In The Crucible why do Ezekial Cheever and Marshal Herrick arrive at the Proctor home?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By the time Act Two rolls around, the witch trials are in full swing, and numerous people have been accused of being witches.  Cheever and Herrick have been commissioned to work for the courts; one of their main jobs is to arrest accused townspeople and bring them to jail or the courthouse.  At the end of act two, they show up on John Proctor's doorstep.  Cheever himself states his purpose:  "I have a warrant for your wife."  So, he is come to arrest Elizabeth Proctor and bring her to jail.  In addition to this, he has been ordered to "search [John's] house" for a poppet, or a doll, and to look to see if that doll has a needle in it.  Lastly, he has been forbidden to "leave [Elizabeth] from [his] sight." Herrick is the one who chains her up and takes her away in a wagon.

Those are the tasks that Cheever is given.  To give this context, earlier in the day, Abigail accused Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch.  At the actual courthouse during the day, Mary Warren had stepped in and defended Elizabeth, saying that she was an upright woman, and there was no way she could be a witch.  Well, Mary had been sewing a doll, and stuck the needle in the belly "for safekeeping."  Abby saw her do this, and later that night, fell to the ground with a needle stabbed in her belly, and claimed that Elizabeth's "familiar spirit" was the one to do it.  So, Elizabeth is arrested, and the doll with the needle is used as proof.

I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

ryanistgenau | Student

They arrive at the Proctor house, because Abigail was mentioned in court, as being a witch. Cheever also searches the Proctor house to find a poppet (a doll). Cheever finds the poppet Mary Warren gave Elizabeth sooner in the Act, and then finds a needle placed into the abdomin of the poppet. Abigail was earlier "stabbed" in the abdomin with a needle, and she blamed Elizabeth Proctor for this, although she stabbed herself, setting up Elizabeth because she still wants John Proctor. Mary Warren admitted to giving her the doll and putting the needle into it, although they still did not believe her. Elizabeth Proctor was taken to jail, and will be tested in court.


In Short terms, they showed up to search the house for a poppet, then arrest Elizabeth on the charge of witch craft.


Hope this helps