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Mary Warren's Character Development in The Crucible

Summary:

Mary Warren's character develops from a timid, subservient girl to a more assertive and conflicted individual. Initially, she is easily influenced by others, particularly Abigail, but as the play progresses, she attempts to assert her own will by testifying against the other girls. However, under pressure, she ultimately succumbs to fear and returns to Abigail's side, showcasing her internal struggle and vulnerability.

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What does Mary Warren discuss about court in The Crucible and how has she changed?

For much of the play, Abigail is the leader and Mary follows along. She seems unaware of how far Abby is willing to take things until the convictions and hangings begin. After her poppet with the needle is discovered, she admits making it and correctly connects it to Abby's behavior. Once Mary realizes how Abby is jeopardizing her safety as well as that of other women, she gets nervous and admits that they made up a giant pack of lies.

Because this admission is not accepted, and Mary now fears her friend's wrath more than ever, she gets swept up in the growing hysteria. In court, Abigail feigns more symptoms, blaming her condition on Mary. When all the girls join in the screaming, Mary throws her lot in with theirs rather than oppose Abby's obvious power.

Mary gets completely drawn in to Abby's plot but is merely her pawn. Abby abandons her and the other girls, robbing her uncle and running off with Mercy Lewis. Mary loses her faith in friendship and the judicial system.

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Does Mary Warren's character change or remain unchanged in The Crucible?

In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, Mary Warren is caught up in the witchcraft hysteria of Salem, Massachusetts. She becomes part of a group of girls led by Abigail Williams who behave oddly and claim to be tormented by witches. They also directly accuse various people in their community of being witches and torturing them.

At first, when Betty Parris begins acting strangely, Mary is terrified and wants to admit the silly things she and the other girls have been doing. She thinks they will be accused of witchcraft themselves. Abigail tells her to be quiet, but Mary's words may have planted an idea in Abigail's mind right about here. To avoid the charge of witchcraft, they can accuse others, and Abigail has an extra motive that might work out well in the process. Mary just may have unwittingly inspired a plan.

Mary Warren is, for the most part, a rather cowardly girl. She is the servant of John and Elizabeth Proctor, and she seems to be quite scared of them. But as she becomes more and more involved with Abigail and her group, Mary begins to defy the Proctors. She goes to court when she is told to remain at home. She disobeys other orders as well.

Yet Mary is not completely comfortable with what is happening. She still has a conscience, and it is bothering her badly. Although she claims to be affected by the witches along with the other girls, deep down, she knows it is not true. She knows that they are acting, even though their acts are beginning to feel more and more real. Eventually, after Elizabeth is accused, Mary agrees to go with John Proctor to see the judge and tell him what is really going on, even though she is terrified that the other girls will turn on her.

Mary makes a good start. She tells the judge that she and the other girls have all been pretending and lying. She doesn't want to lie any more. But when Abigail enters the court and begins denying her, Mary's courage fails her. She is cowardly once more, and she rejoins the other girls in their playacting, unable to continue to resist Abigail out of fear.

Mary Warren, then, is changeable on the surface as she is led along by events and struggles with her own conscience, but deep down, she does not change, for she is driven by fear and cowardice. She gives into that fear again and again, and her unchanging inability to do what is right shows how much effect fear can have on people who are not strong enough to fight and defeat it. They end up doing things they know are wrong and repulsive.

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In The Crucible, how and why has Mary Warren changed?

In outward terms, Mary Warren changes from a rather timid young girl into a much more confident, assertive character. This is because, for the first time in her life, she's now the center of attention. Adult authority figures in court hang on her every word, and this gives her a sense of power and control. It also gives her the confidence to resist John Proctor's impassioned pleas to tell the truth instead of blindly following Abigail Williams.

At heart, though, Mary doesn't change all that much. Her newfound assertiveness is entirely artificial, created by the strange circumstances of the Salem witch craze. Deep down, she remains nothing more than a frightened child, unable to stand up for what's right for fear of what the wicked Abigail might do to her.

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In The Crucible, how and why has Mary Warren changed?

At the beginning of the play, Mary Warren is characterized as a bit of a frantic, whiney, cowardly girl who doesn't have much backbone.  As the girls gather around Betty and are talking about what to do, Mary Warren comes in, freaking out.  She is super worried that they are going to get in trouble for the dancing they did the previous night.  She wants them all to 'fess up to the dancing so that she doesn't get into trouble.  She adds, self-righteously, "I never done none of it, Abby.  I only looked!"  First of all, while the dancing was going on, Mercy was to much of a "goody-goody" if you will, to join into the dancing. Then she is the first to wuss out and want to confess their crimes.  At least, this is the impression that Miller puts across.  Abby is seen as the popular ring-leader and Mary is the more annoying pansy of the group.  Abby summarizes it well: "Oh, you're a great one for lookin', aren't you Mary Warren?  What a grand peeping courage you have!"

Later however, in Act Two, we see Mary grow a bit of a backbone.  She is "an official of the court now", all high on her major role in the accusations of witchcraft.  For the first time, probably, she feels accepted, noticed, and important.  People listen to her.  She even confidently declares to John Proctor, "I'll not stand whipping any more" in the face of threats that used to send her cowering.  She demands that he "speak civilly" to her.  This change comes from her acceptance in Abby's "clan", in a sense of righteous duty in the courts, and in her very word being the force that impacts so many lives there.

But then, when Proctor wants her to face Abby, she turns into a quivering mass of fear again, trembling at the thought of turning on the girls. She knows what power they have.  When she gets to the courts she tries to be strong, but eventually turns on Proctor.  It seems that the only time that she can be strong and confident is in the arms of Abby and her clan, and unfortunately, it has devastating results.

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In The Crucible, how and why has Mary Warren changed?

At the end of Act 2, Mary Warren begins to make a change but by the end of Act 3 she goes right back to the way she was before.  At the end of Act 2, after finding out that Abigail has accused his wife of witchcraft, John Proctorthreatens Mary Warren’s life if she does not go to court to tell the judges that the girls are lying.  This is the first change in Mary Warren because in Act 3, she actually does go to court and tries to tell the judges that the girls are lying.  However, once the girls begin to accuse her of witchcraft, she quickly goes back to her old story – that she too is being bewitched.  She then joins the other girls in accusing John Proctor of being a witch.

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In The Crucible, how and why has Mary Warren changed?

Over the course of the play, Mary Warren nearly changes, as develops new traits the stem from her experiences in at the trials. However, in the end Mary Warren regresses and her part in the story ends as it began, in meekness and acquiescence. 

Mary Warren is the Proctors' servant who seems timid and subservient but who finds a powerful role in a kind of people's jury in the courtroom.

Early in the play Mary Warren is seen as the frightened and meek member of the group of girls. She recommends that they admit what they have done to avoid larger trouble. She is immediately defeated by Abigail in this effort and made to agree with Abigail's story under threat from Abigail. 

As the trials get underway, Mary Warren defies John Proctors orders and attends hearings as a witness. The experience flushes her with a new sense of power. She feels that she no longer needs to be as meek as she had been. Her rebellion ends when Proctor convinced her to speak on Elizabeth's behalf at court, admitting to the fraud that the girls have committed. 

At court, Mary Warren attempts to be strong and to buck the authority of Abigail by telling the truth. Abigail is too strong for her, however, and Mary Warren's brief development of strength and defiance is ended. Abigail dominates Mary Warren with an ingenious deception, acting as if Mary Warren were haunting her with a spirit. 

This threat is understood by Mary Warren. She will be accused and convicted of witchcraft if she persists in telling the truth. Yet, she will have a chance to save the life of Elizabeth Proctor with the truth. 

In order to tell the truth in the face of Abigail's threat, Mary Warren would have to truly be strong. She would have had to actually change and mature in the story. This change has not taken place on a deep enough level, as Mary Warren's actions prove. She relents and saves herself.

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In The Crucible, how and why has Mary Warren changed?

Mary Warren really doesn't change from the beginning of the play to the end.  In the beginning, in Act One, she is too timid to stand up to the other girls and tell the truth about their activities after Abigail physically threatens her.  She says, "Abby, we've got to tell.  Witchery's a hangin' error [...].  We must tell the truth."  She seems to genuinely fear that Betty Parris's and Ruth Putnam's illnesses are the result of their conjuring spirits in the woods.  However, when Abigail threatens her with "a pointy reckoning" in the middle of the night if she tells, Mary backs down.

In the end, in Act Three, she is too afraid to stand up to the other girls in court when it becomes clear that they are going to accuse her of witchcraft.  When Abigail claims to see Mary's spirit in the shape of a yellow bird who wants to "tear [her] face," Mary panics and turns on John Proctor, screaming, "You're the Devil's man!"  So, Mary seems to have principals, but only until her own safety is at stake.

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How is Mary Warren characterized in The Crucible?

Mary has relatively little power in her world. She is lower class, a servant, and bossed around by John Proctor. However, Mary gets a little taste of power when she becomes involved with Abigail and the girls. She feels emboldened by her, and their, ability to effortlessly take down people who thought they held power over her. When she is elected to the council, the position goes to her head.

Miller further complicates her character by having Mary be the only one who can testify in Elizabeth's defense. When John threatens to "whip the Devil" out of her, she pulls her trump card, telling her former boss that she alone had saved his wife Elizabeth's life that day. Having been employed in the Proctor home, she could testify that she had not seen any evidence of witchcraft.

Mary is really a little girl trapped in a woman's life. Her immaturity is evident when she informs John with a telling "stamp of her foot" that "I will not be ordered to bed no more, Mr. Proctor! I am eighteen and a woman, however single!"

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How is Mary Warren characterized in The Crucible?

Mary Warren, a servant who replaces Abigail Williams working in the Proctor household, is portrayed as a girl who is easily manipulated and fearful of authority figures. She enjoys the attention she receives as "an official of the court" and even seems to be bragging when she refers to herself in this way, in response to John Proctor's asking her why she is not putting more time into her chores. But her display of pride and vanity makes Proctor angry, because he thinks the witchcraft hysteria is foolishness. Things begin to escalate when Proctor's wife is accused, and Mary Warren is partly at fault for Elizabeth Proctor's arrest by Ezekiel Cheever, resulting from a ploy concocted by Abigail. Mary had given Elizabeth a poppet she made in court that had a needle sticking in it, and Abigail pretended to be bewitched by pain and found a needle in her dress. Proctor sees through this and angrily demands that Mary accompany him to court; she is afraid of him and agrees to put things right and tell the truth and admit the girls were pretending to be stricken by the effects of witchcraft.

However, in court, Abigail realizes that Mary's testimony would expose her own lies. Realizing Mary's weakness and knowing she will for under pressure, Abigail begins to act as if she is bewitched and pretends to see a yellow bird in the rafters. The other girls follow her lead, moaning and pointing. Mary realizes Abigail is pretending, and begs her to stop, but Abigail begins merely repeating Mary's words, and the girls join in. Mary is ostracized by the group that had once made her feel powerful and accepted. It is too much for Mary and she has an emotional breakdown, realizing she will be part of the group of girls again if she plays along, and she does, joining them in accusing more and more villagers of witchcraft.

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How is Mary Warren a dynamic character in The Crucible?

A dynamic character is someone who undergoes an internal change as the play, movie, or story progresses and experiences a different outlook on life by the end of the particular work of art. In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, Mary Warren is an example of a dynamic character who experiences an internal change by the conclusion of the play. At the beginning of the play, Mary Warren is portrayed as a quiet, timid girl who is easily manipulated by Abigail Williams and testifies against innocent citizens. By act 2, Mary Warren's personality dramatically changes, and she acts like a confident, superior individual who does not need to listen to her employer, John Proctor. Once Elizabeth is arrested, John Proctor forces Mary Warren to tell the truth regarding Abigail Williams and the other girls. Proctor makes Mary Warren see the error in her ways, and she feels guilty for accusing her innocent neighbors. In act 3, Mary Warren courageously informs the Salem officials that Abigail and the other girls are lying. Unfortunately, Abigail and the girls pretend that Mary Warren's spirit is attacking them, and Mary begins to fear for her life before eventually rejoining the girls. Despite the fact that Mary Warren accuses John Proctor of being involved in witchcraft, she is considered a dynamic character because she experiences an internal change: she ultimately sympathizes with the innocent citizens she once falsely accused.

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How is Mary Warren a dynamic character in The Crucible?

It's interesting to think of the rather timid Mary Warren as a dynamic character in The Crucible, but she is.  She is timid and defers to the wishes of the older, more forceful Abigail almost from the very beginning of the play.  She's been compliant for the Proctors, but she's also been rather lazy--as evidenced by Proctor's reference to the whip when she's a bit disobedient.  When John finally gets her to see that she must go to the court and reveal the girls' duplicity, several days have passed.  That shows her reluctance to do what must be done, for she knows there is likely to be punishment for her when all is said and done.  She tries to tell the truth, she really does.  But Abigail is simply too strong, and she reverts to her timid, obedient, and following ways.  Her journey as a character has come full circle.

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How is Mary Warren a dynamic character in The Crucible?

I had to pare down the original question.  There were some great questions, and so reposting them might not be bad a thing.  I think that Mary Warren could be seen as a dynamic character because she is not easily defined from the start.  When she is seen in Act I, sc. i, Mary's role is not fully grasped.  She certainly is not the girl that exerts the most amount of power.  That would be Abigail.  Nor is she the type that is seen as the "sidekick," as this would be more applicable to Mercy.  Rather, she is on the edge of the social power fabric.  She occasionally chirps in to talk about how accepting punishment might not be a bad reality, only to be quickly rebuked into her place of submission.  She joins in with the girls in their accusations and enjoys the power brought out as a result.  In Act II, she is shown to be assertive in standing up to Proctor, yet also recognizes the frailty of her own condition at the end of the Act when she sees Proctor so committed to bring Abigail down and in the dfesire to rescue his wife.  The greatest level of dynamism is in the trial in Act III, when she is shown to want to do what is right in Proctor's defense, but then crumbles in front of Abigail and the girls.  The most amount of dynamic change that is evident when she becomes confident and self- assured in her accusation of Proctor of witchcraft.  In this, it is demonstrated that someone who might wish to do good is bullied into submission by those in the position of power.  In the process, Miller brings out Mary's dynamic complexity, only to draw her as a representation of capitulation and acquiescence in the most critical of moments.

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