30 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2016

      Based on the characters' repeated fear of persecution and rebellion against Puritan society, I predict that the ideas of individual freedom and purity will be explored further in the play.

    2. 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 Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!

      Abigail relies that she can do the same as Tituba and gain blessing through false confession, then use her newfound parity to blame others.

    3. Hale: When the Devil comes to you does he ever come - with another person? She stares up into his face, Perhaps another person in the village? Someone you know.

      Tituba is faced with two choices: be executed for working with the devil, or gain pardon by accusing another. Tituba knows that neither herself nor someone else is the devil's servant, but she is desperate to stay alive.

    4. She comes to me every night to go and drink blood!

      It is unlikely that this is true, but Abigail is seizing upon the opportunity to shift the blame from herself to Tituba.

    5. he 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 into a surrender to a particular church or church-state.

      The creation of an evil "other" was used by the residents of Salem and followers of McCarthy for the purpose of unification, even if this unity was not meant to last.

    6. Ours is a divided empire in which certain ideas and emotions and actions are of God, and their opposites are of Lucifer. It is as impossible for most men to conceive of a morality without sin as of an earth without ““sky.””

      The divide between God and Lucifer, good and evil is reflected in Miller's times through the persecution of Communists. There can be no moderates, only Republicans and Communists.

    7. Proctor: Against you? PuTNAM: Against him and all authority! PRoctoR: Why, then I must find it and join it.

      Proctor openly admits his disdain for Parris and the structure of Salem, making him an easy target for those looking for a scapegoat for the town's problems.

    8. Abby, I never give you hope to wait for me. Abigail, now beginning to anger - she can’’t believe it:

      Proctor is a hypocrite, and Abigail is angered by his contradictory behavior. He denies his advancements on Abigail, yet continues to act inappropriately towards her.

    9. Abigail: Gah! I’’d almost forgot how strong you are, John Proctor! Proctor, looking at Abigail now, the faintest suggestion of a knowing smile on his face: What’’s this mischief here? Abigail, with a nervous laugh:

      Abigail and Proctor are flirting with each other, suggesting an impropietous past through their body language. The Crucible is a play, so Miller can not directly describe their past. He instead uses innuendo and emotion to convey the same message.

    10. hese people had no ritual for the washing away of sins

      As Miller mentioned earlier, the witchhunts evolved as a way for the citizens of Salem to safely confess their guilt.

    11. a fool felt his foolishness instantly

      In a town full of paranoid, insecure individuals, John Proctor's ability to reveal foolishness would surely make him unpopular. Power dynamics in Salem relied on the illusion of knowledge, and Proctor was a danger to this stability.

    12. Abigail: Now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam’’s dead sisters. And that is all. And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you. And you know I can do it; I saw Indians smash my dear parents’’ heads on the pillow next to mine, and I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down! She goes to Betty and roughly sits her up. Now, you - sit up and stop this'

      Abigail's monologue further displays her ruthlessness and position as the group's ringleader. She will do anything to protect herself.

    13. smashes her across the face

      Betty's outburst strikes fear into Abigail, who must protect her reputation at all costs. She strikes out against Betty, and uses violence to forcefully silence her cousin.

    14. Betty: I’’ll fly to Mama. Let me fly! She raises her arms as though to fly, and streaks for the window, gets one leg out.

      Regardless of the presence of witchcraft, Betty is clearly afflicted by something. However, the residents of witchcraft would not have been knowledgeable enough to understand mental illness or other diseases affecting the brain.

    15. Abigail: Oh,-we’’ll be whipped! Mary Warren: I never done none of it, Abby. I only looked! Mercy, moving menacingly toward Mary: Oh, you’’re a great one for lookin’’, aren’’t you, Mary Warren? What a grand peeping courage you have!

      Abigail and Mercy are trying to prevent Mary from confessing by creating a group mentality; they all acted together, and therefore either none or all will suffer the consequences.

    16. a fat, sly, merciless girl of eighteen.

      Miller's parallelism suggests "fat" as a synonym for the latter two adjectives. He is relying on his audience's prejudices to quickly characterize Mercy by requesting an overweight actress.

    17. Abigail, whispering: Not I, sir - Tituba and Ruth. Parris turns now, with new fear,

      Both Abigail and Parris are afraid, but of very different things. Abigail is scared of the potential punishment Parris will unleash upon her, whereas Parris is paranoid of how witchcraft will weaken Salem and his power over it.

    18. Parris turns to Betty, a frantic terror rising in him.

      Throughout his conversation with the Putnams, Parris has shifted from worry over Betty to faltering confidence in his strength, and now to "frantic terror". He is the first of many to be overcome by the fear of witchcraft.

    19. to move toward the abyss

      I am reminded of the infamous Nietzche quote "If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." Miller foreshadows that Parris's and Putnam's attacks on witchcraft ultimately come back to haunt them; none will escape unharmed.

    20. with dwindling conviction now:

      The Putnams are so confident in their conviction that Betty and Ruth are bewitched that they begin to persuade Parris. It is in Parris's best interests to deny any witchcraft in Salem, but he is losing faith in his own denial.

    21. Enter Mrs. Ann Putnam. She is a twisted soul of forty-five, a death-ridden woman, haunted by dreams.

      Miller uses extremely connotative language to introduce Mrs. Putnam, describing her as a disturbed figure likely to produce equally disturbed actions and consequences.

    22. he hates me, uncle, she must, for I would not be her slave. It’’s a bitter woman, a lying, cold, sniveling woman, and I will not work for such a woman!

      Abigail does not reveal the reason behind Goody Proctor's hatred of her, but she makes no attempt to hide her feelings for Proctor's wife. So far Abigail has extensively lied to Parris. so this rare instance of truth suggests the strength of her emotions.

    23. Abigail, innocently: A dress?

      Abigail attempts to hide as much of the truth from Parris as she can in order to avoid further trouble for herself. She values her own safety over Betty's health and the expectation of obedience to Parris.

    24. endless capacity for dissembling. Now she is all worry and appre-hension and propriety.

      Again, Miller takes no time before defining his characters. Abigail is a troublemaker, but she is smart enough to hide her mischief and act obedient to Parris.

    25. Parris, scrambling to his feet in a fury: Out of my sight! She is gone. Out of my - He is overcome with sobs. He clamps his teeth against them and closes the door and leans against it, ex-hausted. Oh, my God! God help me! Quaking with fear, mum-bling to himself through his sobs, he goes to the bed and gently takes Betty’’s hand. Betty. Child. Dear child, Will you wake, will you open up your eyes! Betty, little one..

      Despite Parris's terrifying, hardened exterior and dislike for children, he is truly distraught at his daughter's unexplained sickness.

    26. trouble in this house eventually lands on her back

      Tituba's fear implies Parris's cruelty and harshness towards her and others. Trouble literally "lands on her back" as she is likely whipped for her apparent transgressions.

    27. For these reasons, among others, they carried about an air of innate resistance, even of persecution. Their fathers had, of course, been persecuted in England. So now they and their church found it necessary to deny any other sect its freedom; lest their New Jerusalem be defiled and corrupted by wrong ways and deceitful ideas.

      Parris's fear of persecution is shared by the town as a whole. Each member of Salem is so afraid of being targeted themselves that they attack others in an act of precautionary self-defense. Miller once again establishes the characters' motivations and foreshadows the upcoming trials.

    28. He believed he was being persecuted wherever he went, despite his best efforts to win people and God to his side.

      Miller immediately characterizes Parris as a paranoid man, foreshadowing that his future persecutory actions will be inspired by this fear.

    29. Hathorne

      Judge Hathorne is the ancestor of Nathaniel Hawthorne, famous author of The Scarlet Letter. Shame over his relative's actions partially motivated Hawthorne to write the novel, which is not a purpose I have encountered often in my prior studies of literature.

    30. very pleased with it

      Putnam has no evidence for her claim that Betty is a witch, but she is satisfied with her already-drawn conclusions and therefore unlikely to change her mind.