‘The Crucible’ is a exhilarating play, which is based on the true events that happened in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 when a group of teenage girls started to mess with witchcraft and faked being caught by the ‘devil’; the girls created a horrific witch hysteria. It shows how the courts where run unfairly in the 17th centaury, and it shows how the court has such a big affect on the village’s society. Arthur Miller has written the play in an effectual way and uses factual events to show the audience what really happened and how Salem and McCarthyism are parallel.
Act 3 pages 86-96 is set in the courtroom, where the characters, Mary Warren, Parris, John Proctor, Danforth, Abigail, Mercy, Hathorne, Suzanna, Herrick, Cheever, and Hale are present. These characters are all present in the courtroom because they are all part of the village society affected by the lies caused by Abigail and her followers. The page starts with Danforth asking Mary to faint to prove that she can faint whenever she wants, to prove that Abigail and her followers can also pretend to see spirits.
Mary is torn whether to tell the truth about Abigail lying about seeing the spirits, with this she may be facing a death sentence and she would go through the torment of Abigail getting revenge on her, or to go along with Abigail and not face a death sentence and be free from torment from Abigail. On Page 86 when Mary says:’Faint? ‘ I would direct Mary to say this in a very breathless timid voice, this is because Mary is afraid to say anything to the judge and is scared of Abigail, who is near her, this will make her feel uneasy, if she says it in a timid breathless voice it shows how Mary is feeling and shows her situation very clearly.
On the line ‘Aye, faint. Prove to us how you pretended in the court so many times’ I would direct Parris to do a little smirk when he says ‘aye’ and to walk over to Mary when he says from ‘prove’ and when he says ‘pretended’ he should say it in a lower tone and raise his eyebrow. This conveys to the audience that he wants Mary to show that she was lying, knowing that she cannot, he wants this because he wants to prove a point to the judge that Proctor is no good and that Mary is lying. Once Parris has said his line, I would direct Mary to look sheepishly at Proctor and say the line stutteringly ‘I – cannot faint now, sir. At this point I would direct Mary’s eyes to start to water softly while looking at Proctor.
Then I would direct Proctor to look at Mary’s eyes and look like he feels guilty for what he I forcing her to do for a few seconds and then he should straighten his back and say: ‘can you not pretend it? ‘ I would direct him to say this in a subtle way so the other characters don’t hear it and the other characters on stage should act like they haven’t heard what Proctor and Mary are talking about; this conveys to the audience that Proctor and Mary are being secretive and will do anything to get justice for the people that have been accused.
When Proctor says the word ‘pretend’ to Mary, I would direct Proctor to say that in a pretentious way, this conveys to the audience that he desperately wants Mary to faint. After Mary has told the court about why she cannot faint, Danforth then questions her about it by saying: ‘Why, what is it lacking now? ‘ Before he says this he should lean over his desk intrigued by what Mary has just told him. This shows to the audience that he is intrigued by what Mary has just said. On the line ‘Your Excellency, this is a trick to blind the court!
I would direct Parris to say this walking towards Danforth and pointing his finger at Mary and should say this in an aggressive but desperate tone. This conveys to the audience that Parris is trying to show to the court that he is right and that Mary is lying. On the line when Abigail says :’Why, this- this is a base question, sir’ I would direct Abigail to act innocently for the start of the sentence and should stutter during the sentence; but should really emphasis the word ‘base’ because she is trying to act innocent but her dark side shows while saying this.
On the line: ‘I have been hurt, Mr Danforth; I have seen my blood runnin’ out! I have been near to murdered every day because I have done my duty pointing out the devils people’ I would direct Abigail to look innocent and clutch her stomach where her wounds would have been and tilt her head down slightly, and then she shall say the end of the passage: “and this is my reward!
To be mistrusted, denied, questioned like a-” When Abigail says this she should look up and look Danforth directly in the eye and walk over to him and place her hands on his desk firmly, this conveys to the audience that Abigail is trying to act innocent but can’t hold back her true evilness. When Abigail says: ‘let you beware, Mr Danforth. Think you be so mighty that the power of Hell may not turn your wits? Beware of it! There is -‘ I would direct her to say this in an accusatory attitude, and say the words in italic with a deeper tone directly aimed at Danforth.
Once she has said this I would direct her to have a frightened look on her face and for her to look up into the air, with her hands starting to shake. This conveys to the audience that Abigail is manipulating Danforth and is truly frightened by something; she is doing this to stop Danforth accusing her of lying. When Mary says: ‘Abby! ‘, I would direct Mary to say this in a pleading and terrified force, and I would direct her to lean forward and back a little once saying it, so it looks like she wants to reach out and grab Abigail.
This conveys to the audience that Mary is petrified of Abigail and she knows what Abigail is doing. After this, Mercy steps forward out of the crowd of girls on stage and starts chattering her teeth and puts her arms out to show her shaking hands and looks at Danforth and Yells : ‘Your Honour, I freeze! ‘ in a distinctive shivering voice. This conveys to the audience that Mercy wants the judges to believe Abigail, and shows that Mercy has understood Abigail’s hint to start seeing ‘the devil’.
When Mary says her next line, I would direct Mary to do the line: ‘Lord, save me! ‘ in a crying out loud motion, and I would direct her to fall to the floor by her knees starting to bend, and I would direct proctor to grab her underarms and lift her back up. This conveys to the audience that Mary doesn’t have anything to do with what Abigail is doing, and she feels like she has no hope left in her, and that only the lord can save her. Danforth then looks directly at Mary and says: ‘Mary Warren, do you with her? I say to you, do you send your spirit out? I would direct Danforth to look at Abigail before he says the line and then to look directly at Mary, this shows to the audience that he had noticed what is going on and is being biased about what he is saying. When Danforth is saying his lines I would direct him to say ‘Mary Warren’ in a gruff tone, and once he has said her name he looks back at Abigail and then sharply turns his head back to Mary and gives pointy eyes (commonly known as evils) to Mary. The he also says the line in a direct accusation tone. This shows the audience that Danforth believes Mary and he is frightening her.
Once Abigail has said her line : ‘oh, heavenly father, take away this shadow’ I would direct Proctor to leap forward, letting go of Mary, and grabs Abigail by the hair, and falls upon Danforths desk and then pulls himself up, still gripping her hair, and pulls her to her feet viciously, while Abigail screams in pain, and turns Abigail to face him (all of this would be a side view of the two inn front of the audience, so the audience can see what proctor is doing to Abigail) and he lets go of her hair, but with one hand still holding it tightly, and the other hand grabbing the bottom of her chin and he lifts her chin up and yells : ‘How do you call heaven, Whore! Whore! ‘ This expresses to the audience that Proctor has lost his temper with Abigail, and is taking out his aggression on what she has done on her and is willing to lose his good mans reputation for it, to prove to the court that Abigail is capable of anything. Once Proctor and Abigail have been separated, Proctor should say his next line: ‘It is a whore’ in a breathless and agonising way, and he should bend down and place his hands on his knees. This shows that he put all his effort into attacking Abigail and is now tired out.
On the line: ‘John, you cannot say such a -‘ I would direct Francis to look horrified about what Proctor has just said about Abigail, and makes big hand gestures while saying it to show his emotion in what he is saying. This suggests to the audience that he doesn’t want Proctor to say that Abigail is a whore, and it shows that he doesn’t believe what Proctor has just said and that he doesn’t believe that a child could be capable of it. I would direct proctor to look up, with his head held high, gripping his fists and trying to keep back the tears and says : ‘in the proper place, where my beasts are bedded. On the last night of my joy, some eight months past.
She used to serve me in my house, sir. (He has to clamp his jaw to stop him from weeping) A man may think that God sleeps, but God see’s everything, I know it now, I beg you, sir, I beg you – see her what she is. My wife, my dear good wife, took this girl soon after, sir, and put her put on the highroad. And being what she is, a lump of vanity, sir – (he is being overcome. ) Excellency, forgive me. (Angrily against himself, he turns away from the Governor for a moment. Then as though to cry is his only means of speech left) she thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat.
But it is a whore’s vengeance, and you must see it; I set myself entirely in your hands. I know you must see it now. ‘ Where the words are in italic’s, this is when I would direct proctor to nearly break down in tears, and show his true emotion; and the words that are in bold I would direct him to say these words distinctively. This communicates with the audience that Proctor is deeply ashamed of himself and is desperately trying to get through to the judge about what Abigail is like.
After Proctor’s heart wrenching speech, I would direct Danforth to look at Abigail disappointingly, and then Abigail would say her line turning back to Danforth and stepping towards him saying in a sharp tone : ‘ what look do you give me? I would direct Danforth to look stunned at this point) I’ll not have such looks. (she turns for the door)’ By Abigail saying this in a sharp tone, and Danforth being stunned, it conveys to the audience that Abigail is still manipulating Danforth and that Danforth is now starting to believe Proctor. Once Elizabeth has entered on page 90, I would direct Elizabeth to say her first line: ‘Good, sir’ very faintly. This conveys to the audience that Elizabeth has been treated badly in the prison and has poor health. I would then direct Elizabeth to try to get proctors attention while saying: ‘she were -‘ I would direct her to glance in proctor’s direction, with a tear in her eye, and she would say the line very timidly.
This conveys to the audience that Elizabeth doesn’t know how to answer the question as she does not know if her husband wants her to tell them or not. When Elizabeth says the line ‘Oh God! ‘ I would direct her to attempt to look back at proctor and for her to break down in tears. This conveys to the audience that she lied for Proctor not realising that he didn’t want her to lie for him. After all this drama on stage, I would direct Hale to say his line a very demanding way. When he says the line: ‘I believe him! (Pointing to Abigail. ) This girl has always struck me false! She has -‘ I would direct him to quickly point at Abigail, using his whole arm and will walk to towards her before he finishes the sentence.
This shows the audience that Hale believes Proctor and is trying to show the court what is really happening and that he is trying to convince the court to believe Proctor. When Abigail screams and says the line: ‘You will not! Begone! Begone I say! ‘ In a very scared manner; I would direct Abigail to thrust her arms back and to look up at the ceiling while saying the line, but just before she says the line I would direct her to make a weird, wild and chilling cry. When Danforth asks Abigail what is the matter, I would direct Abigail to point at the ceiling with fear, and moves her head to face Danforth, and her eyes look frightened, with her face terribly awed, and then she looks at the girls, and they all do the same as what she was doing previously, and then Abigail looks up at the ceiling again.
This conveys to the audience that Abigail is telling the girls to look up at the ceiling as something is there. When Proctor says the line : ‘Do you see a bird’ I would direct him to say this in a confused way, to show that he’s not sure if a real small bird is there or not. This conveys to the audience that only the girls can see the bird. On the line: ‘Abby, I’m here! ‘ I would direct Mary to be yelling this at Abigail while leaning forward a little, as if to go near her, whilst with both hands clenched on her heart. This conveys to the audience that Mary is desperate for Abby to stop it and that Mary isn’t doing anything wrong. When all the girls say: “Abby you mustn’t” I would direct all their eyes to fixed wide open.
This creates a dramatic effect on stage and conveys to the audience that their actions have something to do with their plan with the ‘devil’. Mary then yells: ‘Abby’ and I would direct her to have tears rolling down her cheeks, but not hysterically, and for her to stamp her feet like a little child desperate to get what she wants. This conveys to the audience again that Mary is desperate for Abigail to stop otherwise if the judges believe Abigail and the girls; Mary could face a death sentence for it. On the line: ‘Look out! She’s coming down! ‘ I would direct all the girls to look up before that line and once the line is said, all the girls should shriek and run to wall on stage where the judges are not positioned.
I would also direct the cover the eyes using a cross shape with their hand, with the palms facing outwards, like a shield before their eyes. The girls all scream, and then I would direct Mary to look around the courtroom, to look frightened, and close her eyes with her fists clenched, and for her to let out the loudest scream she possibly can, and as soon as this happens I would direct the girls screams to slowly fade and for them to un-shield their eyes, so everyone in the courtroom is watching Mary screaming. Then I would direct proctor to run towards her and to grab her by the shoulders. This suggests to the audience that Mary got to scared and joined Abigail’s side, and that Proctor is astonished by what Mary has just done.
After that, I would direct that Mary pulls away from proctor and stops screaming, but turns to face him and slowly backs away shrieking: ‘My name, he want my name (I would direct Mary to look at Danforth sympathetically and then turn back round) ‘I’ll murder you’ he say, ‘if my wife hangs! ‘ we must go and overthrow the court he says! ‘ Then I would direct Danforth’s head to jerk towards proctor, with the most shock and horror on his face. This conveys to the audience that the girls are definitely lying because the audience knows that Proctor never said any of the things that Mary has accused him of. When Danforth says to Proctor: ‘What are you? (Proctor is beyond speech to his anger. You are combined with anti- Christ, are you not? I have seen your power, you will not deny it!
What say you, Mister? I would direct Danforth to say the first part of the passage in a disappointed way, as if to show that he is disgusted by what Proctor has become; I would then direct him to say the second bit of the passage in a disgraced and angry way. This conveys to the audience that Danforth believes the girls over what Proctor and Hales say. Hale goes extra mad at this and yells extremely loudly so all the members of the court turn to look at him: ‘I denounce these proceedings! ‘ this conveys to the audience that Hale believes Proctor and wants to stop what the court is doing.