Suggested Essay Topics

Act I
Scene I: Setting the Scene
1. What does the opening narrative section add to the play? How would your judgment of what is happening on stage be different without this narrative section?

2. Examine the reasons the girls have for not telling the whole story of what happened in the woods. Base your discussion on the reactions of the main characters introduced so far and what you know of the society of Salem from the opening narrative.

Scene II: John Proctor’s Entrance
1. How are Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor different from the other characters in this sequence? How do they compare and contrast to each other?

2. Why does Betty’s behavior appear to be witchcraft? How else might it be explained?

Scene III: John Hale’s Entrance
1. Explore the various ways Abby explains her behavior in the woods to different characters in the play. What are the motives for each of her explanations?

2. Discuss John Proctor as an individual at odds with authority and with his community.

Act II
Scene I: John and Elizabeth Proctor

1. Compare the character of Elizabeth Proctor to that of Mary Warren. What value systems do each represent?

2. Discuss Elizabeth’s reaction to John’s infidelity. Is she being unreasonable?

Scene II: Mary Warren’s...

(The entire section is 574 words.)