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In calling Abigail a whore, what charge and punishment does Proctor open himself to?...

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noconnectionwse | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted November 6, 2011 at 4:18 AM via web

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In calling Abigail a whore, what charge and punishment does Proctor open himself to?

 

This happened in Act Three.

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pirateteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted November 6, 2011 at 4:43 AM (Answer #1)

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In Act III, John Proctor has realized that he can no longer wait for the courts to make the right decision.  Once his wife is charged and arrested ( in Act II) he knows that the courts solely believe the lying girls.  He brings his servant, Mary Warren, and a deposition to court fully believing that the courts will hear his evidence and in turn his wife, and the wives of his friends Giles Corey and Francis Nurse, will be set free.

However, Proctor finds the courts still unwilling to listen to what he has brought to them and soon he realizes he has no other option but to tell the whole truth.  Proctor explains to the courts that Abigail, instead of being tormented by spirits, wants revenge and he and his wife because she still harbors feelings for John.

But it's a whore's vengeance, and you must see it; I set myself entirely in your hands... My wife is innocent except she knew a whore when she saw one!

By admitting this, Proctor is not just condemning Abigail for lying about witchcraft, but he is also condemning himself as a lecher.  For the Puritans, the sin of adultery was more than just a sin in the church, it was a crime punishable by their laws.  By putting himself in the courts' hands, he is willing to accept the punishment they give him for cheating on his wife with Abigail.

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