What does Elizabeth mean when she says: "Oh, the noose, the noose is up!"?

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lusie0520 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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In this part of the play, Elizabeth and John had been discussing the trial in Salem when Mary Warren returns from Salem.  As Mary has been an “official of the court,” they begin to berate her about attending court.  Mary breaks down and tells them that Sarah Good will go to jail because she confessed, and Sarah Osburn will hang because she did not confess. Mary becomes very defensive and cries out, “I saved her life today!”  When they question her about saying this, she admits that Elizabeth’s name has been “somewhat mentioned.”  When Mary goes to bed, Elizabeth says, “Oh,the noose. The noose is up! “  As a noose is what is used to hang people, the audience is led to believe that Elizabeth feels she will be the next person arrested. 

 As Elizabeth and John argue over whether or not John will tell the court Abigail is a liar, they are interrupted by Reverend Hale, who asks them some questions regarding their Christianity.  Although their answers are not perfect (for example, John forgets the commandment about adultery), Reverend Hale seems as if he is going to defend them to the court, especially when Mr. Nurse arrives to say that Rebecca has been charged.  As they are discussing the arrest of Rebecca and Martha Corey, officials from the court (Cheever and Herrick) arrive to question Elizabeth.  They find the poppet, and Elizabeth is taken to jail for “stabbing” Abigail.

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