly believes John Proctor to be an honest, Christian man and Abigail Williams a young woman driven by vengeance.


Cleave to no faith when faith brings blood.

Reverend Hale, Act 4

Reverend Hale says this to Elizabeth Proctor in the presence of Deputy Governor Danforth and Judge Hathorne because they refuse to accept the fact that the Proctors are innocent of all charges. He tells Elizabeth her husband's life is God's most precious gift. Hale is attempting to convince Elizabeth that God understands if John must lie to save his life because the court has stood on nothing but lies. God will not condemn him for confessing to something he never did in the first place because God knows the truth.


How may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?

John Proctor, Act 4

Even though he has confessed, John Proctor recants his confession by refusing to sign his name. The judges try to get him to save himself by giving them the names of friends and neighbors who might have trafficked with the Devil. Proctor has already said he knows of no one who practiced witchcraft. He avows his choice to die as he lived, with his integrity intact, so he will be a role model for his sons to emulate.


I have given you my soul; leave me my name!

John Proctor, Act 4

The judges harangue John Proctor to sign the confession he ripped up so they will have his signature as proof of his sins. Proctor states that God knows the stains on his soul. The only aspect of himself he has left to stand on is his reputation of being an honorable man, and his reputation and his name are one in the same. The play's emphasis on "naming names" and the value of a good name deliberately parallels the actions of people who informed on others for the House Un-American Activities Committee.

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