In The Crucible, why does John Proctor want Mary Warren to go to court and testify?  

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mrs-campbell's profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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At the end of act two of The Crucible, John Proctor's wife has been arrested on the "proof" that she stuck a needle in a doll and that it was some sort of voodoo doll for Abigail Williams. Abby fell down at dinner with the judges and pulled a needle out of her belly--she claimed it was Elizabeth's "familiar spirit" that stabbed her.  Proctor can see how absurd this claim is; Mary Warren gave the poppet (or doll) to Elizabeth that day--it was Mary who put the needle there, not Elizabeth.  Mary herself admits as much when they question her in the Proctor household.  She admits,

"Why--I made it in the court, sir, and--give it to Goody Proctor tonight...ask Abby, Abby sat next to me when I made it."

To any rational human, this is good proof that Elizabeth Proctor did not bewitch Abby; rather, Abby saw Mary stick the needle in the doll and used that as  chance to get Elizabeth accused.  However, Elizabeth is still arrested and taken to jail.  John wants Mary to go to the court and

"tell the court how that poppet come here and who stuck the needle in."

He wants, desperately, to prove his wife's innocence, and believes that if Mary Warren testifies of that, the courts will see reason.

I hope that helped; good luck!

gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

As was mentioned in the previous post, Elizabeth Proctor is accused of sticking a needle in the poppet found in Proctor's home. This poppet will be used as evidence that Elizabeth is involved in witchcraft. John Proctor knows Mary Warren made the poppet and gave it to Elizabeth as a gift. Abigail Williams saw Mary Warren stick the needle in the poppet while they were in court and saw a way to use the poppet to manipulate the court into believing Elizabeth Proctor was a witch. Upon learning that the poppet will be used as evidence against his wife, John Proctor summons Marry Warren downstairs to admit that she made the poppet and stuck the needle in it. Even though Mary admits the poppet belongs to her, Elizabeth Proctor is still arrested. John Proctor is furious and tells Mary Warren that she will go with him to court the next day to testify that she made the poppet and stuck the needle in it. John Proctor wants to protect his innocent wife and tells Mary, "My wife will never die for me! I will bring your guts into your mouth but that goodness will not die for me!"

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