The Crucible Act II
Abigail - power • Abigail /other witches: • Unusual level of power and authority for young, unmarried girls in Puritan community • Can destroy the lives of others with accusation • Even wealthy / influential not safe. • Mary Warren -- newfound power as court official • able to defy Proctor’s assumption of authority over her: “I'll have you speak more civilly to me from this out”
Proctor's sense of guilt • Knows that he can bring down Abigail / end reign of terror • Fears for his good name (hidden sin of adultery) • Knowledge of his own guilt makes him feel judged (unjust anger at Elizabeth) • Elizabeth is correct when she points out: “The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you” • Proctor hates hypocrisy and judges his own hypocrisy harshly too
Entrance of Hale complicates Proctor's dilemma • Hale wants to determine character of each accused individual by measuring it against Christian standards. • Any small deviation from doctrine is reason for suspicion. • Proctor fails to remember all Ten Commandments: • Exposes deficiency of own Christian morality (adultery) • Suggests to Hale that entire household = involved in witchcraft.
Miller's comment on 'witchhunt' mentality • When Proctor asks why the accusers are always automatically innocent: “Is the accuser always holy now? ” • Those who take side of the accusers • root out the devil’s work • Those who challenge them: • threaten religion • Miller satirises (mocks) frenzied accusations of communism in Mc. Carthy trials for 'un-American activities'
Hale: internal crisis • Enjoyed being called to Salem because it made him feel like an expert. • Privileged position of authority • Defines the guilty and the innocent • Surprise at Rebecca’s arrest / warrant for Elizabeth • Reveals Hale is no longer in control • Power has passed to others • Hale begins to doubt justice of court: “[deeply troubled]. . . If Rebecca Nurse be tainted, then nothing's left to stop the whole green world from burning”