What is Mary Warren's role and significance in the play The Crucible?

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amarang9's profile pic

amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In The Crucible, Mary Warren is John and Elizabeth Proctor's servant. Mary eventually becomes an official in the court and although briefly bending to John Proctor's will, Mary feels empowered by her official position. However, Mary does let Abigail use her in a plot to frame Elizabeth. In Act II, Scene 2, Mary plants a doll which Abigail will later use as evidence to frame Elizabeth. Mary admits to this, but no one believes her. John Proctor tells Mary to tell the court the truth about the doll, but Mary threatens him that if she does this, Abby will charge John with lechery. In Act 3, Mary admits that the girls were all lying. However, since this makes the court look bad, Danforth does not recant any of the charges. 

The other girls turn on Mary and then she sides with them again. Mary is a pawn in all of this. She is caught up in the hysteria and like many others, she's trying to save herself. But she's also at the mercy of the hysteria, constantly torn between the manipulations of John and Abigail. 

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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As was mentioned in the previous post, Marry Warren is John and Elizabeth Proctor's teenage servant who took the place of Abigail Williams in the Proctor home. Mary Warren is a timid, naive girl who gets taken advantage of and manipulated by Abigail Williams throughout the play. Mary Warren becomes an official of the court and follows Abigail's lead by testifying against various citizens of Salem. Mary Warren buys into the hysteria surrounding witches and genuinely believes in spirits while in court. This position initially emboldens Mary, but she begins feeling guilty after learning that Abigail planted a poppet that would be used to accuse Elizabeth Proctor. Mary fears Abigail and is concerned about her own well-being when she realizes the weight of the situation. Mary then reluctantly agrees to go with John Proctor to testify that all of the girls are lying. However, Mary ends up revoking her confession and siding with Abigail Williams in order to avoid condemnation from Salem's society. Overall, Mary Warren is a frightened, sympathetic character who gets taken advantage of and used throughout the play by Abigail Williams.

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