John Proctor suddenly and dramatically reveals his adultery to the court in Act III of The Crucible with the words:
I have known her, sir. I have known her.
This rather euphemistic way of describing sexual intercourse is Biblical in origin and therefore doubly appropriate for the Puritans. Arthur Miller says that Proctor is “trembling, his life collapsing about him” as he utters the confession.
Proctor has to confess to substantiate the charge he has just made against Abigail. When she cries aloud to God to “take away this shadow!” Proctor responds:
How do you call Heaven! Whore! Whore!
Having called Abigail a whore, Proctor has to justify himself. Of course, she is not technically a whore (as Miller’s Epilogue suggests she may go on to be), but she is a woman guilty of fornication, and Proctor can best charge her with this by indicting himself.
Once he has made his initial confession, Proctor goes into some detail. He says that they had sex “In the proper place—where my beasts are...
(The entire section contains 4 answers and 843 words.)