Act I, Scene 1 Questions and Answers
1. What do we learn in the opening narrative that is important to the events that follow?
2. What happened in the woods the night before Act One -begins?
3. How did the events come to light, and what was the effect on Betty and Ruth?
4. Why is the town so stirred up by these events?
5. What is Reverend Parris’ first reaction to the crisis?
6. What reason does Ann Putnam have to be resentful?
7. What reason does Thomas Putnam have to be resentful?
8. Why do the girls argue about whether or not to tell the truth?
9. How does Abigail eventually get her way?
10. What is a crucible?
1. We learn that Parris thinks everyone is out to get him and that he has a need to be in control. We also learn that the citizens of Salem mind each other’s business and are unforgiving.
2. Several teenage girls of Salem were in the woods dancing, some of them naked. Tituba was trying to contact the dead, and Abigail was trying to put a curse on Elizabeth Proctor.
3. The girls were caught by Reverend Parris, and the shock caused Betty and Ruth to fall ill.
4. The town is stirred up because the girls cannot be healed, and they suspect witchcraft.
5. Parris’ first reaction is to save his own name and reputation.
6. Ann Putnam suspects someone has been killing her babies in childbirth.
7. Thomas Putnam resents the fact that his candidate for minister of Salem was not elected.
8. To admit the truth means severe punishment for dancing and conjuring; to be found guilty of witchcraft means -hanging.
9. Abigail forces the others not to tell the truth through intimidation and threats.
10. A crucible is a container in which metals are burned at high temperatures to burn off impurities; it is also defined as a severe test or trial.
Act I, Scene 2 Questions and Answers
1. Why was Abigail dismissed from her job at the Proctor’s house?
2. What does Abby tell Proctor about the events in the woods?
3. How have Proctor’s feelings toward Abby changed?
4. When does Betty cry out?
5. How is this cry interpreted?
6. How is Betty finally calmed?
7. How does Rebecca explain the events in the woods?
8. Why would anyone resent the Nurses?
9. Why does Proctor dislike Parris?
10. Why does Parris dislike Proctor?
1. Abigail was dismissed from her job when Elizabeth discovered her affair with John.
2. Abby tells Proctor that they were merely dancing and that there was no witchcraft involved.
3. Proctor has put the affair behind him and no longer welcomes Abby’s advances.
4. Betty cries out when she hears the name of the Lord sung downstairs.
5. The cry is interpreted as another sign of witchcraft. If Betty is possessed by a demonic spirit, she cannot bear to hear the name of the Lord.
6. Rebecca Nurse seems to calm Betty merely by her presence.
7. Rebecca feels the events in the woods were merely expressions of adolescent foolishness.
8. The Nurses have been involved in a land war with their neighbors and were among those who kept Putnam’s candidate for minister out of office in Salem.
9. Proctor despises what he sees as Parris’ outrageous hypocrisy and greed.
10. Parris resents Proctor for arguing against paying him more money.
Act I, Scene 3 Questions and Answers
1. Why is Hale invited to Salem from Boston?
2. Has Hale ever found a witch?
3. What is significant about the timing of Hale’s entrance?
4. What do we learn about Rebecca Nurse from Hale?
5. What does Giles mention to Hale about Proctor?
6. What does Giles mention about his wife?
7. What are Rebecca and John’s roles in the proceedings?
8. What does Abigail do when questioned?
9. How is Tituba treated when she finally concocts a conversation with the devil and names a Salem woman as a witch?
10. What does Abby do when she sees this reaction?
1. Hale is a noted authority on witchcraft.
2. Hale once thought he had found a witch, but thorough investigation revealed that there was a natural explanation for the questionable behavior.
3. Hale enters immediately after the conversation that reveals the conflicts among the residents of Salem.
4. We learn that Rebecca’s good reputation is widely known.
5. Giles tells Hale that Proctor does not believe in witches.
6. Giles tells Hale that his wife reads books and that when she is reading them, he cannot pray.
7. Both Rebecca and John refuse to be involved in the witch-hunt.
8. Abigail pins the blame on Tituba.
9. Tituba is greatly encouraged and treated like a hero.
10. Abby seeks the same kind of attention and begins naming names herself.
Act II, Scene 1 Questions and Answers
1. What is the significance of John’s re-seasoning the soup?
2. What is the relationship between John and Elizabeth like?
3. What new position does Mary Warren now hold?
4. Who is in charge of this court?
5. What action has the court taken?
6. What will happen if the accused do not confess?
7. How has Mary’s personality changed since her involvement in the court?
8. What issue does Elizabeth continue to hound her husband about?
9. What does Elizabeth’s lack of mercy and understanding foreshadow?
10. Why does John hesitate to go to the court and reveal Abigail’s fraud?
1. The unseasoned soup is a symbol of the Proctors’ flavorless marriage.
2. The relationship between John and Elizabeth is tense and strained.
3. Mary is now an official in the newly formed court.
4. The court consists of four judges sent from Boston.
5. The court has accused 14 Salemites of witchcraft.
6. If the accused do not confess, they will be hanged.
7. Mary used to be timid and shy, but is now openly defiant of her employer.
8. Elizabeth cannot forgive John’s indiscretion with Abigail.
9. Elizabeth’s behavior towards John foreshadows the later actions of the court.
10. John hesitates because he does not like to be ordered by Elizabeth and because he fears he will not be believed, since there are no other witnesses to Abby’s confession.
Act II, Scene 2 Questions and Answers
1. What does Mary Warren give Elizabeth?
2. What is Elizabeth’s reaction to the gift?
3. How many people have now been arrested?
4. What will happen to those who do not confess?
5. Who has confessed?
6. What does this mean for the others?
7. What would spare Sarah Good from hanging?
8. What shocking news does Mary offer regarding Elizabeth?
9. What cause does Elizabeth immediately suspect?
10. Now that Elizabeth is accused, does John go quickly to the court to clear her name?
1. Mary gives Elizabeth a poppet, or doll, that she had sewn that day in court.
2. Elizabeth is surprised. A doll is an odd gift to give a grown woman.
3. A total of 39 people have now been arrested.
4. Those who do not confess will be hanged.
5. Sarah Good has confessed.
6. Now that one person has confessed, the charges against the others are more believable.
7. Sarah is pregnant, and the court will spare her unborn child.
8. Mary reveals that Elizabeth has been accused of witchcraft.
9. Elizabeth suspects the accusation was an attempt by Abigail to eventually marry John.
10. Even though Elizabeth has been accused, John hesitates to go to the court. He agrees to go only after being coerced by his wife.
Act II, Scene 3 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Hale appear at the Proctor house?
2. Why would John’s Christian character be in question?
3. What reason does John first give for not going to church regularly?
4. What reason does John finally admit to for his behavior?
5. Why is John’s not going to church significant to the play?
6. What does Hale request the Proctors do to show their faith?
7. Are the Proctors successful in fulfilling this request?
8. Why is this particular commandment significant?
9. What news briefly shakes Hale’s belief in the court system?
10. What is his ultimate conclusion about the system at the end of this scene?
1. Hale travels to the Proctor house to question them on their Christian character.
2. John’s faith is in question because he does not attend church regularly and has not had his third son baptized.
3. John explains that Elizabeth has been sick and he has stayed home to care for her.
4. John admits his animosity toward Reverend Parris.
5. It shows his failure to conform to the rules of the society and to participate in the community.
6. The Proctors are asked to repeat the commandments.
7. John can name nine commandments but forgets the commandment against adultery.
8. John’s adultery with Abigail makes this particular commandment significant.
9. Hale’s belief in the system is briefly shaken by the accusation of Rebecca Nurse.
10. Hale still believes that the innocent will be pardoned and justice will prevail.
Act II, Scene 4 Questions and Answers
1. What orders do Cheever and Herrick have at the Proctor house?
2. What has happened to Abigail?
3. Why is this related to the poppet?
4. Did Elizabeth keep poppets in her house?
5. What is found in the poppet?
6. How did the needle get there?
7. Do the authorities believe Mary’s admission?
8. What does John do with the warrant for Elizabeth’s arrest?
9. What does Proctor believe is motivating the court at this point?
10. What does Mary warn will happen if Proctor attempts to interfere with the court?
1. Cheever and Herrick are to search...
(The entire section is 232 words.)
Act III, Scene 1 Questions and Answers
1. What is the significance of lighting described in the stage directions?
2. Who is being charged as Act Three begins?
3. What possible motive does Giles Corey offer for the accusations against his wife and others?
4. How are these charges received?
5. Why does Giles feel guilty?
6. What do Proctor and Mary Warren bring with them as -evidence?
7. How does Judge Danforth measure his worth?
8. What does Parris do when Proctor attempts to make his case?
9. What is happening to Hale at this point?
10. How is Mary’s statement that the accusations are mere pretense received?
(The entire section is 226 words.)
Act III, Scene 2 Questions and Answers
1. What news does Danforth give John Proctor about his wife?
2. Why did the court not believe this assertion at first?
3. What does Proctor tell Danforth about his doubts?
4. What offer is made to Proctor by Danforth?
5. What happens to the people who signed the deposition upholding the three women?
6. What does Giles Corey charge in his deposition againstThomas Putnam?
7. How does Putnam answer, and who is believed?
8. What does Mary Warren’s deposition claim?
9. What does Hale suggest after the deposition is read?
10. Why does Danforth not allow Proctor to obtain a lawyer?
(The entire section is 242 words.)
Act III, Scene 3 Questions and Answers
1. What does Abigail do when confronted with Mary’s accusation of pretense?
2. What behavior of Abby’s does Proctor bring to the judges’ attention?
3. Why does he choose to reveal these things?
4. What is Reverend Parris’ reaction to these charges against his niece?
5. How is Mary asked to prove that the girls were lying?
6. How does Abigail respond to Mary’s assertions that the girls were all lying?
7. What does Proctor finally call Abigail?
8. Who is brought in to back up this accusation, and what does she do?
9. How does Mary finally respond to Abby’s behavior?
(The entire section is 250 words.)
Act IV, Scene 1 Questions and Answers
1. What are Tituba and Sarah Good discussing as the act opens?
2. How does Tituba describe the devil in Barbados?
3. What has happened that has made Parris so anxious?
4. What happened in Andover?
5. Why is Parris afraid to hang John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse the next morning?
6. Why is Parris more frightened to hang Proctor and Nurse than anyone else?
7. Why does Parris request a postponement of the hangings?
8. What does Hale request instead of postponement?
9. Why does Danforth refuse Hale’s request?
10. What has Hale been advising those condemned to do?
(The entire section is 251 words.)
Act IV, Scene 2 Questions and Answers
1. What does Hale plead with Elizabeth to do?
2. Why does Hale believe a lie would not be a sin in this case?
3. Why is Hale so adamant in his attempts to convince Elizabeth?
4. Have any of the other prisoners confessed?
5. What reason does John give for not confessing?
6. What further reason keeps John from confessing?
7. What has John decided to do before he sees Elizabeth?
8. What does Elizabeth advise him to do?
9. How has Elizabeth changed?
10. What reason does John have for not telling the truth and going to his death?
1. Hale pleads with...
(The entire section is 229 words.)
Act IV, Scene 3 Questions and Answers
1. Why is Rebecca Nurse brought in to witness Proctor’s confession?
2. Why does Proctor refuse to name the names of other witches?
3. Why does Proctor refuse to give Danforth the paper with his signature on it?
4. What is the climax of the play?
5. What does Proctor do with the signed confession?
6. How has Proctor earned his death?
7. How does Elizabeth react to his choice of death?
8. When does Proctor claim his good name?
9. What reaction does Rebecca Nurse have to John Proctor’s confession?
10. Does Rebecca Nurse confess?
1. It is hoped...
(The entire section is 228 words.)