The Crucible Act 3 part 1 Summary

     Act three takes place in the Salem meeting house where the court convenes. It begins with Martha Corey defending herself to accusations that she is a witch. Her husband, Giles, believes that Thomas Putnam is using the witchcraft accusations as a way to make people forfeit their land so that he can buy it up. Giles feels sorry that he ever mentioned his wife reading strange books because the court is using that as a sign that she is witch. Francis Nurse steps in, whose wife Rebecca has also been charged, announcing that they have proof that the girls are lying.

     John Proctor then leads in Mary Warren, which surprises Reverend Parris and several others in the courtroom. Proctor explains that Elizabeth, his wife, has been arrested, and Mary Warren, who works for them, has come to announce that she never saw any spirits. Judge Danforth is appalled by this revelation, especially since he already condemned seventy-two people to hang. Mary Warren presents her deposition that the girls have all been pretending that they were witched, and Danforth and Parris question her about it. Danforth inquires as to Proctor's motivation for bringing Mary Warren before the court, and John tells them that he hopes to free his wife. They ask Proctor some questions about his church practices then Danforth reveals that Elizabeth is pregnant. John is shocked by this news but assures Danforth that if she says she is, then she must be because Elizabeth never lies. Since they will not hang a pregnant woman, Danforth asks if Proctor will leave the court knowing his wife is safe, but Proctor says he is there on behalf of his friends' wives as well.

     Next, Proctor presents a testament that many people signed declaring their good opinions of Martha Corey, Rebecca Nurse, and Elizabeth Proctor, to help show that they are not witches. Reverend Parris wants to summon all of the people listed on the testament in for questioning, and Francis is worried that harm will come to them if they are called in to court for questioning. After that, Giles presents a deposition in which he claims that an honest man heard Putnam prompt his daughter to cry witchery upon George Jacobs. Danforth wants to know the name of the honest man, but Giles won't reveal it, so they hold him in contempt of court and put him in jail. Danforth returns to Mary Warren and explains that either she is lying now or she was lying earlier, so either way she will go to jail for her perjury.

     Danforth turns his questions to Abigail Williams asking whether she agrees with Mary Warren's statement that the girls have just been pretending the whole time, but Abigail vehemently denies it. Proctor is upset that the court thinks Abigail is so holy, when he personally knows she is not, so he tells them that he believes Abigail wants to see his wife dead. He explains how Abigail privately confessed to him about the silliness that went on in the woods. Danforth, still not convinced, wants to see Mary Warren pretend to be witched at this moment to show the court her acting abilities. Unfortunately, when put on the spot like that, Mary Warren is unable to pretend to faint as they requested.

     The allegations against witches have risen dramatically. Hundreds have been questioned or put into jail. Many people in Salem realize that the situation has gotten out of hand, but the men in charge of the courts do not want to back down. If they suddenly stop the arrests and inquisitions or begin questioning the honesty of the girls, it makes them look foolish and incompetent because they have believed them for so long and arrested so many people based on the girls' testimony. For people who did not put a great deal of stock into the intelligence or importance of women, the Puritans certainly believe every word these young girls say without stopping to question their motivations or look for any physical proof of its validity.

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