Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mary Warren stands up...

Looking back at lines 323-344 in Act Two, it appears obvious that Mary's defense of Elizabeth Proctor in court represents a change in the power dynamics among MaryElizabeth, and John Proctor:  

Mary Warren: They had Doctor Griggs examine her, and she’s full to the brim. 
And smokin’ a pipe all these years, and no husband either! But she’s safe, thank 
God, for they’ll not hurt the innocent child, But be that not a marvel? You must 
see it, sir, it’s God’s work we do. So I’ll be gone every day for some time. I’m - 
I am an official of the court, they say, and I - She has been edging toward 

Proctor:  I’ll official you! He strides to the mantel, takes down the whip hanging 

Mary Warren, terrified, but coming erect, striving for her authority:  I’ll not 
stand whipping any more! 

Elizabeth, hurriedly, as Proctor approaches:  Mary, promise now you’ll stay at 
home -

MARY Warren, backing from him, but keeping her erect posture, striving, 
striving for her way:  The Devil’s loose in Salem, Mr. Proctor; we must discover 
where he’s hiding! 

Proctor:  I’ll whip the Devil out of you! With whip raised he reaches out for her, 
and she streaks away and yells. 

Mary Warren, pointing at Elizabeth:  I saved her life today! 

Silence. His whip comes down. 

Elizabeth, softly:  I am accused? 

Mary Warren, quaking:  Somewhat mentioned. But I said 1 never see no sign 
you ever sent your spirit out to hurt no one, and seeing I do live so closely with 
you, they dismissed it. 

Elizabeth:  Who accused me?

Mary Warren:  I am bound by law, I cannot tell it.  To Proctor: I only hope you’ll not be so 
sarcastical no more. Four judges and the King’s deputy sat to dinner with us but an hour ago. I - 
I would have you speak civilly to me, from this out. 

Proctor, in horror, muttering in disgust at her:  Go to bed. 

Mary Warren, with a stamp of her foot:  I’ll not be ordered to bed no more, Mr. Proctor! I am 
eighteen and a woman, how-ever single! 

Proctor:  Do you wish to sit up? Then sit up. 

Mary Warren:  I wish to go to bed! 

Proctor, in anger:  Good night, then!  Mary Warren:  Good night. Dissatisfied, uncertain of herself, she goes out. Wide-eyed, both, Proctor and Elizabeth stand staring.  Elizabeth, quietly:  Oh, the noose, the noose is up!  

  1. How is the situation in the Proctor household a microcosm of the upheaval going on throughout the community?  
  2. Is Proctor correct in his analysis of the situation in lines 880-884 of Act Two?

Proctor:  If she is innocent! Why do you never wonder if Parris be innocent, or Abigail? Is the accuser always holy now? Were they born this morning as clean as God’s fingers? I’ll tell you what’s walking Salem - vengeance is walking Salem. We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law! This warrant’s vengeance! I’ll not give my wife to vengeance!

Figurative Language Act II: Metaphor and Hyperbole

List one example from the play of each type of figurative language:

1. Metaphor
2. Hyperbole


  • Review the definitions of the terms above by clicking on the hyperlinks.
  • Look in the stage directions at the beginning of Act II (listed below) for an example of metaphor.  
  • Look in the dialogue between John and Elizabeth below for an example of hyperbole.

The common room of Proctor’s house, eight days later.
At the right is a door opening on the fields outside. A fireplace is at the left, and behind it a stairway leading upstairs. It is the low, dark, and rather long living room of the time. As the curtain rises, the room is empty. From above, Elizabeth is heard softly singing to the children. Presently the door opens and John Proctor enters, carrying his gun. He glances about the room as he comes toward the fireplace, then halts for an instant as he hears her singing. He continues on to the fireplace, leans the gun against the wall as he swings a pot out of the fire and smells it. Then he lifts out the ladle and tastes. He is not quite pleased. He reaches to a cupboard, takes a pinch of salt, and drops it into the pot. As he is tasting again, her footsteps are heard on the stair. He swings the pot into the fireplace and goes to a basin and washes his hands and face, Elizabeth enters.

Elizabeth: What keeps you so late? It’s almost dark.
Proctor: I were planting far out to the forest edge.
Elizabeth: Oh, you’re done then.
Proctor: Aye, the farm is seeded. The boys asleep?
Elizabeth: They will be soon.
And she goes to the fireplace, proceeds to ladle up stew in a dish.
Proctor: Pray now for a fair summer.
Elizabeth: Aye.
Proctor: Are you well today?
Elizabeth: I am.
She brings the plate to the table, and, indicating the food:. It is a rabbit.
Proctor, going to the table: Oh, is it! In Jonathan’s trap?
Elizabeth: No, she walked into the house this afternoon; I found her sittin’ in the corner like she come to visit.
Proctor: Oh, that’s a good sign walkin’ in.
Elizabeth: Pray God. It hurt my heart to strip her, poor rabbit.
She sits and watches him taste it.
Proctor: It’s well seasoned.
Elizabeth, blushing with pleasure: I took great care. She’s tender?
Proctor: Aye.
He eats. She watches him. 
I think we’ll see green fields soon. It’s warm as blood beneath the clods.
Elizabeth: That’s well.
Proctor eats, then looks up.
Proctor: If the crop is good I’ll buy George Jacob’s heifer. How would that please you?
Elizabeth: Aye, it would.
Proctor, with a grin: I mean to please you, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth - it is hard to say: I know it, John.
He gets up, goes to her, kisses her. She receives it. With a certain disappointment, he returns to the table.
Proctor, as gently as he can: Cider?
Elizabeth, with a sense of reprimanding herself for having forgot: Aye!
She gets up and goes and pours a glass for him. He now arches his back.
Proctor: This farm’s a continent when you go foot by foot droppin’ seeds in it.
Elizabeth, coming with the cider: It must be.
Proctor, drinks a long draught, then, putting the glass down: You ought to bring some flowers in the house.
Elizabeth: Oh! I forgot! I will tomorrow.
Proctor: It’s winter in here yet. On Sunday let you come with me, and we’ll walk the farm together; I never see such a load of flowers on the earth.
With good feeling he goes and looks up at the sky through the open doorway. 
Lilacs have a purple smell. Lilac is the smell of nightfall, I think. Massachusetts is a beauty in the spring!
Elizabeth: Aye, it is.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The end of Act I...

"Abigail rises, staring as though inspired, and cries out. 

Abigail:  I want to open myself! They turn to her, startled. She is enraptured, as though 
in a pearly light. I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for 
the Devil; I saw him; I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. I saw 
Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osborn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop 
with the Devil! 

As she is speaking, Betty is rising from the bed, a fever in her eyes, and picks up the 

Betty, staring too: I saw George Jacobs with the Devil! I saw Goody Howe with the 

Parris: She speaks! He rushes to embrace Betty. She speaks! Hale: Glory to God! It is 
broken, they are free! 

Betty, calling out hysterically and with great relief:  I saw Martha Bellows with the 

Abigail:  I saw Goody Sibber with the Devil! It is rising to o great glee. 

Putnam:  The marshal, I’ll call the marshal! 

Parris is shouting a prayer of thanksgiving. 

Betty:  I saw Alice Barrow with the Devil! 

The curtain begins to fall. 

Hale, as Putnam goes out:  Let the marshal bring irons! 

Abigail:  I saw Goody Hawkins with the Devil! 
Betty:  I saw Goody Bibber with the Devil! 
Abigail:  I saw Goody Booth with the Devil! 

On their ecstatic cries 

  • In light of the events leading up to the climax at the end of Act I, do you think the confessions from Tituba and the girls are believable? Explain why or why not.

Wheels within wheels...

Putnam:  How may we blame ourselves? I am one of nine sons; the Putnam
seed have peopled this province. And yet I have but one child left of eight - and
now she shrivels!

Rebecca:  I cannot fathom that.

Mrs. Putnam, with a growing edge of sarcasm:  But I must! You think it God’s
work you should never lose a child, nor grand-child either, and I bury all but
one? There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires!

Putnam, to Parris:  When Reverend Hale comes, you will proceed to look for
signs of witchcraft here.

What does Mrs. Putnam mean when she says, 

"You think it God's work you should never lose a child, nor grandchild either, and I bury all but one?  There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires!"