The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

The Crucible book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Does Act 2 Scene 2 of The Crucible help or hinder Miller's purposes? Regarding The Crucible Act 2 Scene 2, what is added by the sceneDoes this help or hinder Miller's purposes?  

Expert Answers info

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write5,917 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

One of the things that are added by Act II.ii are a sense of the power-dominance of the judge and prosecutors; a sense of ultimate unquestionable authority. There is also an underlying mood of intensity among these characters that almost borders on hysteria. This is interesting and adds dramatic impact because it is the girls' hysteria that, seemingly, has caused the troubles in Salem. I say "seemingly" because there was no hysteria involved as it was a cold-blooded plan they thought out.

Another thing that is is added is the loss of the foundational underpinnings of the entire trial. As Judge Danforth says, the trial was entirely predicated upon the "children's" innocence and on the belief they were the divine spokespersons of the Almighty. When Mary comes in and unburdens herself of the horrible truth in a deposition that it was all "pretense," the trial and condemnations and hangings are exposed as felonious frauds.

DANFORTH: I pray you, Mister Parris. Do you know, Mister Proctor, that the entire contention of the State in these trials is that the voice of Heaven is speaking through the children? (II.ii)

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Bruce Bergman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor

calendarEducator since 2011

write3,640 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

This scene shows the stakes of the game that is being led by Abigail and demonstrates the extent of destruction Abigail is willing to accept in her efforts to remove herself from the suspicion of witchcraft attached to her in Act I/Scene 1. 

The accusations have indeed gotten out of hand and Abigail, the vindictive teenager, is apparently the only one with the power to stop things before they go further. 

The mention of Abigail's accusations against Elizabeth in court that day serves to create a new, specific suspense regarding Elizabeth's fate.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write15,968 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

It's good to hear from you again, moocow554!  

I am glad you posted this as a discussion, because I think you’ll get a variety of responses.  I think the main benefit of this scene is that it shows how crazy everything has gotten.  There are 39 people arrested, and they are going to hang one woman, but not another because she confessed to save her baby.  The scene tells the reader of viewer that things are getting serious.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial