The Crucible: Act Notes – Act 4




·         A cell in Salem jail, that fall”, an almost drunk Marshal Herrick enters and wakes up Sarah Good, telling her to “go to the north cell; this place is wanted now”. Tituba says “we goin’ to Barbados” with the Devil where there “be no Hell”.

·         Hopkins the guard enters and announces the arrival of the Deputy Governor. Herrick grabs Tituba and both him and Hopkins leads her out the door whilst she protests, “no, [the Devil is] comin’ for me”. Sarah Good calls after them, telling Tituba to “tell [the Devil] Sarah Good is goin’ too!”

·         Herrick returns before Danforth, Judge Hathorne and Cheever enter. Through Danforth and Herrick’s conversation we learn that Hale “goes among them that will hang…and he prays with them…Mr Parris with him”.

·         Herrick is sent to fetch Parris who enters the cell “gaunt, frightened, and sweating”, and proceeds to tell Danforth, Hathorne and Cheever about how Hale “pleads with [Martha Corey and others], confess their crimes and save their lives”. He also reveals how his niece Abigail and her friend Mercy Lewis have vanished and are possibly now aboard a ship because he has discovered his daughter Betty “heard them speaking of ships” and that night he discovered that his “strongbox is broke into”.

·         Apparently feeling guilty about accusing the wrong people, Parris suggests to Danforth and Hathorne that Rebecca Nurse and Proctor’s hangings should be postponed because “these people have great weight yet in the town”. Danforth states that “there will be no postponement”.

·         Subsequently, Parris confesses that someone placed a dagger on his door which “clattered to the ground” as he opened it. It is this fear that “there is danger for [him]” that Parris does not want Rebecca Nurse, Proctor or others of “this sort” to be hanged.

·         Hale enters and is immediately congratulated by Danforth for his “good work”, but he remains “steeped in sorrow, exhausted, and more direct than he ever was” as he tells of how “[the prisoners] will not budge” and because “the sun will rise in a few minutes” he needs more time to convince them to save themselves by confessing.

·         Danforth insists that he “will not receive a single plea for pardon or postponement” because it “speaks a floundering on [his] part”. He then proceeds to question the others about Proctor who “sits like some great bird” in the dungeon and about Elizabeth who is “well on with child now”. He decides to send Herrick to fetch Elizabeth because he believes “her presence [can] soften [Proctor]” and convince him to confess.

·         Herrick and Elizabeth enter. Hale informs Elizabeth that her husband is due to hang that morning and subsequently tries to convince her that “it is mistaken law that leads you to sacrifice” and begs her to “prevail upon your husband to confess”. She does not soften at first, but after Danforth’s reprimands her for being “stone” and orders her to be taken out she decides to speak to Proctor.

·         Herrick fetches John Proctor and they enter the cell. Proctor sees Elizabeth for the first time in months, and “the emotion flowing between them prevents anyone from speaking for an instant”. Hale takes the others out to let the couple speak in private.

·         Conversation between Proctor and Elizabeth is strained and “it is as though they stood in a spinning world…beyond sorrow, above it”. They ask about each other, about their friends, and about their child. Through their conversation we find out that hundreds have confessed but not Rebecca, and that Giles had been tortured to death because he would not confess.

·         Proctor states that he “cannot mount the gibbet like a saint” because he is “no good man”, but Elizabeth believes that his refusal to confess so far “speak[s] goodness in [him]”. They then have a very emotionally tense argument about whose sins they each take, with Elizabeth thinking “you take my sins up you, John” whilst Proctor believes “no, I take my own, my own!”

·         Hathorne enters and demands to know Proctor’s final decision. Elizabeth still insists that her husband should “do what [he] will. But let none be [his] judge”, which prompts Proctor to become “off the earth, his voice hollow” and finally confess that he wants his life. His internal struggle becomes most apparent when he is faced with Hathorne’s glee that “Proctor will confess!” and Elizabeth’s repetitive claim that she “cannot judge [him]”.

·         Danforth and Cheever enter and present Proctor with pen and paper for Proctor to write down and sign his confession for all of Salem to see. At this point Rebecca Nurse enters and shows her disappointment upon learning about Proctor’s confession, but still refuses to “damn [herself]” by lying about a crime she has not committed.

·         Danforth begins questioning Proctor about who he has seen with the Devil, to which he replies no one at all, and Danforth soon figures out that Proctor is lying about his confession. Proctor refuses to sign his confession and finally reaches breaking point, furiously exclaiming that “God does not need my name nailed upon the church…God knows how black my sins are!” and subsequently tearing the confession paper.

·         Danforth immediately orders “hang [the remaining prisoners] high over the town!” whilst Parris and Hale both desperately plead to Elizabeth so she will go and convince Proctor to confess again. However, Elizabeth does nothing and instead says “[Proctor] have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!”



Motifs & Connotations:


Miller uses paper to symbolise authority, therefore Proctor’s evasion of writing down his confession, signing it, and then his final act where he “tears the paper and crumples it” (p125) further establishes his rebellious and heroic character. He challenges authority and only does what he truly believes is the morally correct thing to do, which in his case was to not confess to being involved with the Devil, thus helping to relay Miller’s message that society should stand up against McCarthyism. However, in committing this deed Proctor has also proved that the authoritative figures in society are not as powerful as they make themselves appear to be because as soon as the paper was torn and crumpled it lost all its significance in an instance, and hence the audience will be able to see that there is hope in rallying against the government for the normal people (as opposed to tragic heroes) like them as well. Furthermore, paper is usually associated with the truth, but due to the fact that Proctor’s confession was a lie and that the written statement was “for the good instruction of the village” (p120) and was supposed to be “post[ed] upon the church door” (p121) clearly conveys how blind these figures of authority are. They cannot see that Proctor is going against his better intentions and deceitfully confessing because he feels that he “cannot mount the gibbet like a saint” (p118), showing how misplaced their values are also.


Inside and outside

Most scenes of “The Crucible” take place indoors, usually inside small rooms with sealed windows or none at all, to reflect how oppressive this Puritanical society is. Miller is showing how the people in Salem feel very restricted because they think they do not have the freedom to be individuals and believe in what they think is morally correct, and are forced into this frame of mind by authoritative figures in the church and in the government. Likewise, McCarthy and his followers also metaphorically put people inside small claustrophobic rooms in order to pressurise them into believing that communists are a threat to society, and because there is a “barred window” and “a great, heavy door” (p108) it is difficult for people to escape this place and see the real truth which is outside. Therefore it is significant that Miller shows us the prisoners wanting to escape the oppression of Salem, such as Tituba who is “goin’ to Barbados” (p108) or Proctor who finally chooses freedom by not confessing and hence is led out to the place where he is to be hanged. The motif of outside thereby suggests freedom from the social restrictions of Salem and the possibility of being an individual by not conforming to what everyone ‘must’ believe, which is what Miller hopes to show his 1950s audience and make them realise that they too can discover the truth, step outside and be free.



Violence has been used throughout the play as a form of punishment to those who refuse to obey orders from authoritative figures – such as Mary Warren who gets beaten by Proctor or the people of Salem who are hanged because they do not confess to working with the Devil – and as a form of manipulation – for instance Abigail who tries to shift the blame onto Mary Warren by exclaiming “this is a black art to change your shape…please, Mary! Don’t come down” (p101). Likewise, in Act 4 we learn that violence was used to brutally manipulate Giles Corey into confessing something he did not do by having “great stones they lay upon his chest until he plead aye or nay” (p118), and that violence was used as a threat in order to show Proctor that he would be punished unless he “will give [Danforth] your honest confession in [his] hand, or [he] cannot keep you from the rope” (p124). Furthermore, Miller includes so much violence in each act of the play to emphasise how much pressure has built up in this tyrannical society where people are forced into believing things they do not want to believe, and hence conveys to the audience that if no one takes a stand against McCarthyism then a lot more violence would erupt making society very unstable and dangerous.



Miller most probably intended Proctor to be the sole tragic hero of “The Crucible”, but the change in character which Hale has experienced and his attitude towards Salem’s society in Act 4 may also allow him to be labeled as another hero. If we first explore the character of Proctor, though, we will see that he is a tragic hero because he battles a very intense internal struggle to decide whether he should dishonestly confess and live because he feels he “cannot mount the gibbet like a saint” (p118) like people such as Rebecca Nurse and Giles Corey, or whether he should stand by his moral values and not confess because he has not done anything wrong but then be hanged for it. Although he initially decided that “I want my life” (p120) despite knowing that “it is evil” (p120), after the additional pressure put on him by Danforth to sign the testimony Proctor finally reaches the height of his anger and tolerance when with “his breast heaving, his eyes staring, Proctor tears the paper and crumples it, and he is weeping in fury” (p125). This rebellious act of tearing the important document further accentuates his heroism because he knows that he cannot go on living a life behind the façade of his name when really he has already given up his soul to the controlling authorities.


The other character who could possibly be viewed as a hero is Hale. In the beginning he showed no signs of heroism because he “came into this village like a bridegroom to his beloved” (p115) in a very naïve manner, but from act 1 to act 4 he has changed considerably. Now, in act 4, Hale has realised that “where I turned the eye of my great faith, blood flowed up” (p115) because of the corrupt nature of the Puritanical Salem society, and so is fighting back against the authorities who have infested so much fear and violence into the village. Miller portrays Hale as an everyday-hero whom the audience can relate to and hence uses him as a mouthpiece to warn the 1950s American society to “cleave to no faith when faith brings blood”; what this message conveys is how people should not succumb to McCarthyism because it is morally unjustified and will undoubtedly breed fear and violence in their country as well.


Individual VS society

Due to the oppressive nature of Salem’s Puritanical society, most people are conformists who blindly let their lives and beliefs be guided by the corrupt authorities, such as those from the church and the government. However, there are people who dare to be individuals in Salem, with Proctor being a prime example and even made into a hero to emphasise this, but ironically these people are condemned for having their own internal set of morals and beliefs. The absurd situation and social ideals which have been created are Miller’s way of demonstrating how absurd McCarthyism is; if society continues to allow itself to believe McCarthy’s claims that communism is an ‘UnAmerican’ behaviour which must be punished then evidently they are not being respectable individuals who really should be asserting their own opinions. The playwright’s message is further reinforced by the fact that the Devil – who could arguably be the most individual character in the play – is looked up to as the “pleasure-man” (p108) because in comparison to the warm and free Barbados where singing and dancing and other such fun and expressionistic activities are allowed, Massachusetts (and likewise, America in the 1950s) is “too cold for that Old Boy” (p108). This portrays how people need to escape from this repressive society into a place where they can live happily as their individual selves.


Religion and the Devil

Miller wants his audience to realise the gravity of the situation America was in during the 1950s McCarthyism movement, so he uses the two extremes of God and the Devil to convey the idea of the struggle between good and evil in society. However, he does not associate the ‘saints’ – for instance Rebecca and Giles – with God or the evil authoritative figures – such as Danforth and Hathorne – with the Devil, but conversely Miller decides to switch the perception of such icons around in order to portray how distorted people’s ideals have become in this corrupt society. For example, Tituba relates the Devil to fun and freedom by stating that “him be singin’ and dancin’ in Barbados” (p108) whilst on the other hand Hathorne ironically exclaims “God be praised! It is a providence!” after Proctor lies and confesses. Through the absurdity of this inverted religion where to “come to do the Devil’s work” (p114) is considered ‘good’ whilst those who belong to the church are considered ‘bad’ (for instance, Parris), Miller is trying to convey that society must open their eyes and see the truth of the situation rather than let itself blindly accept what they are told to believe by such authoritative institutions.



Themes & Connotations:

Roles and duties in society

Each character seems to have their own part to play in Salem’s society which is derived from how the authorities tell them to behave or from a willingness to deviate from these social ‘norms’. For instance, the women are expected to be good Christians, “lack learning” (p115), passive, and be respectable “Goody” wives. A feminist reading would reveal that Miller is stereotyping women, however, into the standard ‘motherly, caring, housewife’ role with no power over the men, as exemplified by Elizabeth and Rebecca Nurse. Meanwhile, the men are also expected to be good Christians and respectable husbands, but they are also more powerful and aggressive in society. They are allowed to hold a position of power – such as Parris who is in charge of the church or Hathorne who is a judge – and can do their duties in order to help their society develop. Although, because Salem is such an unpleasant place seeping with fear and violence, Miller is most likely trying to convey the idea that the roles and duties people have in this village are wrong and corrupt, and so his audience must learn from that so as not to make the same mistake. For example, McCarthy does not deserve his position of power because the communist-eliminating duty he is carrying out is wrong.



In any dramatic play there would be a main point of conflict which comes after the development of the plot and before the issue is resolved, but Miller chooses not to use this standard play format in “The Crucible”. Instead, he has many conflicts arise between different groups of people and includes a tense climatic moment in each act; this may be his method of portraying how this society is already under high pressure due to it being so oppressed and so violent outbursts can occur at any given moment. The conflicts displayed are between individuals and society, between good and evil ideals, and within Proctor which is portrayed by his internal struggle between “giving them this lie that were not rotten long before” (p118) and “mount[ing] the gibbet like a saint” (p118).



None of the characters in this play seem to be exempt from the church and the government’s rule of oppression, not even the tragic hero John Proctor. People such as Parris, Hathorne and Danforth control every little aspect of people’s lives, including what religion they must have, how they must behave in society, what they must believe, and so forth, and this very restrictive and highly pressurised society is conveyed through the setting of the play which is always indoors in a small room often with “a high barred window…heavy door…in darkness but for the moonlight” (p107). Miller seems to want to emphasise the extent of this inhumane oppression in order to demonstrate to his 1950s audience what they must not allow to happen by creating such extreme and absurd circumstances, for example, if one lies and confesses to working with the Devil one would live, but if one is honest and does not confess then one is hanged. Severe punishments such as this, violence and religion are all the tools of oppression in this play.



A consequence of extreme oppression is rebellion, and it seems very ironic that this would inevitably occur despite it being the very occurrence which the authorities have tried to prevent in the first place. Miller depicts rebellion in two ways in act 4; firstly, there is Proctor’s personal triumph over Salem’s justice system which happens when he goes against what everyone advises him to do and instead trusts his morals by not confessing and getting hanged for it, and secondly there is an entire town’s uprising as “Andover have thrown out the court…and will have no part of witchcraft” (p111). The fact that Hathorne and Danforth are oblivious to the fact that Salem is beginning to riot hypocritically shows how they are not even aware of the situation they were trying to prevent, for instance when Danforth asks “you have heard rebellion spoken in the town?”, to which Hale replies “there are orphans wandering…better you should marvel how they do not burn your province!”It appears that Miller is trying to tell his audience that some form of rebellion must occur, possibly by first rebelling against society as an individual before working together with others to overthrow the corrupt government, so the country can be saved from destruction.



Although power seems to lie in the hands of the authorities – in Salem this would have been the church and the justice system whilst in America this would have been the government – Miller possibly wants to show his audience that in actual fact power lies in the people who make up the society. Without the full cooperation and obedience of the Salemites, Hathorne and Danforth would not be so influential and people would carry on living according to their own social and moral ideals. However, because the Salem Miller presents to us was already very oppressed, its people cannot seem to see that they can still change this situation by fighting together for what they believe in. By showing this to his audience, the playwright is telling them to open their eyes and see the reality that they can and must take action against McCarthyism.



Symbols & Connotations:

The Devil

This links to the theme of religion and also to the way in which the ideals of Salemites have been completely distorted. The Devil is usually associated with evilness and sins but here the Devil is portrayed as the “pleasure-man” (p108) in the much warmer, livelier and freer Barbados because even the most morally incorrect figure in Christianity cannot stand to be in Salem where it is “too cold” and would even “freeze his soul” (p108). This extreme image is Miller trying to prove his point that one should not be forced to live in a repressive society when there is a better quality of life to be had, one which allows for individuals to express themselves through “singin’ and dancin’” (p108) for instance. Moreover, the Devil symbolises individualism because he is free to choose how he wants to live, and since Miller portrays individuals as heroes in “The Crucible” it makes the Devil seem like one too. This appears to be completely absurd, which is exactly Miller’s point; this society has forced its people into such a limited range of ridiculous actions that everyone’s minds and beliefs have been distorted so that good is seen as evil and vice versa.


The cold

The cold surrounds everyone in Salem and the audience is only ever shown the village in winter or fall to help emphasise the idea that this place stifles people’s actions, is extremely depressing, and is inescapable. It even penetrates inside the rooms so that Danforthblows on his hands” and Cheever is seen “stamping his feet against the cold” (p109). This contrasts with warm Barbados where people’s actions are not limited because they can “be singin’ and dancin’” and be as happy as they want to.



These animals are never seen because they are outside, but their presence is felt and they are talked about because they represent chaos and the deterioration of the village. At first, “a bellowing cow is heard, and Tituba leaps up” (p108) thinking that it was the Devil speaking to her, which evidently portrays how she is bordering on insanity because the domineering Puritanical society has distorted her views of reality. Following this comes the discussion about how there are “so many cows wanderin’ the highroads, now their masters are in the jails” (p109), which shows the declining economy of Salem where there is no one to tend to the livestock and carry on their daily routines because the corrupt figures of authority have greatly interfered with people’s individual lives. Furthermore, Miller probably chose to use cows as a symbol of chaos because the image of them wandering around the town just seems highly ridiculous and this would reinforce the playwright’s message that this whole situation is ridiculous, therefore the people of 1950s must start taking action against McCarthyism now before it results in the deterioration of America.



Paper is usually associated with the truth and with authority but its value is undermined when it appears in the form of a list with the so-called ‘condemned’ people’s names on it and then later as proof that Proctor has confessed to a crime he did not even commit. The way that Danforth, Hathorne and Cheever take these documents so seriously further makes them appear ridiculous and therefore untrustworthy because these people are meant to know the truth and hence be trusted to manage the village, but they are actually the complete opposite. Paper is also used as a tool to symbolise heroism and individualism, as exemplified by Proctor refusing to sign the testimony and have his confession “post[ed] upon the church door!”



Names help to represent one’s character, for instance the women are called “Goody…” most likely because they are expected to behave like respectable wives and mothers, and this is most obvious with Proctor and his assertion that “God does not need my name nailed upon the church! God sees my name; God knows how black my sins are!” (p124). He desperately tries to show the oblivious Danforth, Hathorne and Cheever “with a cry of his soul” (p124) that his name is important to him because it forms part of his identity and makes him an individual. Moreover, he has already “given you [his] soul” (p124) which stood for everything he ever believed in and so the least that the authorities can do is “leave [him his] name!” (p124) so he can live with the shred of dignity which is remains with his identifiable name. If it was posted on the church door then the entire village would know him no longer as the hero John Proctor, but as the lying and cowardly John Proctor.




John Proctor

Throughout “The Crucible” the audience has seen the two elements which make up Proctor’s unique character; on one hand he is a sinner because he had an affair with Abigail, but on the other hand he is an admirable hero because he realised this mistake and is willing to reveal this affair to the world in order to save Elizabeth from being hanged. In act 4, we see the heroic element of his character prevail due to his final decision to not confess and to give up his life to defend the moral values that he passionately believes in. This brave decision to not confess did not come easily to him, however, and it is in this act that his internal struggles are most evident. Having been an assertive and determined character all along, at the height of his moral battle the audience suddenly see him begin to question himself and others, “then who will judge me? God in Heaven, what is John Proctor...I think it is honest…” (p120). Goodness prevails in him though, and finally he realises that “I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor…” (p125), so he stands by his individualism and beliefs by refusing to succumb to social pressures, which in this case were forced on him by Danforth who commands him to “give me your honest confession in my hand, or I cannot keep you from the rope” (p124). At the very end of the act Proctor is seen to finally be at peace with himself because he knows “he have his goodness now” (p126), and is therefore the ultimate tragic hero of the play.



When the audience first observe Danforth in his role as the Deputy Governor, we perceive him as a man of justice who is willing to listen to everyone’s account of the situation and who will use his power appropriately because he “burn[s] a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment” (p81). However, later on we see his authoritative position being undermined as he applies some form of irrational logic to the case, “witchcraft is ipso facto…as for the witches, none will deny that we are most eager for all their confessions” (p90), and seeks for wrongdoers rather than accept that no one was working with the Devil. In act 4 we see his position of power further undermined because it seems like he is only asserting that “them that will not confess will hang” because “postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve or pardon must cast doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now” (p113), meaning he would rather have the remaining seven prisoners hanged rather than admit to making the mistake of sentencing the previous twelve to death. Therefore, Salem’s justice system appears to be highly corrupt because its morals are all twisted; it is more concerned with keeping up the appearance that they have been right all along rather than face the truth and stop killing people. Now the audience would perceive them as morally unjust, violent and dangerous to the village, which is probably the response Miller was hoping for because he wants his 1950s American audience to open their eyes and see past the façade of the power-hungry and rebellion-fearing McCarthy and his HUAC group.

(Hathorne and Cheever could also be described in this manner because they all represent corrupt authoritative figures.)



In this act Parris appears to be highly restless and frightened because he finally realised that he mistakenly accused people of witchcraft after wrongfully trusting Abigail and Betty’s antics. The fact that he believed the girls in the first place portrays just how easily manipulated he is, and this weakness in his character is further emphasised when he reveals that “they be aboard a ship…my strongbox is broke into” (p111). On one hand we agree with Danforth when he calls Parris “a brainless man” (p111) because he was too concerned with carrying out his duties against the Devil as a Puritanical Reverend, but on the other hand we feel some sympathy for him because he has realised his mistake, as opposed to Danforth who is still blind to the truth. Therefore, even though the audience perceives his fear that “there is danger for me” (p112) and his attempts to make up for what he has done to Proctor by saying “if you desire a cup of cider…” (p116) as rather pathetic, we still appreciate his willingness to save the innocent people by telling Elizabeth to “go to [Proctor]…there is yet time!” (p125).



Similarly to Parris, Hale has also experienced a change in character, but this change makes him more of a hero in comparison to the change in Parris which makes him more pathetic. Miller most likely wanted to portray Hale as the every-day hero whom his audience could relate to and follow the example of, because this character’s actions reflect those of his American audience. Hale was initially a person who “came into this village like a bridegroom to his beloved…with my bright confidence” (p115), thinking that he knew everything about witchcraft and Christianity, but this naïve man later transformed into someone who could see the truth that there are no witches or Devils running wild in Salem, but rather that the corrupt figures of authority’s power was spiraling out of control. Miller possibly uses Hale as a mouthpiece, particularly in his long speech where he warns Elizabeth that they should “cleave to no faith when faith brings blood…no principle, however glorious, may justify the taking of [life]” (p115), with the purpose of conveying the message that McCarthyism should not be promoted to his audience.



One interpretation of Elizabeth’s character in this act is that she is merely a tool of Miller’s used to enhance Proctor’s heroism by allowing him to decide his own fate because she “cannot judge [him]” (p118). Furthermore, she seems to be so intent on putting the blame on herself and letting Proctor “have his goodness” (p126) by refusing to answer his questions directly, “Proctor: I’d have you see some honesty in it…what say you?”, “Elizabeth: it come to naught that I should forgive you, if you’ll not forgive yourself…whatever you will do, it is a good man does it” (p119). However, another interpretation of Elizabeth’s character which is viewed from a feminist perspective is that she is being the stereotypically passive female who only wants to please her husband. Conversely, it could be said that she has wisdom and a pure set of morals in her which allows her to see that Proctor is the only one who can overcome his internal struggles and reach a peace of mind.



Imagery & Setting:

Indoors, inside a jail cell

The entire play has taken place indoors and this is still the case in this act, but the connotations of being inside a small room – oppression, restriction of freedom, being prevented from seeing the truth – are more accentuated here because the setting is “in Salem jail” where the only escape routes are through “a high barred window” and “a great, heavy door” (p107). Having the final act inside a depressing and claustrophobic jail cell adds tension to the atmosphere and helps build up to arguably the most significant climax where Proctor “tears the paper and crumples it” and declares “now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor” (p125). Moreover, it provides a dramatic contrast to the outside world where Proctor can finally have his freedom and lay his troubled soul to rest.


Dark to light/night to day

This act begins “in darkness but for the moonlight seeping through the bars” (p107) but ends with “the new sun [is] pouring in” (p126). This shows the climatic progression from the frightening, Puritanical, tyrannical world of Salem where the society is metaphorically kept in darkness so they do not see the truth that the authorities are corrupt, to the enlightenment of the tragic hero who finally bursts through the highly pressurised ‘crucible’ which was restricting him and others in the village. Through this progression – which is also represented by the stifling coldness which permeates the beginning of the act making Danforthblow[s] on his hands” (p109), but is no longer present at the end – Miller is probably trying to show his audience that they too can go through this change and achieve a much better quality of life at the end of it.


Outside noises

This links to the way the inside symbolises oppression whilst the outside symbolises freedom, but to further add to this, the outside world also represents Miller’s prediction of the future. Firstly, we hear “a bellowing cow” which startles Tituba and initiates the discussion about rebellion between Hale and Danforth, and this could suggest how America could turn into this chaotic place if the economy is allowed to disintegrate with the corrupt government in charge. Secondly, “a drumroll…a short burst of drums” (p125) are heard towards the very end of the act to accompany the rapid progression of events from Proctor’s heroic breakthrough to the moment he is hanged, and this adds tension to the climax and highlights how dramatic it all is. Miller ends with “the final drumroll crash[ing], then heighten[ing] violently” to leave his audience with the lasting impression that they have the power to change the political situation in 1950s America by showing them this promising outside world where “the new sun is pouring in” (p126).



Relation of Part to Whole:

This act is structured in the same format as the rest of the acts with an informative beginning where the characters discuss issues, followed by a conflict, a swift progression of events to build up tension, and then ends on a climax, but it could be argued that act 4 has the most significant climax in “The Crucible”. This is because the audience finally sees Proctor overcome his internal moral struggles and reach the realisation that “he have his goodness now” (p126) and heroically sacrifice his life in order to defend his moral values. Furthermore, it is in this act that we see the true elements of each character shine through – Danforth, Hathorne and Cheever are all corrupt, cowardly and domineering authorities who abuse their powers over Salem; Parris is the broken Reverend who is weak and pitiable; Hale is the every-day hero who rebels against Salem’s distorted justice system; Elizabeth is the passive but morally just wife who allows her husband to continue in his fight to a purity of his soul; and Proctor is the tragic hero who finally achieves peace of mind. Essentially, act 4 concludes Miller’s message to his 1950s American audience that they must cooperate as a group of strong individuals and fight for the right to hold their own morals and beliefs by preventing McCarthyism from destroying innocent lives and their society.