The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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In The Crucible, what is the significance of this passage? "Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you."

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The following dialogue is given by Abigail Williams and directed at Mary Warren, Betty Parris, and Mercy Lewis:

Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you.

This threat comes as the girls are discussing what to admit to doing in the forest. Mary, an innocent character, wants to come clean about their actions in the forest. Mary knows what they did was wrong in the eyes of the Puritan community; however, she believes that being honest will benefit them the most in the end.

Abigail does not feel the same way. After participating in an adulterous relationship with John Proctor, Abigail knows she has much more at stake to lose in the eyes of the community if this relationship were to come to light. As a result of that, Abigail believes it’s in her best interest to only admit to dancing in the forest and not admitting to the witchcraft.

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