The Crucible Act 4 part 1 Summary

     Act four takes place in the Salem jail a few months later. It begins with Marshal Herrick checking on two of the first witches accused: Tituba and Sarah Good. They have sat in jail a long time and are dirty, undernourished, and bordering on crazy. Danforth enters and asks Herrick where he can find Reverend Parris. Herrick explains that Reverend Parris is praying with those people who are scheduled to hang that morning, such as Rebecca Nurse. Judge Hathorne enters and mentions that Reverend Hale has been preaching in Andover lately. Andover is a nearby town, which experienced a problem similar to the one Salem where many people were accused of being witches. However, the accused people rebelled and fought back against the accusations, which caused them to cease. This news makes the judges in Salem more concerned about their decision to execute people for being witches. Hathorne is one of the men who seems to be reconsidering his decision, but Danforth silences him.

     Cheever comes in and mentions how much of a mess the town has become. With so many people in jail, no one is tending to the farms. Cows are roaming the streets, and many children have no parents to care for them. It's upsetting the entire town. Parris joins them and announces that his niece, Abigail, has run away. She and Mercy Lewis are both missing along with thirty-one pounds of his money. It seems as though they see that people are turning on their accusers, and they decided it was best to leave town. He later mentions that when he opened his door to leave, a dagger fell to the ground, so he fears for his life.

     Hathorne says that at all the previous executions, he has seen only support from the crowd of people who cheer on the hanging of witches, but Parris argues that the people that they have hanged before were all people whom the town disliked and didn't respect. This morning they are supposed to hang John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse, upstanding citizens of Salem. Parris asks the judges to postpone the hangings. He knows that Reverend Hale is praying with these people and asking them to confess to being witches in order to stay alive. Parris figures if one of these upstanding citizens confesses to witchcraft then the court looks more justified in hanging the rest. Danforth explains he cannot pardon people when twelve have already been executed for the same crime. They decide to target John Proctor. He has been chained in a dungeon for quite awhile and has not spoken to his wife at all during that time. They agree to let Elizabeth speak to him in order to convince him to confess and live. Hale and Elizabeth join the judges, and they explain that they want her to convince her husband to confess so that they will not have to execute him. Elizabeth does not want to advocate lying, but she agrees to talk to John.

Related Links:

The Crucible Act 4 part 1 Quiz
The Crucible Act 4 part 2 Summary
The Crucible Act 1 part 1 Summary
The Crucible Summary
The Crucible Quotes
The Crucible Important Characters
The Crucible Quiz
Literature Summaries
Arthur Miller Facts

To link to this The Crucible Act 4 part 1 Summary page, copy the following code to your site: