How does Mary Warren change from act 1 to act 2 in The Crucible?

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In act 1, Mary Warren is described as subservient, naive, and lonely. She is easily dominated by Abigail and is mocked by Mercy for her "grand peeping courage." When she sees John Proctor, her employer, she is almost speechless with embarrassment and fear but manages to say that she is just going home. Proctor upbraids her and threatens her with violence, to which she has no reply.

In act 2, we hear of the change in Mary before she enters. Elizabeth says that she could not prevent Mary from going to Salem, though John had forbidden it. Mary had replied:

I must go to Salem, Goody Proctor; I am an official of the court.

When Mary returns, she has a new self-assurance which is reinforced by the eager questioning of the Proctors. When John forbids her to return to court, Mary replies:

I must tell you, sir, I will be gone every day now. I am amazed that you do not see what weighty work we do.

Mary's self-importance at her new position of power is increased by social snobbery. When she refuses to tell Elizabeth who has accused her, she adds:

I only hope you'll not be so sarcastical no more. Four judges and the king's deputy sat to dinner with us but an hour ago. I - I would have you speak to me civilly, from this out.

She has been keeping company with much grander people than the Proctors and still shines with their reflected glory.

Mary's confidence is so recently discovered that it occasionally falters. In a rare moment of comedy, she refuses to be sent to bed by John, then immediately decides that she wants to go to bed anyway. However, the arrogance and impertinence with which she addresses her employers is already a world away from her cowering, tremulous demeanor in act 1.

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On the one hand, Mary Warren is still a relatively weak and placid character in act 2, at least in relation to Abigail, who still manages to exert a powerful hold over her. Ironically, however, Mary is a good deal more assertive toward John Proctor than she was in act 1, precisely because she's so intimidated by Abbie.

Mary knows that, no matter how hard John tries to get her to tell the truth, as long as she has Abbie lurking over her shoulder, she doesn't have to say a word. She can stick to her original story, safe in the knowledge that she won't suffer any serious consequences for perjuring herself in court.

In turn, this gives Mary a sense of power that she's never had before in her life. Like Abbie, she's now the center of attention, with the adult authority figures of the court hanging on every word she says. Such attention would turn anyone's head but especially that of a young girl who's always been such a timid, unassuming creature.

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In Act One, Mary Warren is portrayed as a timid, anxious girl, who is intimidated by Abigail's threats. When Mary enters the scene, she immediately encourages Abigail to tell the truth and attempts to distance herself by saying, "I never done none of it, Abby. I only looked!" (Miller, 30)

Abigail responds by ridiculing Mary before she threatens all of the girls. John Proctor then enters the scene and chastises Mary for rejecting her duties and traveling to Salem. Mary responds by apologizing to Proctor for her disobedience and timidly leaves Reverend Parris's home.

In Act Two, Mary Warren is depicted as a confident, self-righteous individual, who openly defies her employer, John Proctor. When Mary enters Proctor's home, he threatens to whip her for disobeying him. Mary Warren responds by saying, "I must tell you, sir, I will be gone every day now. I am amazed you do not see what weighty work we do" (Miller, 55).

Mary Warren has gained confidence as the community of Salem supports her testimonies in court. She is also caught up in the hysteria and truly believes that she is doing the Lord's work. Mary Warren now refuses to be intimidated and chastised by John Proctor. She responds to his threats by saying, "I’ll not stand whipping anymore!" (Miller, 55) Despite Mary's display of confidence and self-assurance, she is still a conflicted child. By the end of Act Two, Proctor forces Mary out of his home to testify against Abigail and the other accusers.

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On a couple of levels, Mary Warren has gained more power.  In Act I, she was shown to be fearful of having danced in the woods and the punishment that the girls will receive because of it.  With Abigail's concoction of lies and accusations, all the girls not only escape punishment, but gain power from it.  Mary Warren is one of those girls.  She is part of the trial in town and has to serve on the jury.  She is able to decide issues of legal guilt and, in the process, life and death.  Miller shows how power can be a narcotic to many and how power can be persuasive.  The idea here is that Mary Warren has power and she likes it.  She begins to carry herself in Act II with more of it, such as forgetting her duties in the Proctor home and outwardly telling John Proctor that she will "do it in the morning."  The idea that she could speak so forwardly and directly is a change from the fearful and timid person of the group in Act I.  Mary Warren now has power and she is not afraid to us it.  In a setting where there is a power vacuum, no clear moral or accepted authority, Miller seems to be suggesting that it is up to individuals to make sure that others do not rise and manipulate power for the wrong reasons.  In this, Mary Warren, as an extension of Abigail, has assumed power primarily because no one else possesses it.

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