The Crucible Study Guide

The following list of notable characters will be featured on the mid year exam.  You should add to the description of each character as you read the play in order to benefit your opportunity for success on the exam.

Reverend ParrisMinister in Salem. He believes a faction plans to force him to leave Salem, so he attempts to strengthen his authority through the witch trial proceedings.

Betty Parris Parris’ daughter. Her father discovers her dancing in the woods, and she later accuses individuals of practicing witchcraft.

Abigail Williams Parris’ niece. She instigates the witch trials by falsely accusing others of witchcraft. She pretends to see spirits and instructs the other girls to pretend as well.

Tituba Parris’ black slave. Parris discovers her casting spells and making potions with the girls in the woods.

Mrs. Ann Putnam Wife of Thomas Putnam. She believes that a witch is responsible for the deaths of her seven infant children. Her jealousy of Rebecca Nurse leads her to accuse Goody Nurse of being a witch.

Thomas Putnam A greedy landowner in Salem. He systematically accuses his neighbors of witchcraft so that he might purchase their lands after they hang.

Ruth Putnam The Putnams’ daughter. She accuses individuals of practicing witchcraft. A witness claims to have heard Putnam say Ruth’s accusations helped him obtain land.

Mary Warren Servant to the Proctors. She goes along with Abigail and the girls by falsely accusing others of witchcraft; however, she later admits that she was lying.

Mercy Lewis Servant to the Putnams and friend to Abigail. She participates in the witch trials by pretending to see spirits and falsely accusing individuals of witchcraft.

John Proctor Salem farmer and former lover of Abigail’s. He openly denounces Parris and does not attend church.

Elizabeth Proctor Wife of John Proctor. She is a decent and honest woman, who dismissed Abigail because of her affair with John Proctor.

Reverend Hale Minister in Beverly. The people of Salem summon him to investigate Betty’s condition and determine if witchcraft is responsible. He supports the witch trials, but later denounces them when he learns that Abigail is lying.

Rebecca Nurse Wife of Francis Nurse. She is one of the most respected individuals in Salem because of her kindness and charity. She argues against the witch trial investigations. Mrs. Putnam accuses her of witchcraft.

Francis Nurse Farmer and landowner in Salem. He is a respected member of the community often called upon to settle disagreements between individuals.

Susanna Walcott Friend to Abigail. She also takes part in the trials by falsely accusing others of witchcraft.

Giles Corey Elderly inhabitant of Salem. He challenges the court in an attempt to defend his wife who has been convicted of witchcraft. He is pressed to death as a result.

Martha Corey  Wife of Giles Corey; Martha is the first woman of reputation to be accused by the girls.

Sarah Good Beggar in Salem. She is the first individual accused of witchcraft.

Judge Hathorne A judge in the Salem court.

Deputy Governor Danforth A special judge serving in the Salem court during the witch trials. He signs the death sentences for those individuals who refuse to confess their crimes. He refuses to delay any execution for fear that he will appear weak and irresolute.

Ezekial Cheever Appointed by the court to assist in arresting accused individuals.

Marshal Herrick Appointed by the court to arrest the accused individuals.

Hopkins Jailer.

The following questions related to the play are not intended to be answered and submitted for a grade.  The questions are provided for you in order to help provoke insight and understanding.  The following questions are also helpful when you have reading quizzes over each Act.

You may choose to read along with The Crucible audio book.

ACT ONE:
1.  Why is Parris so agitated when the play opens
2.  Why is Parris, daughter Betty pretending to be ill?
3.  Why were the girls dancing in the woods?
4.  Why was Tituba with the girls in the woods?
5.  What tragedies has Ruth Putnam experienced  Who does she play these tragedies on?
6.  Why does Abigail Williams argue with Betty and then strikes Betty?
7.  What indiscretion does Abigail Williams share with John Proctor?
8.  Why does Abigail feel that Elizabeth Proctor is blackening her name?
9.  Why does Rebecca Nurse come to observe Betty?
10. What explanation does Rebecca Nurse offer for Betty’s condition?
11. Why does Parris want to send for the Reverend Hale?
12. What does Proctor think of Parris?
13. What do Giles Corey and Thomas Putnam quarrel about?
14. Why does Reverend Hale examine Betty?
15. What does Giles Corey ask Reverend Hale’s opinion about Corey’s wife?
16. Why does Abigail have to defend herself to Reverend Hale?
17.  Who does Abigail blame for her actions?
18. How does Act One conclude in calamity?