The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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What is the effect of Sarah Good's and Tituba's talk about flying south?  

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The effect of the conversation between Sarah Good and Tituba at the beginning of Act Four is irony, irony that points out the hypocrisy of the Puritan establishment and court.  The two long-suffering women sit in their jail cell, discussing the Devil, when they expect him, and what they expect of him: that he will come and fly with them back to Tituba's home in Barbados.  The irony is that descriptions like this were absolutely believed and accepted a few short months prior in Salem.  Abigail's crazy accusations and fictions and unbelievable lies were swallowed, without question, by an audience which was titillated by such detail.  Even Tituba's confession in Act One was believed, without question, though it was not so very different from the story she tells in Act Four, and Sarah Good's confession was, obviously, believed as well because she has not been hanged.  Now, however, Sarah and Tituba's not dissimilar story earns them the marshal's disdain and mockery, and they are not even seen as worthy of being heard by the judges.  Instead of their stories being interpreted as truth, as they once would have been, they are interpreted as ravings of madwomen, and yet this revised interpretation of their words does not seem to warrant another look at other evidence.

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