2 Act III Questions # 1 - 4As the act opens, who is being interrogated, and on what charge? Martha Corey is being interrogated and is accused of reading fortunes. What is Mary Warren now prepared to tell the court? Mary is prepared to tell the court that the girls’ accusations are fake (“pretense”). What compromise, or deal, does Danforth offer to Proctor? What is Proctor's response? Elizabeth told the court that she is pregnant. Danforth is willing to spare Elizabeth for a year for her pregnancy which should satisfy John if his purpose is to save Elizabeth. However, John is unwilling to accept the deal because he does not want to abandon his friends. He wants to help everyone, not just himself. What does Giles Corey allege in his deposition about Thomas Putnam’s motives? Giles claims that Thomas Putnam is accusing people so that he can buy their land once they are executed.
3 Questions #5 - 8At what point does John Hale begin to show that he is less than satisfied with the court's procedures? After signing seventy-two death warrants, especially Rebecca Nurse’s, Hale has started to question what is going on in Salem. He recognizes that the people are fearing the court more than they fear God. How does Abigail threaten Danforth? She reminds Danforth that he is not excluded from the Devil’s company and that he could be accused too. What confession does Proctor make in open court? How does Danforth test the truth of this confession? John confesses to his affair with Abigail. Danforth questions Elizabeth in court about John’s indiscretions while John and Abigail have their backs turned. What happens to John Proctor at the end of the act? Mary Warren accuses John Proctor of witchcraft and corrupting her. He is arrested.
4 Questions #9 - 10 How does John Hale show his disapproval? Hale denounces the proceedings and quits the court.This act contains much irony. Explain how the following are ironic:John Proctor's confession – Proctor’s confession should have been the thing that saved Elizabeth but instead she lies to protect her husband which in turn condemns him.Proctor's passionate outburst at the end of the act with the court's interpretation of his remarks – Proctor means that God has left Salem; evil has overtaken the town. However, the court interprets his comments as blasphemy and evidence that he is compacting with the Devil.Miller's comment in the stage directions that Abigail, "out of her infinite charity, reaches out and draws the sobbing Mary to her…" – Abigail created hysteria in the courtroom to distract from Mary Warren’s and John’s claims about her reputation, but makes herself look like a good person who comforts Mary even though she is evil.
5 Act IV Questions # 1 - 4What is the setting of this act? How much time has elapsed since the end of ActThree? The act is set in the Salem jail in the Fall. Months have passed since the end of Act III. The play began in the Spring of Immediately after his entrance Governor Danforth remarks on a "prodigious stench." What is the cause of the odor? Danforth believes he smells liquor on Herrick’s breath but the stench is caused by the number of people packed in the jail. What does Samuel Parris report about Abigail Williams and Mercy Lewis and why is he afraid for his safety? What is Danforth's reaction? Abigail and Mercy Lewis have run away after robbing Parris. Parris is afraid that he will be a target if the citizens of Salem rebel. Danforth calls Parris “brainless.” Why is Danforth especially nervous about rumors concerning events in Andover? What are his reasons for receiving no pleas for pardon or for postponement of the executions? The people of Andover overthrew the court during their witchcraft trials. Danforth will not pardon or postpone because if she starts now it will look like what the court has done up until this point is questionable or even wrong. He does not want the people to doubt the actions of the court or the law.
6 Act IV Questions # 5 - 7According to John Hale, what is the present condition of the countryside? Hale has seen orphan children wandering from house to house, abandoned cattle on the roads, rotting crops and fear in the few adults left in Salem. According to Elizabeth, how did Giles Corey die? Giles Corey refused to plead in court, so he was pressed to death with stones. For what does Elizabeth ask John to forgive her? Elizabeth asks John to forgive her for not showing him love and affection when he needed it. She takes some responsibility for John’s affair with Abigail. Why does Proctor refuse to sign his confession? John wants to preserve his name and his legacy: “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life!...I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”
7 Act IV Questions # Why do you think Danforth is said to be alarmed at the news that Abigail and Mercy Lewis have fled? What inner conflict may this news rouse in him? How does this conflict affect the course of his decisions in this act? Danforth is shocked that the girls have run away because he realizes that it looks like they don’t believe in or stand by what they started in Salem. Throughout the course of the act, he is even more stubborn and insistent on carrying out the executions because he believes that someone has to stand up for what is going on in Salem and see it through. What structural parallel in Act Two is recalled by John's tearing up of his confession near the end of this act? How does this parallel relate to a theme of the play? In Act II, John Proctor ripped Elizabeth’s arrest warrant, much like how he ripped up his confession at the end of Act IV. This relates to the theme of standing up for what you believe in and rebelling against authority.