The Crucible Act 3 Study Questions

How and why does Giles Corey interrupt the court proceedings? Wanting to save his wife by proving Putnam accuses people to gain land, he begins shouting that he has evidence
What does the response of the judges to his claims suggest to him and Francis Nurse about the way the trials are being conducted? The response of the judges suggests that the accused are not allowed to defend themselves
What is a climax in a literary work? The point at which the sequence of plot events has built to the greatest emotional intensity, interest, or suspense
Which events in Act 3 might an audience see as the climax of the play? John’s admission of the crime of lechery, Elizabeth’s lie to protect her husband, or Mary Warren’s accusation of witchcraft against Proctor–any of these
Why does Proctor bring Mary Warren to court? Mary’s deposition swears that she and the other girls were pretending when they became hysterical
Why does Mary’s confession threaten Danforth, Hathorne, and Parris? If she is right, they have been condemning people based on false testimony–God’s representatives shouldn’t be so easily fooled
At this point in the play, what recurring idea seems to be the thematic focus of the play? The conflict between the individual and accepted authority
How has the view of Parris changed from the beginning of the play? Parris vehemently denied witchcraft early on in an attempt to avoid being implicated; now he attacks Corey and Proctor for questioning the existence of witchcraft
What is the rising action, plot developments leading to the climax, in Act 3? Proctor arrives with hard proof in Mary’s deposition that claims the girls are lying, Danforth does not just accept the deposition as true, and Danforth begins to pressure Proctor with accusations about John’s motive
Why does Danforth offer to let Elizabeth have her child and a year of life if John will drop his charge? It could be he is testing Proctor’s character and commitment, or he could fear the ruin of his own reputation if Proctor’s charge is proved true
Danforth tells Proctor that “The pure in heart need no lawyers”–how is this hypocritical? If “the pure in heart need no lawyers,” why is Elizabeth in prison and Rebecca Nurse condemned?
What is the connection between Francis Nurse’s petition and McCarthyism? Just as the people who signed the petition are ordered to be arrested, those who tried to defend the people McCarthy attacked were themselves attacked
What does Corey’s deposition claim? That Putnam orders his daughter to accuse Mr. Jacobs of witchcraft so that Putnam can buy his land
How is the burden of proof, proving the truth of a charge, different in a case of witchcraft? They place the burden of proof on the accused to prove the accusation is untrue
How does the burden of proof in a case of witchcraft in Salem in 1692 compare with the burden of proof in any case in our day? In Salem in 1692, the law seemed to find people guilty until they could prove themselves innocent, while today, most courts tend to consider people innocent until proven guilty
How does Danforth reveal his bias in the cases of witchcraft? He tells Mr. Hale that he wouldn’t know how to begin to defend the accused if he were a lawyer, which means he does not have an open mind
How is Danforth’s treatment of Putnam different from the way he treats Mary Warren? When Putnam denies the charge, Danforth lets it drop; when Mary Warren denies that Proctor obtained the deposition by threats, Danforth repeats his questions more forcefully
What plot development brings the rising action closer to the climax? For the first time, Proctor suggests that Abigail has a motive for wanting Elizabeth dead
What is most admirable about Mary Warren during Act 3? Though she is frightened, she refuses to lie, placing her fears for the innocent Elizabeth above her fears for her own safety
When does Abigail first begin feeling cold? When Danforth questions her truthfulness
What happens to Danforth when Abigail and the girls pretend to be chilled by a cold wind? He becomes apprehensive
How does Danforth test Proctor’s confession of lechery? He asks Elizabeth why she dismissed Abigail from her service
What does Abigail do when Hale gives his opinion of her? She pretends to see an evil spirit
Though Hale condemns Abigail for her “falseness,” he says that Elizabeth’s response is a “natural” lie–why? Elizabeth tells a lie to try and protect her husband, while Abigail’s purpose is to harm others
Why does Proctor say that “God is dead!”? He thinks the authorities and their court are tools of the Devil, who now reigns in Salem

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