“Long-held hatreds of neighbors could now be openly expressed, and vengeance taken, despite the Bible’s charitable injunctions.”
Act 1, page 7
Context- This quote is associated with Abigail William’s dislike for Elizabeth Proctor. Abigail worked for the Proctors and had an affair with Elizabeth’s husband, John Proctor. This affair didn’t last long once Elizabeth found out. In fact, she fired Abigail thinking that this would take her out of the picture. However, Abigail was in love with John and would do anything to get Elizabeth out of the way so she could marry John and finally have him to herself. In order to do so, Abigail accused Elizabeth of witchcraft to have her executed.
Response- This quote at the beginning of the play foreshadows the hatred between Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Proctor. Once Abigail saw the opportunity to defeat Elizabeth, she took it. Abigail would stop at nothing to have John all to herself and to get back at her rival, Elizabeth.
“I want to open myself! . . . 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!”
Act 1, page 45
Context- This quote portrays Abigail’s confession to witchcraft. Abigail confessed because she realized that Tituba wasn’t punished when she confessed to witchcraft. She also realized that by confessing to witchcraft she could blame others as well.
Response- This quote was the start of the accusations that caused the Salem Witch Trials. Abigail confessed to witchcraft only to manipulate the townspeople and to throw those who were innocent under the bus.
“This is a strange time, Mister. No man may longer doubt the powers of the dark are gathered in monstrous attack upon this village. There is too much evidence now to deny it. You will agree, sir?”
Act 2, page 61
Context- This quote is said by Hale. He believes that the Devil is alive in Salem. However, the only thing alive in Salem is vengeance and fear.
Response- Hale wasn’t the only one who believed that the Devil was alive in Salem, many townspeople believed it as well. However, many also believed that the accusations of witchcraft were made up. The villagers were turning on each other, so no one felt safe.
“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!”
Act 2, page 73
Context- This quote portrays Proctor pointing out the main issue of the Salem witch trials. The main issue is that those who are accusing people of witchcraft are seen as innocent. He also points out that that those who are accusing people of witchcraft are out for vengeance. The accusations were based on personal feuds instead of actual evidence of witchcraft.
Response- This quote shows that Salem is driven by vengeance. The court continues to believe false accusations without any evidence to back it up. By doing so, the accusers are getting what they want.
“A man may think God sleeps, but God sees 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 out on the highroad. And being what she is, a lump of vanity, sir… 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.”
Act 3, page 102
Context- This quote portrays Proctor’s confession so adultery. He tries to expose Abigail for who she truly is. He does this to try and save his wife from being accused of witchcraft. He thinks that if he exposes Abigail then the court will realize that she was out for vengeance this whole time.
Response- This quote shows that Proctor was willing to do anything to save his wife from being executed. Even if that meant that he had to expose the truth. By admitting his affair with Abigail, he could show the court that she is not to be trusted.
“A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer; I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be fraud—God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!”
Act 3, page 111
Context- This quote was said by Proctor. The line “I hear the boot of Lucifer; I see his filthy face! And it is my face” shows how Proctor feels guilty for his actions. Also, after that line Proctor says “and yours, Danforth!”, which shows that Proctor is trying to say that the Devil lives within Danforth as well. The line “God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!” means that both himself and Danforth will be punished for their mistakes.
Response- This quote shows how angry Proctor feels at Danforth for not believing that the girls were frauds and for sending innocent people to be executed. However, the quote also shows how guilty he feels for committing adultery. He claims that both Danforth and himself will be punished by God for their actions.
“Now here me, and beguile yourselves no more. I will not receive a single plea for pardon or postponement. Them that will not confess will hang. Twelve are already executed; the names of these seven are given out, and the village expect to see them die this morning. Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve or pardon must cast doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now.”
Act 4, page 119
Context- This quote is what Danforth says to Reverend Hale when he brings up the idea of postponement. This quote shows how Danforth is very stubborn. He refuses to postpone the hangings because it would make him seem indecisive.
Response- Throughout the novel, we can see that Danforth likes for things to go his way. For example, even when Proctor confessed to witchcraft, Danforth was still not satisfied. He wanted Proctor to write out his confession and sign it so it could be posted on the church door for the whole town to see. This supports the statement that Danforth is extremely stubborn.
“Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”
Act 4, page 133
Context-This quote was said by Proctor at the end of the play. Proctor has already confessed to witchcraft, however, the court wants him to write out his confession and sign it so they can post it on the church door. Proctor refuses to do so since he doesn’t want to tarnish the reputation of his family. He knows that he is a good man, and he doesn’t want to throw away his reputation. By not signing the confession, Proctor was sent to death for not admitting to witchcraft.
Response- This quote shows how Proctor is willing to give up his life to save his soul. He didn’t sign the confession because he knew that he would forever be known as the man who sides with the Devil which would tarnish his family name.