Act III The Crucible Much of Act III

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Act III – The Crucible • • Much of Act III: to do with

Act III – The Crucible • • Much of Act III: to do with determining who will define innocence and guilt. Major themes in Act III: • Hysteria • Reputation • Danger of Ideology

Main Developments in Act III: • Court Authorities (Hathorne and Danforth) refuse to listen

Main Developments in Act III: • Court Authorities (Hathorne and Danforth) refuse to listen to evidence for fear of having their mistakes exposed • Proctor refuses to back down, and gives evidence that includes his affair with Abigail • Danforth and Hathorne prefer to believe Abigail to Proctor (who is declared a witch) • Hale turns against court and denounces it

Beginning Attempt by Giles, Proctor, and Francis to save respective wives exposes fact that

Beginning Attempt by Giles, Proctor, and Francis to save respective wives exposes fact that trials have become about maintaining power and authority: • Deputy Governor Danforth and Judge Hathorne do not want to admit to being deceived by girls • Parris does not want fraud exposed: the scandal of having a lying daughter and niece would end his career in Salem. • Thematic link: Reputation • Danforth and Hathorne do not want to be proved wrong • Parris does not want to lose standing in Salem

Danforth / Hathorne react to Proctor’s claims by accusing him of: • Trying to

Danforth / Hathorne react to Proctor’s claims by accusing him of: • Trying to undermine “the court”in theocratic Salem = undermining God himself • Danforth / Hathorne (like Hale earlier): • question Proctor about Christian morals as though on trial • hope to label him an enemy of religion so that none will defend him • Thematic Link: • Danger of ideology

Reaction of Danforth / Hathorne to deposition signed by ninety-one land-owning citizens: demonstrates power

Reaction of Danforth / Hathorne to deposition signed by ninety-one land-owning citizens: demonstrates power of the court over citizens indicates extent to which court believes in guilt by association guilt need not be proven with evidence Danforth states signers have nothing to worry about if they are innocent - but innocence cannot be proved • Parris states: goal of trials = to find precisely what is not seen —in supernatural realm / realm of people’s private lives. • • • Thematic Link: • Danger of ideology • Reputation

”You must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he

”You must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between. This is a sharp time, now, a precise time—we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world. Now, by God’s grace, the shining sun is up, and them that fear not light will surely praise it. ” (Danforth, Act III) • Danforth sees the world in black and white • Everything and everyone belongs to either God or the Devil. • The court does God’s work, and so an enemy of the court must, necessarily, be a servant of the Devil • Thematic Link: • Danger of ideology

During hysteria, authority and power fall to those who can avoid questioning while forcing

During hysteria, authority and power fall to those who can avoid questioning while forcing others to speak: • Danforth and Hathorne’s rank gives them the authority to interpret any questions as an attack on the court. • Abigail responds to Proctor’s charges of ‘harlotry’ with a refusal to answer questions. • Refusal means she possesses unusual level of authority for her age and gender. • Thematic Link: • Hysteria

Proctor overcomes desire to protect his good name -- confesses to secret sin. Hopes

Proctor overcomes desire to protect his good name -- confesses to secret sin. Hopes to: replace his wife’s alleged guilt with his own guilt bring down Abigail he mistakes the proceedings for an actual search for the guilty proceedings are better described as a power struggle exposes his private life to scrutiny, hoping to gain some authority • revelation comes too late to stop witch trials • Danforth and Hathorne refuse to accept his confession, preferring their test of Elizabeth (who contradicts his story) • • • Thematic Link: • Reputation

“A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know it now.

“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. . 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. . ” (Act III, Proctor confesses affair with Abigail) • Proctor knows witch trials = “whore’s vengeance”—Abigail’s revenge on him for ending their affair • Climax of play • Proctor’s concern for justice outstrips his concern for his reputation • Actions come too late: attempt at honesty backfires and destroys him. • Thematic Link: • Reputation

How has the situation of each character changed in Act III? Hale – denounces

How has the situation of each character changed in Act III? Hale – denounces court – sides with Proctor – Tells truth about affair, but – Abigail wins Danforth – keeps reputation (defends Abigail) Hathorne - keeps reputation (defends Abigail) Abigail – accuses still more victims – still credible Mary Warren – tries to tell truth, but is forced to side with Abigail • Elizabeth – still in prison – accidentally compromises Proctor’s reputation • • •