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The Crucible

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"Man cannot isolate himself from the trials or problems of those around him; he must become involved"

In Salem, everything and everyone belongs to either God or the Devil; dissent is not merely unlawful, it is associated with satanic activity. Hysteria supplants logic and enables people to believe that their neighbors, whom they have always considered upstanding people, are committing absurd and unbelievable crimes--communing with the devil, killing babies, and so on. "A person is either with this court or he must be counted against it" says Danforth in Act III. When the hysteria begins, John proctor chooses not to get involved with all the madness thinking that it will be over soon, but when his wife, Elizabeth, urges her husband to denounce Abigail as a fraud; he hesitates to expose Abigail as a fraud because he worries that his secret will be revealed and his good name ruined.

After the discussion with his wife, Mary Warren, their servant and one of Abigail's circle, returns from Salem with news that Elizabeth has been accused of witchcraft but the court did not pursue the accusation. Some time later officers of the court suddenly arrive and arrest Elizabeth. After they have taken her, Proctor insists that Mary go to Salem and expose Abigail and the other girls as frauds. At the court, Mary tells the court that the girls are lying. When the girls are brought in, they turn the tables by accusing Mary of bewitching them. Proctor then confesses his affair with Abigail and accuses her of being motivated by jealousy of his wife and wanting her dead so that she can marry him. To test Proctor's claim, Danforth summons Elizabeth and asks her if Proctor has been unfaithful to her.

Despite her natural honesty, she lies to protect Proctor's honor, and Danforth denounces Proctor as a liar. Suddenly Mary breaks down and accuses Proctor of being a witch. John is arrested after Mary's accusation, the summer passes and autumn arrives. The witch trials have caused unrest



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