The CrucibleBy Arthur MillerACT I: Scene 1SETTING: A bedroom in Reverend Samuel Parris‘ house, Salem, Massachusetts, in theSpring of the year, 1692. As the curtain rises we see Parris on his knees, beside a bed.His daughter Betty, aged 10, is asleep in it. Abigail Williams, 17, ENTERS.ABIGAIL: Uncle? Susanna Wallcott‘s here from Dr. Griggs.PARRIS: Oh? The Doctor. (Rising.) Let her come, let her come.ABIGAIL: Come in Susanna.(Susanna Walcott, a little younger than Abigail, enters.)PARRIS: What does the doctor say, child?SUSANNA: Dr. Griggs he bid me come and tell you, Reverend sir, that he cannotdiscover no medicine for it in his books.PARRIS: Then he must search on.SUSANNA: Aye, sir, he have been searchin‘ his books since he left you, sir, but he bidme tell you, that you might look to unnatural things for the cause of it.PARRIS: No-no. There be no unnatural causes here. Tell him I have sent for ReverendHale of Beverly, and Mister Hale will surely confirm that. Let him look to medicine, andput out all thought of unnatural causes here. There be none.SUSANNA: Aye, sir. He bid me tell you.PARRIS: Go directly home and speak nothin‘ of unnatural causes.SUSANNA: Aye, sir, I pray for her. (Goes out.)ABIGAIL: Uncle, the rumor of witchcraft is all about; I think you‘d best go down anddeny it yourself. The parlor‘s packed with people, sir.--I‘ll sit with her.PARRIS: And what shall I say to them? That my daughter and my niece I discovereddancing like heathen in the forest?!ABIGAIL: Uncle, we did dance; let you tell them I confessed it. But they‘re speakin‘ ofwitchcraft; Betty‘s not witched.
PARRIS: Abigail, I cannot go before the congregation when I know you have not beenopen with me. What did you do with her in the forest?ABIGAIL: We did dance, Uncle, and when you leaped out of the bush so suddenly,Betty was frightened and then she fainted. And there‘s the whole of it.PARRIS: Child. Sit you down. Now look you, child-if you trafficked with spirits in theforest, I must know it, for surely my enemies will, and they‘ll ruin me with it Abigail, do you understand that I have many enemies?ABIGAIL: I know it, Uncle.PARRIS: There is a faction that is sworn to drive me from my pulpit. Do you understandthat?ABIGAIL: I think so, sir.PARRIS: Now then-in the midst of such disruption, my own household is discovered tobe the very center of some obscene practice. Abominations are done in the forest ABIGAIL: It were only sport, Uncle!PARRIS: I saw Tituba waving her arms over the fire when I came on you; why were shedoing that? And I heard a screeching and gibberish comin‘ from her mouth ABIGAIL: She always sings her Barbados songs and we dance.PARRIS: I cannot blink what I saw, Abigail-for my enemies will not blink it. And I thoughtI saw a .someone naked running through the trees!ABIGAIL: No one was naked! You mistake yourself, Uncle!PARRIS: I saw it! Now tell me true, Abigail. Now my ministry‘s at stake; my ministry andperhaps your cousin‘s life .whatever abomination you have done, give me all of itnow, for I dare not be taken unaware when I go before them down there.ABIGAIL: There is nothin‘ more. I swear it, Uncle.PARRIS: Abigail, is there any other cause than you have told me, for Goody Proctordischargin‘ you? It has troubled me that you are now seven months out of their house,and in all this time no other family has called for your service.ABIGAIL: They want slaves, not such as I. Let them send to Barbados for that, I will notblack my face for any of them!(Enter Mrs. Ann Puttnam. She is a twisted soul of forty-five, a death-ridden woman,haunted by dreams.)PARRIS: Why, Goody Putnam, come in.ANN: It is a marvel. It is surely a stroke of hell upon you
PARRIS: No, Goody Putnam, it is ANN: How high did she fly, how high?PARRIS: No—no, she never flew ANN: Why, it‘s sure she did; Mister Collins saw her goin‘ over Ingersoll‘s barn, andcome down light as bird, he says!PARRIS: Now, look you, Goody Putnam; she never (Enter Thomas Putnam, a well-todo, hard-handed landowner near fifty.) Oh, good morning, Mister Putnam PUTNAM: It is a providence the thing is out now! It is a providence.PARRIS: What‘s out, sir, what‘s ?PUTNAM: (Looking down at Betty.) Why, her eyes is closed! Look you, Ann.ANN: Why, that‘s strange. Ours is open.PARRIS: Your little Ruth is sick?ANN: I‘d not call it sick, the Devil‘s touch is heavier than sick, it‘s death, y‘know, it‘sdeath drivin‘ into them forked and hoofed.PARRIS: Oh, pray not! Why, how does your child ail?ANN: She ails as she must—she never waked this morning but her eyes open and shewalks, and hears naught, sees naught, and cannot eat. Her soul is taken, surely.PUTNAM: They say you‘ve sent for Reverend Hale of Beverly?PARRIS: A precaution only. He has much experience in all demonic arts, and I ANN: He has indeed, and found by a witch in Beverly last year, and let you rememberthat.PARRIS: I pray you, leap not to witchcraft. I know that you, you least of all, Thomas,would ever wish so disastrous a charge laid upon me. We cannot leap to witchcraft.They will howl me out of Salem for such a corruption in my house.PUTNAM: Now, look you, Mr. Parris; I have taken your part in all contention here, and Iwould continue; but cannot if you hold back in this. There are hurtful, vengeful spiritslayin‘ hands on these children.PARRIS: But, Thomas, you cannot PUTNAM: Ann! Tell Mister Parris what you have done.ANN: Reverend Parris, I have laid seven babies unbaptized in the earth. Believe me,Sir, you never saw more hearty babies born. And yet, each would wither in my arms thevery night of their birth. And now, this year, my Ruth, my only-I see her turning strange.
A secret child she has become this year, and shrivels like a sucking mouth were pullin‘on her life, too. And so I thought to send her to your TitubaPARRIS: To Tituba! What may Tituba .?ANN: Tituba knows how to speak to the dead, Mister Parris.PARRIS: Goody Ann, it is a formidable sin to conjure up the dead!ANN: I take it on my soul, but who else may surely tell us who murdered my babies.PARRIS: Woman!ANN: They were murdered, Mister Parris! And mark this proof! –mark it! Last night myRuth were ever so close to their little spirits, I know it, sir. For how else is she stuckdumb now except some power of darkness would stop her mouth! It is a marveloussign, Mister Parris!PUTNAM: Don‘t you understand it, sir? There is a murdering witch among us bound tokeep herself in the dark. Let your enemies make of it what they will, you cannot blink itmore.PARRIS: Then you were conjuring spirits last night.ABIGAIL: Not I, sir, not I.-Tituba and Ruth.PARRIS: Now I am undone.PUTNAM: You are not undone. Let you take hold here. Wait for no one to charge youdeclare it yourself. You have discovered witchcraft .PARRIS: In my house!? In my house, Thomas?-they will topple me with this! They willmake of it a MERCY: Your pardons I only thought to see how Betty is.PUTNAM: Why aren‘t you home? Who‘s with Ruth?MERCY: Her grandma come. She‘s improved a little, I think-she give a powerful sneezebefore.ANN: Ah, there‘s a sign of life!PARRIS: Will you leave me now Thomas, I would pray a while alone ABIGAIL: Uncle, you‘ve prayed since midnight. Why do you not go down and .?PARRIS: No-no. I‘ll wait till Mister Hale arrives.PUTNAM: Now look you, sir-let you strike out against the Devil and the village will blessyou for it! Come down, speak to them-pray with them-they‘re thirsting for your word,Mister! Surely you‘ll pray with them.
PARRIS: I have no stomach for disputation this morning. I will lead them in a psalm. Ihave had enough contention since I came, I want no more. (Putnam crosses L. to abovetable, gets hat, crosses and exits.)ANN: Mercy, you go home to Ruth, d‘ye hear?MERCY: Aye, Mum. (Ann goes out.)PARRIS: If she starts for the window, cry for me at once. (Crossing to door.)ABIGAIL: Yes, Uncle. (He goes out with Putnam.) How is Ruth sick?MERCY: It‘s weirdish, I know not—she seems to walk like a dead one since last night.ABIGAIL: Now look you, if they be questioning us tell them we danced—I told him asmuch already.MERCY: And what more?ABIGAIL: He saw you naked.MERCY: Oh, Jesus! (Falls back on bed. Enter Mary Warren, breathless. She isseventeen, a subservient, naïve girl.)MARY: I just come from the farm, the whole country‘s talking witchcraft! They‘ll be callin‘us witches, Abby! Abby, we‘ve got to tell. Witchery‘s a hangin‘ error, a hangin‘ like theydone in Boston two years ago! We must tell the truth, Abby!—you‘ll only be whipped fordancin‘, and the other things!ABIGAIL: (Betty whimpers.) Betty? Now, Betty, dear, wake up now. It‘s Abigail. (She sitsBetty up, furiously shakes her.) I‘ll beat you, Betty! (Betty whimpers.) My, you seemimproving. I talked to your papa and I told him everything. So there‘s nothing to BETTY: (Betty suddenly springs off bed, rushes across room to window where Abigailcatches her.) You drank blood, Abby, you drank blood!ABIGAIL: (Dragging Betty back to bed and forcing her into it.) Betty, you never say thatagain! You will never BETTY: You did, you did! You drank a charm to kill John Proctor‘s wife! You drank acharm to kill Goody Proctor!ABIGAIL: (Slaps her face.) Shut it! Now shut it! (Betty dissolves into sobs.) Now lookyou. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam‘s dead sisters. And thatis all. And mark this—let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word about theother things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring apointy reckoning that will shudder you. And you know I can do it. I can make you wishyou had never seen the sun go down! (Betty cries louder. She goes to Betty, sits L. sideof bed D.S. of Mercy, and roughly sits her up.) Now you sit up and stop this! (Bettycollapses in her hands.) (Enter John Proctor.)
PROCTOR: Be you foolish, Mary Warren? Be you deaf? I forbid you leave the house,did I not? Now get you home; (Mary crosses up and out.) my wife is waitin‘ with yourwork!MERCY: (Rising, crossing to entrance. Titillated. Being aware of their relationship.) I‘dbest be off. I have my Ruth to watch Good morning, Mister Proctor. (Mercy sidles out.Since Proctor‘s entrance, Abigail has stood absorbing his presence, wide-eyed.)ABIGAIL: She‘s only gone silly, somehow. She‘ll come out of it.PROCTOR: So she flies, eh? Where are her wings?ABIGIAL: (With a nervous laugh.) Oh, John, sure you‘re not believin‘ she flies!PROCTOR: The road past my house is a pilgrimage to Salem all morning. The town‘smumbling witchcraft.ABIGAIL: Oh, posh!—We were dancin‘ in the woods last night, and my uncle leaped inon us. She took fright, is all.PROCTOR: (His smile widens. Crossing to door.) Dancin‘ by moonlight! (Abigail springsinto his path.) You‘ll be clapped in the stocks before you‘re twenty.ABIGAIL: (Barring his way at door.) Give me a word, John. A soft word.PROCTOR: I come to see what mischief your uncle‘s brewin‘ now. Put it out of mind,Abby.ABIGAIL: John—I am waitin‘ for you every night.PROCTOR: Abby, you‘ll put it out of mind. I‘ll not be comin‘ for you more. You know mebetter.ABIGAIL: I know how you clutched my back behind your house and sweated like astallion whenever I come near! I saw your face when she put me out and you loved methen and you do now!PROCTOR: (Taking her hands.) Child ABIGAIL: (With a flash of anger. Throwing his hands off.) How do you call me child!PROCTOR: (As 3 or 4 persons off-stage begin a quiet chant—a psalm or hymn.) Abby,I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I‘ll ever reachfor you again. Wipe it out of mind—(Takes her arms.) we never touched, Abby.ABIGAIL: (With a bitter anger.) Oh, I marvel how such a (Beating her fists against hischest.) strong man may let such a sickly wife be PROCTOR: (Coldly. Grabbing her wrists.) You‘ll speak nothin‘ of Elizabeth!
ABIGAIL: She is blackening my name in the village! She is telling lies about me! She isa cold sniveling woman and you bend to her! Let her turn you like a ?PROCTOR: (Shakes her.) Do you look for whippin‘!ABIGAIL: (Shakes free.) You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is you love meyet! (He turns abruptly to go out. She rushes to door, blocks it.) John, pity me, pity me!(The words ―Jehovah‖ are heard in the psalm—the song outside—Betty claps her earsuddenly, and whines loudly Parris ENTERS.) Betty?PARRIS: What Happened? What are you doing to her! Betty! (Rushes to bed, crying―Betty Betty!‖)ABIGAIL: She heard you singin‘ and suddenly she‘s up to screamin‘ ANN: (Entering) The psalm! The psalm! – she cannot hear the Lord‘s name!PARRIS: No, God forbid ANN: Mark it for a sign, mark it ! (Rebecca Nurse enters.)PUTNAM: That is a notorious sign of witchcraft afoot, a prodigious sign.ANN: My mother told me that! That they cannot bear to hear the name of PARRIS: Rebecca, Rebecca, come to her.we‘re lost, she suddenly cannot bear to hearthe Lord‘s name.ANN: What have you done?REBECCA: Pray, calm yourselves. I have eleven children and I am twenty-six times agrandma, and I have seen them all through their silly seasons, and when it come onthem they will run the Devil bowlegged keeping up with their mischief. I think she‘ll wakewhen she tires of it.ANN: This is no silly season, Rebecca. My Ruth is bewildered, Rebecca, she cannoteat.REBECCA: Perhaps she is not hungered yet. Mr. Paris, I hope you are not decided togo in search of loose sprits. I‘ve heard the promise of that outside PARRIS: A wide opinion‘s running in the parish that the Devil may be among us, and Iwould satisfy them that they are wrong.PROCTOR: Then let you come out and call them wrong. Are you our minister or MisterHale? Did you consult the wardens of the church before you called the minister to lookfor devils?PARRIS: He is not coming to look for devils!PROCTER: Then what is he coming to look for?
PUTNAM: There will be children dyin‘ in the village, Mister !PROCTER: I see nothing dyin‘REBECCA: Pray, John be calm. Mister Parris, I thi
And mark this proof! –mark it! Last night my Ruth were ever so close to their little spirits, I know it, sir. For how else is she stuck dumb now except some power of