The Crucible: Act One

“So now they and their chirch found it necessary to deny any other sect its freedom, lest their New Jerusalem be defiled and corrupted by wrong and deceitful ideas.” What is the irony in that statement? They left England in order to escape persecution only to enforce it upon their own people in America.
Explain how the witch-hunt years were a time of “general revenge”. If someone wanted revenge or property, it was easily gotten by simply saying that their enemy or neighbor was a witch.
Identify Tituba. Tituba was reverend Parris’ slave from Barbados. She was accused of conjuring spirits and was the first recorded confession. Her name is in history as the first witch ever hung.
Identify Abigail. Abigail is Rev. Parris’ niece and Proctor’s mistress. She is the main navigator of the story’s plot and she accuses Goody Proctor of being a witch. She witnessed the Indians murder her parents.
Identify Betty. Rev. Parris’ daughter. She is believed to be taken by witchcraft in a deep sleep.
Why does Mrs. Putnam believe there are witches in Salem? Because this is the only explanation for the early death of seven of her children.
Why is Thomas Putnam bitter? For similar reasons as his wife but mainly because he believes he has been wronged and that he is owed. Also because he finds himself a bit wiser and richer than the others. He feels he can never get his way.
Parris says, “Oh, Abigail, what proper payment for my charity! Now I am undone!” What does that mean? He is frustrated with Abby because he took her into his home and she is destroying his reputation.
What is Mary’s argument to Abby? Mary said if they turn themselves in now, their punishment may be less than if the lies get out of hand.
Describe Proctor. Proctor is even-tempered, authoritative, confident, but likes his women.
What happened between Abigail and John Proctor prior to the opening of the play? They had an affair.
What was the “sign” that Betty was bewitched? She screamed at the sound of the Lords name.
Identify Francis. Francis nurse is a well-respected, old and wise, level-headed man.
Identify Rebecca Nurse. Goody Nurse is kind and gentle. She is married to Francis and she helped deliver some of the Putnam babies.
Explain the political relationship between the Putnam and Nurse families. There was a land dispute over the Putnam-Nurse border. (The Putnam’s were in error.)
What did Rebecca do to Betty? She tried to wake her up and calm her down. She succeeded.
What is Rebecca’s explanation of the girls behavior? She thinks the girls are doing this for attention and that they are being nothing more than silly children.
“There are wheels within wheels in this village and fires within fires.” Explain. Parris says this to imply everyone in town is out to get him (because he’s kind of paranoid).
What is Proctors reason for his not regularly attending church? Because he doesn’t like Parris and thinks that Parris is to materialistic. He also believes that they talk too much about Hell and not enough about God.
What does Parris want? The deed to his house and the firewood in addition to his salary.
Giles says, “Think on it now, it’s a deep thing, and dark as a pit.” To what is he referring, literally and symbolically? Literally, he referring to everybody not getting along. Symbolically he’s saying that their system of theocracy isn’t working.
Who is Rev. John Hale, and why does he come to Salem? Rev. Hale is an expert in the demonic arts. He comes to see if he can help the town with its witchcraft problem and simultaneously save Rev. Parris’ reputation.
What do Putnam and Proctor argue about? What does this show? They argue about land disputes. This shows how Putnam is greedy for land.
Hale says, “They [the books] must be [heavy]; they are weighted with authority.” What is the significance of this remark? These books may take precedence over the Bible.
To what did Tituba confess and why? She confessed she was a witch who had dealt with the Devil, but she only claimed this in order that they might spare her life.
What do the girls do at the end of Act One? They started naming names of people who had “walked with the Devil” in order to get revenge on people that they didn’t like.

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