In act two of The Crucible what does John Proctor decide to do after Mary Warren warns him about testifying against Abigail?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act Two, John and his wife learn that Abigail Williams has mentioned Elizabeth's name and that Mary Warren "saved her life" in court. Elizabeth is disturbed and urges her husband to travel to Salem to expose Abigail. However, John is hesitant because he realizes that it will be his word against Abigail's, and Abigail is revered throughout the community. Later on, Ezekiel Cheever arrives at John's home with a warrant to arrest Elizabeth. After learning that Abigail has accused Elizabeth of using a poppet figure with magical powers in an attempt to murder her, John becomes infuriated. As Elizabeth is being arrested, John rips the court's warrant and attempts to defend his wife. Reverend Hale and Marshal Herrick are able to calm Proctor, and the company leaves John's home with his wife.

John Proctor then demands that Mary Warren travel with him to Salem the next day to testify that Abigail and the girls are frauds. Mary then reveals that she knows about Proctor's affair with Abigail, and Proctor says, "Good. Then her saintliness is done with . . . We will slide together into our pit; you will tell the court what you know" (Miller, 80). Despite Mary's pleas to not challenge Abigail, John tells her,

"Make your peace with it! Now Hell and Heaven grapple on our backs, and all our old pretense is ripped away—make your peace!" (Miller, 80).

In Act Three, John Proctor and Mary Warren travel to Salem, and Mary testifies to the court officials that Abigail is lying.

mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of act two of The Crucible, John Proctor's wife has just been arrested, because Abigail concocted an elaborate scheme involving the poppet and an needle to act as "proof" that Elizabeth is a witch.  John knows that Abigail is doing this out of spite for Elizabeth, and, because she is still in love with John and wants to be his wife.  He realizes that he is partly to blame, because he had an affair with Abby that spurred Abby's hopes for them to be together.  So, he is determined to go to the courts and tell them that Abigail had told him, at the beginning of the hysteria, that the girls weren't bewitched, just frightened because they had been caught dancing.  Abby told him that very thing, and he wants to go testify to the courts of it.  He also wants Mary to tell how she was the one who stuck the needle in the doll, NOT his wife.  However, Mary Warren warns him that if he does that, Abby will "charge lechery on you, Mr. Proctor!"  Lechery is adultery; Mary warns that if he tries to defame Abby, Abby will accuse him of adultery.

John's response to this is added conviction to do what is right, even if he has to be exposed as an adulterer.  He says,

"Good...we will slide together into our pit; you will tell the court what you know."

He determines to make his peace with is past, go to the court, have Mary testify, and do anything and everything he can to clear his wife's name, even if that means exposing his adultery.  I hope that helped; good luck!

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The Crucible

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