Read Act Two and Act Three Summary of Arthur Miller’s play below, and see why The Crucible is a fascinating play which draws parallels between the climate of fear and paranoia surrounding the Salem Witch Trials in the late 1600s, and the political fear of the spread of Communism in the mid-20th Century.
ACT TWO SUMMARY:
- At Proctor’s house, Elizabeth and Proctor argue further about Abigail – Mary Warren returns, with a poppet as a present for Elizabeth, which she made whilst on trial giving testimonies.
- Hale arrives and questions Proctor about not attending church. Proctor recites the ten commandments as a proof of his faith, but he forgets the commandment about adultery.
- Proctor mentions that Abigail is treacherous, and has fabricated the idea of witchcraft to create chaos in the town.
- Elizabeth is arrested, Abigail says that she felt a sharp pain while eating dinner, and accuses Elizabeth of using the poppet against her. Mary Warren says that Abigail gave her the poppet, but Elizabeth is arrested nonetheless.
ACT THREE SUMMARY:
- Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse are accused.
- Giles Corey says that Putnam is deliberately accusing townsfolk to try and claim their land as his own, but it makes no difference – Corey is then also suspected and arrested.
- It is revealed that Elizabeth is pregnant.
- An important testimony takes place: Mary Warren begins the trial admitting that she was manipulated by Abigail, but as it continues, Abigail continues to manipulate the sentiment in the court – causing hysteria and turning on Mary.
- Proctor tries to diffuse the situation by finally admitting to the affair – for proof, the court summons Elizabeth. Unfortunately, despite never lying before in her life, she decides to lie in order to protect her husband – causing her to be sent back to prison, and Abigail to emerge victorious.
- Mary now joins Abigail’s side from fear and social pressure; she accuses Proctor of being the Devil’s man.