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John and Elizabeth Proctor lived in Salem, in a house that was isolated from the village. They had 2 children, 2 sons. Elizabeth was rather cold and austere, and John was a lively, cheerful man. The family used to have a servant, Abigail Williams.

Before the story starts, John and Abigail were lovers. But one day, Elizabeth had discovered what was going on and she had dismissed Abigail. However, Abigail was madly in love with John, and she decided to take revenge.

So she invited other girls from the village to come and join her in the woods and to dance around a pot boiling on a fire. The idea was to cast a spell on Elizabeth. Abigail was dancing naked, when her uncle, Reverend Parris surprised her.

Two girls who had danced fainted and couldn't wake up, so what?

In the village, people started talking about the devil. Maybe the girls were "bewitched"?

To make it clear, Reverend Parris decided to call upon an expert in witchcraft, Reverend Hale.

In a panic, Abigail tried to wake up one of the girls, and the child opened her eyes. Then Abigail threatened the other girls: we danced, that's all..... Abigail managed to scare and terrify them all.

When Reverend Hale arrived, John Proctor went to the centre of the village because the villagers wanted his opinion, as John was known as a good, kind , fair and honest man, with a sound common sense. Nobody knew that he had had an adulterous relationship with Abigail.

Reverend Hale started his investigation. Then Reverend Parris told him that Abigail and other girls had danced in the woods, and finally one girl cracked: she accused Abigail of starting all this.

Abigail, to find a way out, accused a black servant, Tituba.

Reverend Hale went to Tituba and asked her if she was in touch with the Devil. To make his point, he made a deal with her: if you confess, we help you and forgive you. If you don't, you are sentenced.

Tituba was quick to understand where her interest was, so she confessed.

Immediately, the attitude of the Reverend and the population changed: Tituba was no longer a monster, in touch with the devil, she was a victim who needed help and protection.

And more importantly: now that she was the victim, everybody believed her, so she could accuse anyone.

At this very moment, Abigail understood the benefit of this situation: if she confessed, she would become a victim, everybody would listen to her, respect her. And she could accuse all the people she wanted to get rid of, for example Elisabeth Proctor.

So she confessed. And started accusing other people of the village of being in touch with the devil. The other girls followed: the hysteria was in full sway. The with-hunt could start.

After some time, Elizabeth Proctor became aware of the potential danger and she asked John to go to the village and to talk to the Reverend or to the Judges, to explain that there were no witches, that everything had been made up by Abigail.

John felt trapped. For the first time in his life, this 'honest' man had something to hide, and he couldn't stand firmly with his feet on the ground.

Elizabeth reproached him his cowardice and they had a row. He said she was like a judge, but that she had no love in her heart, that she was so cold she could freeze beer.

As time went by, every day brought new accusations: an old man who could hardly walk was accused of raping a young girl; a good old lady was accused of trafficking with the devil. Who would be next?

And the danger drew nearer. Mary Warren, the new servant of the Proctors, warned Elizabeth that Abigail had accused her publicly of being a witch. But she added: "I defended you, I said that you never harmed anyone, and they forgot about it."

Again Elizabeth asked John to go to the village, but John didn't do so. Instead he had a private conversation with Abigail, asking her to stop everything and to confess her manipulation. Abigail refused, tried to seduce him again, but John rejected her. And he warned her: 'don't touch Elizabeth, if you do, I'll get you".

In the evening, Reverend Hale paid them a visit, to assess how Christian the Proctors were.

John justified his absences in church by putting the blame on Reverend Parris who, he said, was more interested in money and power than in God.

Under his wife's pressure, John eventually told Reverend Hale what Abigail had told him: that there were no witches, that a few girls had just danced naked in the woods.

"But why did the accused confess then", asked Reverend Hale?

"Because they wanted to avoid 'the rope'," John said. "Didn't you think of that"?

At this very moment, a carriage drawn by horses stopped in front of the Proctors' house. The police forces were there, to arrest Elizabeth Proctor, allegedly because Abigail had fallen on a knife. According to Abigail, this was a spell cast on her by Elizabeth Proctor.

The police searched the house and found a puppet, with a needle planted at the very place Abigail had got hurt. For them, it was clearly witchcraft.

In reality, Abigail was present when Mary Warren had made the puppet, had stung the needle in the puppet. When the police had left with Elizabeth, John questioned Mary Warren and forced her to come to the trial the day after.

John had suddenly realized his mistake: because he had refused to get involved and stop all this stupid gossip in time, now his wife was accused, arrested and would be judged. He had kept silent because of the



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