The Crucible Act 4 part 2 Summary

     John and Elizabeth have a stilted but far more loving conversation than they have yet had in the play. Elizabeth tells John that because Giles Corey would not give the name of his source, they pressed him for the information, which means they put giant stones on his chest to force him to talk. All Giles Corey would tell them was "More weight" until he died. Elizabeth tells John that she wants him alive to help raise their baby, so John decides to confess. The judges are thrilled and ask him if he has seen any other townspeople with the devil, but John refuses to name any other names. They bring in Rebecca to watch his confession as an example for her to follow, and she is horrified that he is willing to lie. John thinks because he has already committed adultery, he is a sinner, so it is acceptable for him to sin again by lying.

     The judges make John sign a confession that they want to post on the church door for all to see. John refuses to give them the confession once he has signed it. He explains to them that he has three children who have the name Proctor, and he doesn't want proof of his lie to endure through their lifetimes. The judges insist that they must retain the proof of his confession, but John is not willing to give it up. He finally decides to tear the confession and face the gallows. Elizabeth witnesses his decision and begins to weep. Hale begs Elizabeth to talk to John and convince him to live, but Elizabeth sees that he has found a way to redeem himself for his previous transgressions, and she does not want to take that away from him.

     The play ends with John, Rebecca and Martha Corey being led to the gallows. A drumroll sounds, and it is clear that these three people have been hanged.

     This tragic play is incredibly moving because of the changes that occur in John Proctor. He transforms from a man ashamed of what he had done and apologetic to his wife, to one who becomes frustrated with the witchcraft trials and willing to fight against the girl whom he once had an affair with, finally to a man who once again finds his dignity and makes a righteous decision, which ends his life. A crucible, in terms of science, is a small ceramic bowl that can be heated to high temperatures. This object seems a good choice for the title of this play since the pressure put on people by the girls makes for a heated and uncomfortable situation. The girls stir up trouble just as chemists mix chemicals together in a crucible.

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