The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

The Crucible book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Act II of The Crucible, why does Hale not know the meaning behind the poppet? 

Expert Answers info

mariaosbourn eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write18 answers

starTop subject is Literature

In Act II, readers find that Hale has visited the Proctor's house on his own terms, and in no connection with the court. Because he is also involved with the proceedings, he is working on his own time to get a better idea of the religious nature of some of the families in Salem. He has specifically focused on the Proctors because Elizabeth Proctor's name was somewhat mentioned in the court proceedings earlier in the day. While examining the Proctor household, Hale observes that the family misses church often and only two out of the Proctors' three sons are baptized. 

Hale is unaware of the poppet for two reasons. First of all, he shows up to the house after Mary Warren has returned home, so he is unaware of the gift (the poppet) Mary gave Elizabeth. Secondly, although Elizabeth's name was brought up in court earlier in the day, Hale was under the impression that the idea of Elizabeth being a witch was quickly swept away as Mary Warren testified that she lived with Elizabeth and could clearly state she was not a witch, nor a woman who would partake in any sort of witchcraft. Furthermore, Hale had no knowledge, at that point, of the stunt Abigail had pulled at dinner when she claimed that a needle was found in her side and she knew the spirit of Abigail had put it there. Even more, Hale had no idea Cheever and Herrick were on their way to arrest Elizabeth. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial