The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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In The Crucible, according to Elizabeth, how are the witch trials conducted?

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In Act II Scene 1, Elizabeth informed John that Mary their housekeeper was involved in the ongoing witch trials in Salem. She told her husband that a special court had been formed to conduct the hearings regarding the issue. The court was made up of four judges and chaired by Deputy Governor Danforth to assess the validity of the circumstantial evidence presented. She further stated that fourteen townspeople had already been jailed for witchcraft and failure to confess to the crime would lead to their hanging. Elizabeth also confirmed that confessions by the girls were relied on solely to prove guilt, supporting her view that the trials were a facade. By this time John had already informed Elizabeth that the court proceedings about witchcraft were a sham as confided to him by Abigail who was the lead accuser. Elizabeth tried to convince her husband to go before the court and tell the truth. He was hesitant because of his prior affair with Abigail which led to her dismissal as the housekeeper by Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s information can be confirmed by the numerous hangings that occurred including that of her husband who was led to the gallows at the close of the story.

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