Outline all of the evidence of witchcraft in Act 1 of "The Crucible".

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Initially, Reverend Parris discovers the girls dancing naked in the woods, and there is evidence that they were participating in the dark arts. The forest was an enigmatic, evil place to the Puritans and was associated with spirits, demons, and Satan's presence, which makes the girls' activities suspicious. The fact that both Betty Parris and Ruth Putnam are incapacitated for seemingly no reason is also evidence of witchcraft. The local doctors are unable to heal either girl, and the citizens automatically assume that the devil is responsible for their condition. When Mrs. Putnam enters the scene, she immediately mentions that there are rumors throughout the town that Betty flew like a witch over Ingersoll’s barn.

In act 1, it is also revealed that Mrs. Putnam sent her daughter to Tituba to conjure the spirits of her seven dead children. Before Reverend Hale arrives, Abigail admits privately that she drank blood in an attempt to put a curse on Elizabeth Proctor, which was supervised and facilitated by Tituba. When Reverend Hale arrives, he discovers that Tituba summoned the devil and made a concoction in a kettle, which is also typically associated witchcraft and spells. Abigail then admits that Tituba made her drink chicken blood, and Tituba begins falsely confessing that Goody Osburn and Sarah Good are working for the devil. Overall, there is evidence that indicates the girls and Tituba experimented with witchcraft. However, the hysteria quickly builds as rival neighbors seek revenge on one another by accusing their innocent neighbors of witchcraft.

pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The evidence in Act 1 consists of several different situations that are attributed to witchcraft.

1. Betty Parris and Ruth Putnam are both sick and the doctor does not know what is wrong with either of them.

2. Ann Putnam has lost seven infant babies and she believes that witchcraft is involved.

3. Tituba, the black slave from Barbados who works for Rev Parris has brought the young girls of the town into the woods to dance because the Puritan Lifestyle does not permit any form of entertainment other than reading the Bible. 

4. While in the woods dancing, the girls did conjure spirits, at the request of Ann Putnam, her daughter Ruth was trying to communicate with her dead sisters.

5. Abigail drinks blood as a charm to influence the death of Elizabeth Proctor. 

6. Dancing in the woods is sinful and considered to be the work of the devil.  Rev. Parris finds the girls and sees one naked.

7. Tituba confesses to witchcraft at the end of Act I, which requires her to name names.  She names Goody Good and Goody Osburn as having been seen with the Devil.

8. To get herself out of trouble, Abigail Williams admits that she consorted with the Devil.  The other girls begin screaming the same thing and also start naming other people they saw with the Devil.

9. The strongest evidence in Act I are the confessions.  Once people confess to witchcraft it is given a level of credibility. 

10. As part of the confession process, the naming of others becomes the second best evidence of witchcraft.

aoibhinn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, Parris discovers the girls dancing in the woods.  While they are dancing, they are also boiling something in a pot.  Abigail claims it is just a soup, but Parris claim he saw something jump in.  Both Ruth Putnam and Betty Parris a near comatose.  When Betty wakes, she begins screaming hysterically and claiming that she will fly to her dead mother.  She then reveals that Abigail had performed a spell to try to kill Elizabeth Proctor.  Finally, at the end of Act Two, Tituba confesses under duress and as if a spell is broken, the girls begin to speak, crying out the names of "witches" in the town.