The Crucible - Quotations



Abigail Williams

·         Stage directions: an endless capacity for dissembling

·         “…and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you.”

·         “I’d almost forgot how strong you are, John Proctor!”

·         Stage directions: Winningly she comes a little closer, with a confidential, wicked air.

·         “I want to open myself! I want the light of God… I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!”

·         Stage directions: in an open threat. “Let you beware, Mr Danforth.”

·         Stage directions: They all watch, as Abigail, out of her infinite charity, reaches out and draws the sobbing Mary to her, and then looks up to Danforth.


John Proctor

·         “Ah, you’re wicked yet, aren’t y’!”

·         “It’s well seasoned.”

·         “It is a providence, and no great change; we are only what we always were, but naked now. Aye, naked! And the wind, God’s icy wind, will blow!”

·         “But it is a whore’s vengeance…”

·         “I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint.”

·         “Is there no good penitence but it be public?”

·         “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”


Elizabeth Proctor

·         Stage directions: She receives it.

·         “She thinks to take my place, John.”

·         “Adultery, John.”

·         “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!”


Rebecca Nurse

·         “I have seen them all through their silly seasons…”

·         “Let us rather blame ourselves…”


Reverend Hale

·         “We cannot look to superstition in this.  The Devil is precise; the marks of his presence are as definite as stone…”

·         “But it does not follow that everyone accused is part of it.”

·         “I may shut my conscience to it no more – private vengeance is working through this testimony!”

·         “I denounce these proceedings!”

·         “I come to do the Devil’s work. I come to counsel Christians they should belie themselves. There is blood on my head! Can you not see the blood on my head!!


Thomas Putnam

·         “There is a murdering witch among us, bound to keep herself in the dark.”

·         “Sarah Good? Did you ever see Sarah Good with him? Or Osburn?”


Giles Corey

·         “This man is killing his neighbours for their land!”


Deputy Governor Danforth

·         “But witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime, is it not? Therefore who may possibly be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None other. Now we cannot hope the witch will accuse herself; granted? Therefore we must rely upon her victims…”

·         “Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve or pardon must cast doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now. While I speak God’s law, I will not crack its voice with whimpering.”

·         “Look you, sir. I think you mistake your duty here. It matters nothing what she thought…”

·         “Is that document a lie? If it is a lie I will not accept it! What say you? I will not deal in lies, Mister!”

·         “Who weeps for them, weeps for corruption!




Individual vs. Society

p.16      ‘The witch-hunt was a perverse manifestation of the panic which set in among all the classes when the balance began to turn toward greater individual freedom.’ (p.16)

p.33      MRS PUTNAM: ‘There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires!’

p.35      PARRIS: ‘There is a party in this church.’ PROCTOR: ‘Why then I must find it and join it!’

p.35      PROCTOR: ‘I like not the smell of this ‘authority’.’

p.54      ELIZABETH: ‘You must tell them it is a fraud.’ (p.54)

p.71      CHEEVER: ‘You’ve ripped the Deputy Governor’s warrant, man!’

p.80      GILES: ‘She has been strivin’ with her soul all week, Your Honour; she comes now to tell the truth of this to you.’

p.84      PARRIS: ‘He has come to overthrow this court, Your Honour!’

p.97      PROCTOR: ‘It is a whore!’ PROCTOR: ‘A man will not cast away his good name.’

p.124    PROCTOR: ‘I have given you my soul; leave me my name!’


Repressive/Oppressive/Controlling nature of society

p.13      ‘…until this strange crisis he [Parris], like the rest of Salem, never conceived that the children were anything but thankful for being permitted to walk straight, eyes slightly lowered, arms at the sides and mouths shut until bidden to speak.’

p.14      ‘Their creed forbade anything resembling a theatre of ‘vain enjoyment’. They did not celebrate Christmas, and a holiday from work meant only that they must concentrate even more on prayer.’

p.38      ‘…the necessity of the Devil may become evident as a weapon, a weapon designed and used time and time again in every age to whip men to surrender to a particular church or church-state’

p.85      HALE: ‘Is every defence an attack upon the court?’


Hysteria through Secrecy and Rule Breaking, Jealousy, Violence

p.17      ‘Old scores could be settled on a plane of heavenly combat between Lucifer and the Lord; suspicions and the envy of the miserable toward the happy could and did burst out in the general revenge.’

p.19      PARRIS: ‘That my daughter and my niece I discovered dancing like heathen in the forest?’

p.25      MARY WARREN: ‘The village is out! I just come from the farm; the whole country’s talkin’ witchcraft! They’ll be callin’ us witches, Abby!’

p.27      ABIGAIL: ‘I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!’

p.28      PROCTOR: ‘Ah, you’re wicked yet, aren’t y’!’

p.41      PROCTOR: ‘I’ve heard you to be a sensible man, Mr Hale. I hope you’ll leave some of it in Salem.’

p.49      ABIGAIL: ‘I want to open myself!...I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!’

p.72      PROCTOR: ‘…vengeance is walking Salem…This warrant’s vengeance! I’ll not give my wife to vengeance!’

p.87      GILES: ‘This man is killing his neighbours for their land!’

p.98      PROCTOR: ‘She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave!...But it’s a whore’s vengeance’