The Crucible – Quotes with Analysis

“My name is good in the village! Elizabeth Proctor is an envious, gossiping liar!” – Abigail Exclamation mark suggests that Abigail is spitting accusation out, revealing her bitterness as character, and also venom she puts into defending her own name. Reveals how important person’s reputation is in Salem
“… mark this, if anyone breathe a word or the edge of a word about the other things, I will come to you in the black of some terrible night, and I will bring with me a pointy reckoning that will shudder you! And you know I can do it… I have seen some reddish work done at night. And I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!” – Abigail Use of colour enhances threat. Promises to visit girls in “black” of night. Has connotations of evil, of something sinister. While she promises “some reddish work”, connoting that she will make girls bleed if they discuss their dancing in woods
“Ah, you’re wicked yet, aren’t y’!” – Proctor Early in play. Proctor’s use of word “wicked” suggests he enjoys Abigail’s mischievous nature, but in flirtatious way. This attitude changes later when she threaten life of his wife
“I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart! I never knew what pretence Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men! And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, I cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!” – Abigai Abigail’s confession of love, and also shows her obsession. She “cannot” let Proctor go because he has shown her a life that Salem rejects. The “knowledge” she refers to is clearly sexual
“Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time, but I will cut off my hand before I reach for you again. We never touched” – Proctor Proctor uses hyperbole to make his point; he will not only avoid Abigail, he is willing to remove part of his body that might have touched her
“I do not judge you. The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you” – Elizabeth Uses metaphor to explain that Proctor will not forgive himself, that she no longer accuses him of any crime, but he judges himself continually
“Oh, Elizabeth, your justice would freeze beer” – Proctor Proctor responds, again using hyperbole, suggesting that Elizabeth has been emotionally cold to him since affair, so cold that it could freeze alcohol
“I’ll tell you what’s walking Salem—vengeance is walking Salem. We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law! This warrant’s vengeance! I’ll not give my wife to vengeance!” – Proctor Proctor personifies idea of vengeance, suggesting that it walks streets of Salem and attacks people. It is no longer controlled by law, however. He says that “the little crazy children” are responsible, and are using law to kill anyone they see fit.
“In the proper place where my beasts are bedded.” – Proctor Proctor believes it “proper” that he and Abigail had sex in a barn. He regards their actions as animalistic. Specifically, he uses word “beasts” to describe himself and Abigail. This particular word has clear animal denotation, but there is a definite connotation of Devil, of evil
“Elizabeth, I`ve confessed it” – Elizabeth Proctor’s short cry after Elizabeth has lied to save his name. Whole play turned upon her answer to Danforth (“No, sir.”) and this is Proctor’s simple outburst of despair
“A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be fraud – ********s our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!” – Proctor Court siding with Abigail and girls, Proctor is led out of court. Shouts this over his shoulder and uses Biblical references to make his point. He says that Court has perverted course of justice, and is now actually doing work of Devil. When he repeatedly says “we will burn” he is making stark allusion to fact that he and Danforth are BOTH in wrong, and both will go to hell for their errors
“It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery” – Elizabeth Elizabeth accepts that she may have prompted John to seek an affair. Importantly, she accepts John’s earlier accusation that she has been emotionally “cold”. This causes us to sympathise with her as she clearly wants to share blame for damage to marriage
“I have three children – how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?” – Proctor When Proctor talks of having “sold my friends” he is indicating that he has been offered a way out of death penalty, but it would mean condemning other innocent people. He would be alive having falsely accused others. In order to preserve his honour, and allow his children “to walk like men” (with their honour in tact) he must tell the truth, and he must be hanged
“Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” – Proctor Powerful speech about honour. Proctor, nearly hysterical with indignation, lists all reasons why he must destroy confession and accept court’s (false) judgement. Repetition of “Because” has rhetorical effect of building up tension, while final sentence acts as a dramatic climax: he has given court everything – his family and his life – he only asks that they allow his name not to be tainted by lies
“She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a *****’s vengeance, and you must see it.” – Proctor Proctor offers up his own reputation as sacrifice in order to end the witch trials – heroic
“I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it.” – Proctor Proctor confesses to witchcraft yet refuses to incriminate others. Although confession, in context of play, refers to witchcraft, it can be inferred that he is referring to his affair with Abigail, is accepting his fault in matter, and wishes not to point finger at another

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