The Crucible is about the Salem witch trials.
The play takes place in the town of Salem Massachusetts
in the Spring of 1692.
We learned that before the events in the play actually take place,
the town Minister, Reverend Parris
caught a group of girls including his niece Abigail dancing in the woods.
The girls actually were trying to practice witchcraft
and Abigail drank chicken blood as part of a charm to kill a woman named Elizabeth Proctor.
Abigail had an affair with Elizabeth Proctor’s husband John,
and she wants Elizabeth dead.
But because they got caught,
Abigail and the other girls worried that they’re going to be punished for practicing witchcraft,
so they start lying and accusing other people of being witches,
to deflect blame from themselves.
That’s how the Salem witch trials start.
Everyone they accuse gets arrested,
and many of those people are executed.
At the beginning of the play,
Reverend Parris is sitting with his daughter Betty,
who’s lying in bed unresponsive.
Parris is afraid that she’s be witched,
because he found her on the main road of the town
wandering around and trying to fly.
He sent for a witchcraft expert named Reverend Hale,
and he’s waiting for him to show up.
The night before he caught Betty,
his niece Abigail and her friends,
Mercy, Mary and Ruth dancing in the forest.
At least one of the girls was naked.
They had a witch’s cauldron,
and Reverend Parris’ slave from Barbados, Tituba
was speaking some kind of charm over the cauldron.
What Parris doesn’t know is that they really were trying to practice witchcraft.
They tried to conjure the spirits of roots dead baby sisters.
They tried to fly,
and they also drank chicken blood
as part of a charm to kill Elizabeth Proctor.
Now Parris is worried about Betty,
but he’s also afraid it will come out
that the girls in his own house are practicing witchcraft.
He knows it could ruin his reputation
and a lot of people in the town already dislike him.
Several of these people are gathered downstairs in his house
as he sits with Betty,
but he doesn’t want to go down to talk to them.
Thomas Putnam and his wife Anne come in.
They start pressuring Parris to acknowledge that there’s witchcraft going on.
They’re important people in the town
and Parris needs their support.
But he doesn’t want to admit to witchcraft in his own house.
Eventually they persuade him to go downstairs
and say a psalm with his parishioners.
Abigail is still there with Betty,
when Mary Warren and Mercy,
the other girls who are trying to practice witchcraft, come in.
Abigail tells them all to keep their mouths shut,
and threatens to murder them
in the middle of the night if they don’t.
John Proctor comes in,
and when the other girls leave,
He and Abigail confront each other.
Abigail says all that happened in the forest is that
she and her friends were dancing and Parris caught them.
She flirts with John and says she’s waiting for him.
This is where we learned that Abigail and John had an affair.
Abigail tells John she still loves him.
She blames Elizabeth for ending their relationship.
John tells her not to talk about Elizabeth,
and he tells Abigail to forget him.
贝蒂听到楼下圣歌中的 “耶稣” 一词时
Betty starts screaming when she hears the words
‘going up to Jesus’ in the psalm downstairs.
Parris and some of the townspeople run up to see her.
Rebecca Nurse is one of them.
She’s basically the most saintly woman in the village,
and she calms Betty down just by her presence.
The Putnams are still there insisting it’s witchcraft,
and they get into an argument with John Proctor
and with a farmer named Giles Corey,
in which we see some of the tensions in the town,
mostly about claims to property.
Finally, Reverend Hale, the witchcraft expert arrives.
He starts questioning everybody
and the answers make Abigail look bad.
So Abigail blames Tituba for everything.
Reverend Hale brings Tituba in and accuses her of working for the devil.
Tituba can tell she’s going to be hanged
if she tries to deny it.
So she tells him what he wants to hear.
She says the devil comes to her
and tries to make her do things like kill Reverend Parris.
The Putnams started asking Tituba
if she’s seen anyone else working with the devil?
They suggest some names of people they don’t like.
Tituba breaks down and starts naming a bunch of people.
Then Abigail picks it up.
She sees that if you just confessed to witchcraft
and start naming names, you’ll be okay.
If you deny it,
they’ll think you’re trying to hide something.
That’s how the witchcraft panic and Salem starts.
All the people they accuse get arrested.
Act 2 takes place 8 days later at John Proctor’s house.
John and Elizabeth are trying to get along
but there’s tension between them.
He thinks Elizabeth won’t forgive him for his affair with Abigail.
Elizabeth tells him what’s going on with the witch trials.
Whoever is accused of being a witch is brought in front of Abigail and her friends.
If the girls fall to the ground
and act like spirits are attacking them,
the accused person is sentenced to death.
Elizabeth wants John to go to the court,
and say that Abigail is a fraud,
since Abigail told John that the girls were just dancing.
John knows he should do this
but he’s worried the court won’t believe him.
He and Abigail were alone when they talked,
so he can’t prove what Abigail said.
It’s Abigail’s word against his,
and the court trust Abigail now.
Mary Warren comes in after a hard day in court,
acting like spirits are attacking her.
She says Elizabeth’s name was mentioned in the court,
but she stood up for Elizabeth.
Elizabeth freaks out.
She can tell that Abigail is going to accuse her of witchcraft,
so she’ll be killed and Abigail can marry John.
Elizabeth wants John to go and tell Abigail he’s not interested in her.
Reverend Hale rushes in.
Elizabeth’s name has been mentioned in the court,
and he wants to find out more about them.
As he questions them,he can sense some of their problems.
Giles Corey comes in to reportthat his wife has been arrested.
Then Ezekiel Cheever comes in to arrest Elizabeth,
because Abigail has accused her.
John Proctor fights it,
but Elizabeth is carried off in Chains.
John Proctor tells Mary Warrento go in and confess to save Elizabeth life.
He realizes he’s going to have to confess publicly to adultery
and be disgraced in order to discredit Abigail.
Frances Nurse Giles Corey and John Proctor go to the court
and bring Mary Warren with them.
The men all have their wives locked up are condemned,
and they determines prove that the proceedings are a fraud.
The chief judge is Danforth,
the deputy governor of Massachusetts.
Reverend Hale is also one of the judges.
Frances Nurse presents a list of ninety-one people
who signed their names declaring their good opinion ofRebecca Nurse and Martha Corey.
Danforth takes the petition in oders all 91 people arrested.
Giles Corey presents an affidavit affirming that Thomas Putnam convinced his daughter
to accuse a man named George Jacobs.
科里说 有人告诉他 普特南希望雅各布斯死掉
Corey says someone told him that Putnam wants Jacob’s dead,
so he can buy his land.
Danforth demands to know what man told Giles Corey this,
and he arrests Coreyfor contempt of court when Corey refuses to say.
John Proctor brings in Mary Warren with her signed deposition
swearing that the girl have all been lying and faking.
He explains that Abigail was caught dancing in the woods by Parris.
And she’s not lying about it deliberately to get people killed.
Danforth brings in Abigail and the other girls.
Abigail denies the accusations.
Danforth asks Mary Warren to fake itlike she did in the courtroom,
but without the others doing it, she can’t.
Abigail and the other girls then act like
Mary Warren is threatening them with her spirit.
John Proctor grabs Abigail by the hair,
and calls her a whore.
Even though it will destroy his reputation,
he declares to the court that he and Abigail slept together.
To test John Proctor’s claim,
Danforth summons Elizabeth Proctor,
and asks her if her husband is an adulterer.
She lies and says no because she wants to protect him.
So Danforth dismisses the charge.
Reverend Hale however starts to believe Proctor.
Abigail goes back to her trick of acting likeMary Warren is threatening her
until Mary Warren breaks downand says that John Proctor works for Satan,
and Abigail was telling the truth.
Proctor is arrested.
Reverend Hale denounces the courtand leaves his place on it.
Act four takes place several months later in the jail.
It’s just before dawn on the day that John Proctor
Rebecca Nurse, and ten others are to be hanged.
The trials have put Danforthand Parris in a tough situation.
They’ve already hanged a lot of people,
so they can’t turn back.
很多村民都死了 或被关押在监狱里 奶牛在街上游荡
So many of the villagers are dead or in jail that cows wander through the streets,
and no one knows whom they belong to.
Abigail has stolen all the Reverend Parris’ money and run away.
The faction of the townspeople have turned against the trials and don’t believe in them anymore.
This day will be a turning point in the trials.
It’s the first day that important people with good reputations in the town are going to be hanged.
Reverend Hale tries to get them to confess.
He doesn’t believe they’re guilty but he feels responsible for the trials
黑尔觉得 如果他们中的任何一个人死了 都是他的错
and thinks it will be his fault if any of them die.
If they confess, he thinks they won’t be hanged.
Danforth and Parris would like to see some confessions too,
because they would prove that the trials were justified.
But so far no one will confess.
Danforth and Parirs decide to let Elizabeth talked to John Proctor
to see if she can get him to confess.
Proctor’s not sure what to do,
he doesn’t see himself as a good man since he committed adultery,
and then was afraid at first to speak out against Abigail to stop the trials.
He thinks he would be faking if he went to his death like a martyr,
since he’s bad, he might as well live and try to help his family.
He calls in Danforth and admits that he works for Satan.
But when Danforth asks him to name some of Satan’s other helpers, he won’t do it.
Hale and Parris persuade Danforth to accept the confession anyway.
But when Danforth gives the confession to Proctor to sign,
he can’t sign it.
He was able to lie and give up his soul,
但如果他签字 法官们将把供词钉在教堂的门上 约翰要放弃他的姓名
but if he signs it, and they nail it to the church door, he’s given up his name,
which is the last thing he has.
His children will suffer from his disgrace,
so he rips up the confession,
and he feels like he’s found some goodness in himself.
He’s executed but he dies happier than before.
The afterword of the play notes that the power of theocracy,
government by the church is essentially broken after this.
For more information about The Crucible, check out The Crucible spark note at sparknotes.com.