The Crucible: Act Notes – Act 3
· The scene is set in court, where Judge Hathorne is asking questions and Martha Corey is answering them.
· Hathorne accuses Martha Corey of being a which, she denies it
· Giles shouts out that he has evidence against the accusation that his wife is a witch, and therefore Hathorne orders that Giles should be arrested
· Hale enters the court room and helps defend Giles, in order to save his wife
· Francis Nurse, who's wife was condemned that morning, states that the girls that are making the accusations are a fraud.
· Mary Warren and Proctor enter the court scene and defend Elizabeth, who has also been accused of witchcraft.
· Therefore, Proctor denies that his wife has anything to do with witchcraft and Mary Warren admits that she had previously lied in court about the presence of the Devil and witches.
· We find out that Elizabeth Proctor is pregnant and therefore is allowed to live another year, until she has the baby.
· Proctor presents a letter
which has been signed by 91 people, stating that they have seen so sign of
· Proctor and Giles continuously attempt to prove their wives' innocence, yet are accused of being a threat to the court.
· Danforth attempts to show logic in their accusations by calling witchcraft an 'invisible crime.'
· Abigail and the other girls are brought into the court scene.
· Abigail manipulates Danforth and the court, Proctor jumps at her and calls her a whore
· Proctor admits to his
affair with Abigail to the court, and so his wife is brought in in order to question her whether this claim is true, as
Proctor states that
· Suddenly all the girls start pointing to the ceiling, as if they were seeing a yellow bird and pretend that they are controlled by Mary Warren.
· Mary Warren accuses Proctor of being the 'Devil's man'.
· The scene ends in chaos, Hale quits the court.
Themes, Motifs & Connotations:
Miller's idea of a hero, is an everyday man who is struggling against the forces he cannot overcome. Therefore the hero of this play is Proctor and the hero characteristics are evident throughout this scene. Firstly, Proctor is fighting to dignity and therefore does not only fight to save himself or his wife, but also all of his friends that are wrongly accused and thus do not deserve to die. Secondly, another aspect of heroism that Miller conveys is the struggle between Proctor and the stronger forces, thus the court and the authorities. Since he is the individual against the stronger forces in society he will therefore triumph and defeat them, however according to Miller is is this struggle which makes him heroic.
Relation to 1960's
The struggle that Proctor
is experiencing against the stronger forces in society mimics the struggle
against McCarthyism in 1960's
Religion and the Devil
Throughout this scene the idea of the devil and associations to witchcraft is continued throughout this extract, as the court is continuing to accuse women of associations with the Devil, based on no evidence. Throughout this scene the references to religion and the devil is utilised in order to once again draw attention to the fact that no one can be accused of this 'invisible crime' yet the characters do believe in this witchcraft and thus get 'entangled' in the situation, continuously accusing people. Therefore this theme is used in order to show how clearly we can see the absurdity of this situation of witch hunts and therefore he wants us to come to realisation that McCarthyism is similarly clearly ridiculous.
Proctor is the obvious hero in this book, as he is the character struggling against stronger authorities, and therefore it is this feature and this struggle which according to Miller makes him heroic. Therefore Miller possibly wants the audience to come to the realisation of the absurdity of McCarthyism and therefore, similar to Proctor, and stand up against these forces despite them being stronger.
Throughout this scene
Hale is one of the most important characters, as he also has some heroic
qualities present throughout this scene. Hale was previously persuaded by the
presence of witches as he was an expert on the matter,
however the fact that he comes to a realisation of
the absurdity of the situation shows a definite heroic element. This realisation and dramatic change as he ultimately quits the
court, as he is disgusted by its functioning possibly also reflects Miller's
belief that the average American can also come to such realisation
of the ridiculous functioning of authorities and McCarthyism in 1960s
Elements are revealed about
She is continued to be portrayed in the same manner as in previous scenes, as her manipulative character is clearly evident. Despite the fact that she is using this manipulation in order to falsely accuse women, as an audience we possibly slightly admire the extent of her manipulative skills, as she manages to persuade the court and the judges that she is correct, even though she has no evidence and further persuades them that she is controlled by Mary Warren through her dramatic acting.
Males and Females
From a feminist's
perspective, it could be argued that male characters such as Proctor and Hale
have depths to their characters as she both change and develop throughout the
scene (and the play). This contrasts to the female characters who seem to be
used more as plot devices (such as Abigail, Goody Proctor, Goody Nurse), as
there is less psychological realism with the female characters and thus a more
stereotypical depiction. This is further evident as the elements of heroism are
present only in Proctor and Hale, in contrast
This scene is set within
the court which reflects the controlling nature of the authorities as they are in control in the court scene. Furthermore, the fact
that it is set inside continues to reflect the conservative nature of the town
Relation of Part to Whole:
This scene reflects the
book as a whole, due to the elements of heroism presents in Proctor and notably
Hale, as Hale ultimately comes to realisation of the
ridiculous situation happening in the court and
therefore quits the court. This is the realisation
that Miller wants us to come to, concerning McCartyism
and thus notice that something so clearly ridiculous is also happening in 1960s