How does Mary Warren behave towards her employers in the second act of the book?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Mary Warren found a new sense of self-importance after being appointed as an official of the court. According to her, the new job was more important compared to what she did at the Proctor home. She also sought recognition for her new status, which she believed gave her some authority.

Mary Warren went to Salem even after John asked her not to go. Elizabeth explained to John that she could not stop Mary from leaving given her tone and behavior.

Elizabeth: It is a mouse no more. I forbid her to go, and she raises up her chin like the daughter of a prince and lays to me, “I must go to Salem, Goody Proctor; I am an official of the court!”

When Mary Warren arrived from the trials, she behaved strangely. She brought a doll for Elizabeth. Her sentiments were based on what she had experienced at the trials in Salem. She was equally saddened by the fact that people were set to hang. Mary Warren also informed Mr. Proctor that he should address her appropriately because she was connected to influential people.

Mary Warren: I am bound by law, I cannot tell it. To Proctor: I only hope you’ll not be so sarcastic no more. Four judges and the King’s deputy sat to dinner with us but an hour ago. I would have you speak civilly to me, from this out.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In a word, cocky. Mary goes from cowering servant to having a new sense of maturity and purpose when she appointed to be an "official" of the court.

Mary tells John that the court has decided to "spare" Goody Good because she is pregnant. She believes, as she tells John, that "it's God's work we do." She naively believes he will see her in a new light. "You must see it, sir."

She places her new found responsibility above any obligation she has to John, saying, "So I'll be gone every day for some time. I'm -- I'm an official of the court."

John, who loathes the court, does not take kindly to her announcement or defection. He comes after Mary with a whip. But she stands her ground. Miller writes that though "terrified," she stands "erect, striving for her authority."

Mary goes on to tell John that it was she who defends Elizabeth against the accusations of witchcraft which have been leveled against her. Unmoved, John orders Mary to "go to bed." She replies, (with a stamp of her foot that undermines her supposed maturity), "I'll not be ordered to bed no more. I am eighteen, and a woman, however single!"

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team