Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Act 4 Discussion Thread

Today we are going to have a discussion thread based on Act 4 of The Crucible. I want you to respond to at least 2 others, make comments, using textual support, and I always want you to end with a question-intepretative or critical.
I do not want one word responses; I expect formal writing and intelligent thought showing your discerning observations and analysis. Please keep in mind the ideological statements and central questions as a means of helping you to analyze further.

To start, please answer the following 3 questions:

1.  Who is to blame for what happened?  Can the people of Salem's actions be excused by the cultural hysteria, or is it the individual's fault?  Find evidence to support both sides.

2.  As you read this act, what spoke to you the most or evoked the most emotion?

3.  How does individual judgment play a role in this Act? Find one example and relay its significance.

When you finish, make sure you ask questions and begind responding to others. Textual support is mandatory! 

116 comments:

  1. In Act 4, Parris states that Abigail along with Mercy Lewis have gone missing/left. What do you think that this signifies in Abby? Do you think the reason she left was out of fear, or was it out of guilt?

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    1. I think that shows that Abby got scared and worried that she wasn't going to be able to keep up the act. She probably left out of fear and guilt. She was afraid that she was going to get caught and that the guilt was going to absolutely ruin her and her family. Like when Parris was yelling Abby about her dancing in the woods (at the beginning of the play in Act I)"Abigail, I have fought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people to me..." He was so worried about his reputation, and I think Abby realized that it would basically kill her to ruin his reputation like that.

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    2. I would say Abigail left because she knew she was wrong and feared she would get in trouble. I can't imagine she felt any guilt or she would've stopped blaming the women around her much earlier. On page 146 Miller states, "The legend has it that Abigail turned up later as a prostitute in Boston." This shows how she wasn't worried about having a tarnished name in other places and didn't want to stay in Salem where word could get around what she had done to the women.

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  2. I believe that one person is not to blame. Abby may have started the whole thing and planted the seed in everybody's head but after one person was accused it got out of control. The whole city became involved. Some might say that the actions are excused by cultural hysteria but then the question is how did the hysteria start?

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    1. It started once Betty and Ruth began acting strange and people began to point to witchcraft, especially when they pointed out the outcasts of society; those who were different in some way. The people were afraid because they could not explain what was happening to the girls. In such a religious society everyone was afraid of committing some kind of sin, and even more afraid of what other people would think if they found out. I think that the people in Salem believed that if they caught all the witches, they would be good in the mind of God. They thought witches were tainting their society and they were afraid that if they did not take action against the devil in their town, they would all go to hell. I think the hysteria can be mostly blamed on the puritan's religious beliefs and that it started gradually, person by person, until the whole town was caught up in it.

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  4. I believe that the people of Salem's actions shouldn't be excused by cultural hysteria. Rather, it is the individual's fault. On page 135 it says "Elizabeth: He were not hanged He would not answer aye or nay to his indictment; for if he denied the charge they'd hang him surely, and auction out his property. So he stand mute, and died Christian under the law." Giles wouldn't have died if it wasn't for the people of the town going against him. He may have died, but he was proud to have died with his beliefs. I think the people of society are to blame because an innocent man would have lived if it wasn't for their unfair trials. However, I could also see how hysteria could back up people's actions. On page 124 it says, "Hawthorne: Excellency, I wonder if it be wise to let Mr. Parris so continuously with the prisoners. I think, sometimes, the man has a mad look these days." People have been so affected by the events that it is causing them to loose character and become a different person. Parris, a very focused man, became distracted and paranoid. How did the different characters change as the trials progressed?

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  5. In the end of Act 4, Elizabeth Proctor shows individual judgement towards John Proctor. Whether or not she voiced her judgement, she still had an opinion towards John lying to save himself, shown in 136-end.

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  6. I believe that cultural hysteria can not be blamed for what happened in Salem. Although some of it may have been people acting in a sort of mob mentality, I believe that it is truly the individuals fault. I think the prime example of this is Danforth in Act 4. Proctor is confessing to witchcraft, yet Danforth will not accept it until it is on paper. This shows the stubborn way that Danforth is conducting himself, and therefore his fault. If he had just accepted the spoken confession, Proctor could have lived! In this act, the part that spoke the most to me was the fact that Proctor would not condemn his neighbors, even though it may have saved his life, " Proctor: I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it." I think this is the most powerful line of Act 4. Although he is giving himself up, he is not going so low as to condemn his friends.

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  7. @Klarissa
    I think that Abigail felt an extreme amount of guilt saying as how it was basicallly her fault. Maybe because of her guilt she became fearful of others in the town who might be vengeful. Do you think she ever forgave herself for what she did to the town of Salem? How did what happened shape the rest of her life?

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    1. I agree. I think that during the trials, she got caught up in the thrill of having so much power over Salem, but once they began to end and the trials lost support, she began to think of what she had done and all the bloodshed she had caused. I think that the arrest of John especially triggered her. For much of the play, she was striving to get John back, but once she found that that wasn't working, she had little purpose, and saw what she was doing. I doubt she was ever able to fully forgive herself, but by leaving I think she escaped some of the issues which would have haunted her later in life. I don't think she ever really recovered, and was left with some definite issues, which could have led her to prostitution later in life (going off the note at the end of the book).

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  8. 1. While an argument can be made for both sides, I believe that it was cultural hysteria that had the most impact on the trials. When pressed to pardon Proctor and Goody Nurse, Danforth sums up this point, exclaiming, "I cannot pardon these when twelve are already hanged for the same crime...Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve or pardon must cast doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now" (p.129). Although it can be said that Danforth bypassed the opportunity to escape the blame, he went along with it, making it an individual fault. But, this was caused by an over-riding public pressure, so the cultural hysteria was even present in the individuals that seemed to have blame.

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  9. No specific person is to blame for the hysteria. Although Abigail and Betty fueled the town into the craziness, it was the work of the entire society and community that brought Salem down.

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    1. Do you think that the hysteria could have been stopped in any way?

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  10. @ Melissa R
    I think that Abby and the girls in the woods started this hysteria. I think it all started simple and smaller, but by trying to cover their actions, Abby not only planted a seed in everyone's minds but kept pushing the plot and events forward. So I think Abby is to blame, she cause and started the cultural hysteria and the witch hunts, pulled in the people of Salem.

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  11. Abigail is to blame for all of this. She boldly lied to the society in order to make innocent people die. If she did not fake the ailments, there would be no basis for the claim that witchcraft was afoot. I felt helpless rage as I read the third and fourth acts, knowing that innocent people will die because of a girl's sick act. I could not believe that she would do something like that? Why does she have all this hatred for certain citizens of Salem? On page 115, Abiail shouts,"Oh Mary, this is a black art to change your shape. No, I cannot, I cannot stop my mouth; it's God's work I do," to make Mary lose her credibility and make her look like a witch. Abigail fully knows that Mary is not a witch, she just wants to see her hanged. She could have stopped the crazy accusations at any time, but she chose not to. She enjoyed the bloodshed she caused.

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  12. I felt the most emotion when Proctor decided to let himself be hung a good man. This happens on page 144, "Proctor: I can. And there's your first marvel, that I can. You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough, to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs." I felt very emotional because Proctor was willing to die in order to be an honest man. I was also very overcome with emotion because Proctor realized that he is still a good man after his affair with Abigail. I am thrilled that he has forgiven himself and moved on from what happened. I'm glad that he came to terms with Elizabeth as well, I think she was a very supportive wife to him. If you were Proctor, would you have died? Or confessed to something you didn't do, but kept your life?

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  13. In Act 4, I found when Danforth was trying to get Proctor to sign his name to the confession and Proctor said "Because it is my name! ...I have given you my soul; leave my name!" spoke to me the most. At first I think the town just wants the Devil gone and witchcraft ended, but then the whole situation just keeps getting bigger and bigger and becomes more public. Now it is about public humiliation, which is why they wanted to hang Proctors' signed confession on the church door. Having them sign a confession doesn't do anything. I understand Proctor wanting to save his name. He knows he is going to die but he still wants people to remember his name in honor. What is the point of having the guilty sign to their confession?

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    1. The point in having the guilty sign to their confession could come from Danforth and the other prosecutors save their name. They probably knew they were doing wrong and wanted to have proof the people confessed. This way they couldn't be questioned later on about killing people for no clear reason.

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  14. 1) No one in particular is to blame for what happened in Salem. It was a series of events that added onto one another that created the event. The girls added to the pile a lot though because they got the snowball rolling by blaming others for what happened then that set the tone for the blame to blame others to draw the attention away from them. People's hysteria can be blamed on both cultural and individuals. When the first witch was accused many people where scared because the leaders of the town made it seem horrible and that set the tone for how others should feel. People themselves where also a big part in the hysteria that took over the town. For example Proctor thought that the girls where lying and there may have been people who believed the same thing in the town and that would be based on how they feel and now base their decision on what the rest of the town though.

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  15. 1. The girls are to blame for what happened. They were the ones who originally created the thought of witches, then they manipulated the situation to kill those that they don't like. For example, Abagail used the situation to attempt to kill Elizabeth, as said on page 110 when Proctor exclaims, "She thinks to dance with me on my wife's grave!"
    However, the town is equally to blame. They were so caught up in the fear that there may be witches that they will believe anything that the "victims" say, which Francis points out on page 87, "Excellency, I never thought to say it to such a weighty judge, but you are deceived."

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    1. You say the girls were to blame, but the article that we read before we started reading the book said the they were diseased, causing them to hallucinate. Also, the people believed it, and spread the rumor that it was witchcraft. The girls just played along. Why did Parris say that it was witchcraft, in turn 'revealing' that his daughter was affected in some way?

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  16. 1. The individuals are to blame for the start of the witch hunt because the pride and greed of characters such as Danforth, Hale, and Abigail caused innocent people to be condemned. For example, as more and more witches are condemned, Hale becomes aware of his guilt and knows that "There is blood on my head" (p131). Hale's pride in his authority caused him to accept the explanation of witches and send the society into hysteria. However, as the individuals found witches in Salem, cultural hysteria kicked in and was the final downfall of Salem. Puritan beliefs and stereotypes make people eager to look for the devil as a scapegoat. The fear causes people to look for the devil everywhere, such as when Danforth interrogates Proctor and says, "You must certainly have seen some person with the devil" (p140). Cultural fears lead to the witch hunt because the society sees the devil everywhere.

    2. In this act, the thing that evoked the most emotion from me was John Proctors struggle between a lie and his life. Although he decides to confess, he illogically refuses to give a straight answer and is fully ashamed of himself because he knows the lie. For me, this scene represents evil winning because the protagonist is confessing. For Proctor, it is a battle between society and his soul and he asks, "Then who will judge me? What is John Proctor. I think it is honest, I think so; I am no saint" (p138). He decides to lie but cannot follow through because he values his spirit more than his life and society.

    3. Elizabeth does not want to judge Proctor, and this leads to Proctor's decision to confess. She accepts whatever he does no matter if it condemns him in God or society's eyes, and tells him that "Whatever you will do, it is a good man does it" (p137). In turn, Proctor decides to confess, which signifies the demise of the rebellion against the court.

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  17. Klarissa, i believe that the girls left out of fear. I do not believe that people that could perform such horrid acts as causing the deaths of multiple people could even feel guilt. Although, this is more for Abigail, Mercy Lewis was just an "accomplice". I think this fear that Abigail had toward getting caught was shown greatly in Act 3, although this is an Act 4 discussion, I believe Act 3 has the best evidence to answer this question. On page 108, she is being questioned by Danforth, and in order to bring suspicion off of herself she attempts implicate Mary as a witch again, " Abigail, looking about in the air, clasping her arms about her as though cold: I- i know not. A wind, a cold wind has come. Her eyes fall on Mary Warren" This pretty obviously shows the fear that Abigail has for being caught.

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  18. Mrs. Comp
    In answer to the question about blame and the actions of people with cultural hysteria, I personally believe that it is at the individuals fault for the false accusations and the mass rumor of witchcraft in the town of Salem. In the end, we all base our thoughts on things that we notice in our environment and things we learn though, no one is in control of how we take action to those thoughts. At first we think that the girls are to blame for their dancing and their accusing of Tituba but then we come to realize that everyone is an accuser. The life of one person came down to whether they say they had seen the Devil or they had not. "'Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!'" (Miller 143) In this quote, the feeling that Proctor gets when he is being told to confess to save his life, it seems as though he does not want to give into the cultural aspect of the fear in Salem. Therefore, this proves that people in the town of Salem had control of their destinies, based on the fact that John Proctor did not go into the norm.

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    1. Rachel- I think that its sad how in this situation, telling the truth could lead to death. We are always taught that its best to tell the truth, but does that rule apply when faced with life of death? There was no trust in the Salem Witch trials, so when someone decides to tell such an influential lie, it has great impact. And none of the accusers seem to feel guilt. Through all the lies and chaos, sometimes it really can come down to one single choice.

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  19. I believe that the girls that cried witch are to blame for what happened. I believe that they were faking, so it is their fault that those people died. I also think that their actions can be excused by the cultural hysteria, because their religion definitely influenced their actions. On pg. 15, Miller writes,"Mrs. Putnam: Tituba knows how to speak the dead." Their evidence is that Tituba is a witch and that all of this is happening because of her. However, the opposing argument is that the girls are faking. Proctor displays this on pg. 110 when he confesses to the court that he cheated on his wife with Abigail. His argument is that she is lying to get rid of Mrs. Proctor, so Abigail can have John.
    What spoke to me the most was toward the end of Act 4 when Proctor verbally confessed, but would not sign it, and eventually said he was lying. He did not want to taint his name with lies, and he took that to the grave with him.
    One example of individual judgement is on pg. 142 when Proctor says, "No, no. I have signed it. You have seen me. It is done! You have no need for this." He will not taint his name by being a witch. He does not want people to judge him after he is gone or in jail.
    Do you think that John did the right thing in eventually staying true and not lying about having contact with the devil? Is there a right or wrong way to handle a situation like this?

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    1. I think that John made a very bold decision, but I don't think he necessarily died with a clean name. The fact that he went with the lie for a little while makes him appear just as weak. However, in a situation like this, there is no way to win. It is hard for me to say because it has never happened to me. In the end, I think it comes down to how much a person values life.

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  21. Jeremy, do you think Betty is partly to blame? I personally believe that she is too young to truly start something like this. I think that Abigail is the main cause, considering all the other girls copied her. Do you think Abigail is to blame? Or is there another that could be partly blamed?

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    1. I believe that it is partially her fault, but the hysteria can't be completely blamed on her. Her fear drove her to lie, essentially resulting in the death of multiple people.

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  22. 1. The people of Salem are to blame for what happened. They were so easily persuaded and absorbed by fear that they were unable to see how crazy they were acting. At one point when people were starting to see the stupidity of their actions they failed to stop themselves and continued the nonsense. This can be seen when Dan forth says on page 129 "You misunderstand, sir; I cannot pardon these when twelve are already hanged for the same crime. It is not just." It was understandable that they were scared at first but there is no excuse for how far the citizens of Salem took this.
    2. As I read this act, I felt pity, and awe. Pity for those who were to be hanged for something they didn't do, and awe for those same group who knew they could have easily saved their lives but still stuck true to what they believe even thought they would die for it.
    3. Individual judgement played a major role in this act for characters such as Elizabeth, Proctor, and Goody Nurse. They were all placed with decisions that would greatly effect their lives and the lives of those close to them. They had to look at themselves and figure out what meant more to them, their lives, or what they believed in.

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  23. Klarissa- I think Abby left out of both fear and guilt. She was one of the the main girls that led to how big the trails got. Even if she didn't realize it when she started to blame others at the beginning she ruined many people lives. I think Abby also felt fear. People could start to feel threatened by some of the people when they got freed from jail. Many would start to point fingers at who started it all and if fingers landed on her she would have many people who wanted to get revenge.

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    1. Good point! I think that she also felt very safe with all the power she had at the height of the trials. If anyone did anything against her, she could condemn them. But later on, as the trials died down, she could have gotten scared of what people would do to her when they no longer feared her, and how the town would think of her as they also realized what they had done to their own neighbors.

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  24. I believe that both cultural hysteria and individuals share part of the blame for what happened in Salem. Cultural anxiety can be to blame because this society values a strict christian faith and even a mention of witchcraft will cause much fear. When there is fear, a common thread of humanity is to find a scapegoat and place blame there. Salem wants closure from the threat of witchcraft, so hanging the condemned is their way of bringing closure. As Elizabeth says, "There be a hundred or more they say". She is talking about how many "witches" have confessed. Just a few people do not have the power to condemn hundreds. The village must side with the judges. Hawthorne says "Why at every execution I have seen naught but high satisfaction in the town." It seems the town is involved. However, it could be that Danforth, Abby, Hawthorne and a few others share the blame because of the power they have. The whole town believes everything Abby says. Hale points out, "... no one knows when the harlots' cry will end one's life." He is referring to Abby who can literally kill anyone she wishes. Danforth has tremendous power through suggestion. When Proctor confesses, he asks who Proctor saw with the devil. Proctor says he saw no one, but Danforth convinces him, "You have most certainly seen some person with the devil." Finally, the village is showing signs of revolt, proving that they do not side any more with the power figures. Parris says, "I fear there will be a riot."

    2. What provoked the most emotion in me was when Proctor cries "Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" Here John Proctor realizes that his integrity is worth dying for. Living would have no purpose without a clean name. John's willingness to die for his values is inspiring and truly provokes emotion.

    3. Individual judgement shows itself when Proctor cannot decide if it is worth sacrificing his name to live. In the end, he cannot bring himself to soil his name in turn for his life. Proctor could have lived but he condemned himself to die. He judged himself and found it preferable to die than live with a soiled name. This is significant since this shows John's integrity and the importance of it.

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  25. @ Melissa-
    I agree with you that the point of having someone declared guilty is to gain power over that person. However, I think that Proctor wants more than his honor remembered through refusing to sign his name. I think that he want to retain his soul, and by confessing he loses it.

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  26. @Melissa
    I think that they have them write down their confession to make them feel even more guilty. When something is written down it just becomes more true and valid. People can always go back on their word but once its in writing you cannot change a thing. I think that that was what John Proctor realized just before he tore up his confession. Why do you think he felt he would rather die than have his written confession posted on the church doors? What does that symbolize?

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    1. I think this shows that Proctor wanted to confess in order to save his life, but didn't want to be known for it. He wanted to live, but didn't want the consequences that came with the decision. I think this is the point when Proctor realized the significance of his decision and what it would do to his reputation within Salem.

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  27. Individual judgement plays a role because while mostly people are judging each other, Elizabeth tells John "I cannot judge you, John, I cannot!" She stayed true to John and they stood up for each other which in the end got them both put in jail. What if more people stood by their friends and family. As soon as a person was accused it seemed like their friends and family left them because they didn't want to be guilty by association. How would it be different if people were not afraid of being accused and trusted each other? They were friends before the trials and helped each other but that all ended one accusations started happening.

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  28. On the other hand, however, much of this is society's fault. Today, we would just call Abby insane for saying that a witch is doing all this. We would believe any plausible logical explanation before believing witchcraft is the cause. But in this time period, witchcraft was the most logical explanation. They did not know about hallucinogenic rye, or other scientific explanations. They also had an irrational trust in children. Children have just as much the ability to lie as adults. No one ever questioned Abby. When it was her word against someone else's, everyone trusted Abby.

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  29. Individual judgement plays a role in this act because i feel everyone is judging everyone at this point, mainly judging their decisions on how far they are going to go to preserve their lives. But it has been brought up twice in this act that the characters should not base their decisions off of the judgment of others, and that it is only gods judgment that matters ." But let none be your judge. There be no higher judge under heaven than Proctor is!"(pg.137) Elizabeth telling him make his own choice and only let him be judged about it before god.

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  30. I think that multiple people can be to blame for the crisis in Salem. However, there is one character that stands out far beyond the others as being the main perpetrator. I believe it is Abigail because she is the first one to technically lie in the play. She deceives her family and friends along with the court. She also has greed for power and revenge. She brings others down while trying to uphold a righteous face for herself. Here is some evidence against her:
    -Abby lies to her uncle about what she and the other girls did in the forest with Tituba. (pg. 10-12)
    -Abby threatens her friends with as much as death to not tell about the dancing/singing in the forest. (pg. 18-20)
    -Abby is revealed to have had an affair with John Proctor of which she still wishes were going on. (pg. 21-24)
    -Abby lies to reverend Hale about the dancing/chanting in the forest. She then accuses Tituba of having cursed her, while she was clearly the one who wanted to drink the charm to kill Goody Proctor. (pg. 42-44)
    -Abby along with the other girls has accused multiple innocent people of witchcraft by the end of Act I. (pg. 48)
    -Abby lies about her past work at the Proctor house. She accuses Goody Proctor of witchcraft and of keeping poppets. This is in belief that she is trying to gain revenge against Goody Proctor because she is jealous that she is John Proctor's wife. (pg. 102-103)
    -Abby along with several of the other girls then cries witchery against Mary Warren. This eventually leads to Mary Warren then being forced to confess - accusing John Proctor of witchery. (pg. 114-199)
    -Abby along with Mercy Lewis are discovered to have run away by Act IV. This obviously shows that she is running away from something deeper in her heart - maybe guilt, anger or fear? She can clearly be seen of doing something wrong. (pg. 126)

    With all this evidence against Abby, I feel that she looks the most guilty. However, there are other people that can be accused of doing wrong. Do you think that most of the other people who make poor decisions are affected by Abby's choices? Can she be blamed for what other people do.

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  31. @ class-
    When Abigail is reported missing and a thief, many people could see that a sign of her guilt. Throughout the witch trials, she was the main accuser and was seen as the finger of God. However, when she vanished and it was discovered that "She robbed you?" (p126), it seems to show that she was making false accusations. So why does the witch hunt continue? How does an individual cause social hysteria that cannot be stopped? What can stop moral downfall?

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    1. I think that the girls are afraid that they too will be accused of faking, so they keep up the act. But I think after Abigail left it probably died down a little, especially after the gory execution of Giles. The trials probably lost a lot of support from the community. To answer your other questions, all hysteria ends at some point, but for it to be long lasting, the cause needs to be fear, especially the fear that something or someone will hurt others if they are not stopped. It also has to be something that spreads quickly, so that people will go along with it in order to stick to the social norms of their community. Like in the Red Scare, people were extremely afraid of spies within them, and felt that if they did not root out the spies, they could be hurt or accused themselves. People were also constantly presented with media which encouraged the paranoia at the time, and glorified the act of reporting spies and searching them out. Hysteria needs fear to last, and without fear and strong religious values, the witch hunt would have probably ended a lot sooner.

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  32. Hunter
    But if you think about it, it's true that the girls are the ones who started the idea of witchcraft in the town but, from there and on, it rippled into something bigger. People started to accuse others, others followed suit, people were claiming they saw an act of witchery, and no one decided to put an end to things. I would say that the blame weighs on the girls but has some distribution on the rest of the people in town including the people in the court.

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  33. @Melissa
    I think that the girls dancing in the forest are the ones to blame. But on top of that, the fact that Betty wouldn't wake up added to the fear because people were afraid the devil was in power enough to affect the young girls of the town.

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    1. I agree but I also feel like Parris is to blame as well because he was so worried about his reputation he wanted to find a reason for the behavior as quick as possible. On page 11 Parris states, "Abigail, I have fought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people to me, and now, just now when some good respect is rising for me in the parish, you compromise my very character." The concern Parris has for himself leads to more hysteria than what would've happened if he was more worried for Betty.

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  34. I believe that although the hysteria at the time may have influenced the people of Salem's actions, it it mostly the individual who is to blame. On page 96 Giles says "If Jacobs hangs for a witch he forfeit up his property-that's law! And there is none but Putnam with the coin to buy so great a piece. This man is killing his neighbors for their land!", claiming that Putnam will be able to get more land if Jacobs hangs, and that that is the reason Ruth Putnam accused him of witchcraft. We can see that Putnam is acting logically, because he knows that he is the only one in Salem who could afford that land, and that he is acting out of greed, not out of hysteria. However, others are greatly influenced by the mob mentality in the village, especially Hale. In the beginning, he is a huge part of the trials and leads much of the prosecution, believing that he is doing God's work; something that is enforced by others in the village. Later, though, he denounces the trials, saying "I denounce these proceedings, I quit this court!" (on page 120) and quits the court after he realizes how far the trials have gone. I think that whether the people of Salem are to blame is entirely dependent on the person and the things they do during the trials.

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  35. 2. To me, the way that John plainly laid out the situation was the most notable. He figured out the simple contradiction that the confession contained, seeing that the evil came in forcing oneself to betray his faith. I also took note of the fact that he tried to explain this to the court officials, and they seemed to understand it as well. However, because of the extent that the trials had reached, they were left powerless against the public.
    3. Individual judgement plays a role in the progression of the act itself, as well as in the message that Miller is trying to send out. When Proctor finally decides to confess, he convinces himself by saying, "Nothing's spoiled by giving this lie that were not rotten long before...I want my life" (pp.136-137). This introspection shows the process that all who confessed went through before realizing the value of their life, versus their beliefs. On a larger scale, Miller also illustrates the struggles that cultural hysteria creates on an individual, even if they didn't cause it.

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  36. 2) What made me feel the strongest emotion was how far people would go to either save themselves or stick to what they truly believe. I thought it was sad how fast a community could turn on one another and how far they would go. I understand why people who falsely admit to being a witch to save themselves so it stuck out to me when people were willing to hold so strongly to their religion and what they believe that they choose not admit to something that they didn't do.

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    2. I definitely agree with this. Throughout the whole book, not just at the end, I sometimes found it hard to understand how these people could start accusing each other and believe/act upon something as serious as witchcraft. Obviously times have changed along with our views on witchcraft, but it boils down to shear hysteria. There were so many unanswered questions that held immense amounts of power over society. This situation revealed a lot about the different characters and their true morals.

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  37. 1. The people of Salem are to blame for what happened. They were so easily persuaded and absorbed by fear that they were unable to see how crazy they were acting. At one point when people were starting to see the stupidity of their actions they failed to stop themselves and continued the nonsense. This can be seen when Dan forth says on page 129 "You misunderstand, sir; I cannot pardon these when twelve are already hanged for the same crime. It is not just." It was understandable that they were scared at first but there is no excuse for how far the citizens of Salem took this.
    2. As I read this act, I felt pity, and awe. Pity for those who were to be hanged for something they didn't do, and awe for those same group who knew they could have easily saved their lives but still stuck true to what they believe even thought they would die for it.
    3. Individual judgement played a major role in this act for characters such as Elizabeth, Proctor, and Goody Nurse. They were all placed with decisions that would greatly effect their lives and the lives of those close to them. They had to look at themselves and figure out what meant more to them, their lives, or what they believed in.

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  38. Jack-
    I agree with you that much of this is the society's fault. If they were against this madness then the town could have revolted against the court. But instead they went along with it. Hawthorne even says, "Why, at every execution I have seen naught but high satisfaction in the town." Obviously the town is complacent. But at what point will the madness end. Where do humans tend to draw the line. (either in this book or in general)

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  39. Trevor, I think it depends on how you look at lying. If I were a Puritan, then lying would be one of the worst possible sins. If I were anyone other than a Puritan, I would see one lie as not being worth my life. I believe that Proctor is one of the first people to truly break the bonds of Puritan culture in this society. At first he believes that lying will save him, " Do you sport with me? You will sign your name or it is no confession, Mister! His breast heaving with agonized breathing, Proctor now lays the paper down and signs his name." This snippet is on page 142, yet on page 144, " His breast heaving, his eyes staring, Proctor tears the paper and crumples it, and he is weeping in fury, but erect." This shows the idea that at first he wished to save his life, but eventually decided that he would not blacken his name. I am wondering, do you think he should have confessed? Not even in the sense of he would live or not, but would he have been a sign of hope for others convicted? Many others being condemned refuse to lie, but perhaps Proctor confessing would convince them otherwise.

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  40. I think it's a little unfair to put all of the blame on a specific person or even an event. I think it was a combination of a lot of things. For example, the town is so small that everyone was willing to jump to conclusions about who was practicing witchcraft because they didn't want to be blamed themselves. In general, it wasn't just one person who started the whole thing and only one person who pursued it. On page 48, it says, "'I say Alice Burrow with the Devil!'...'I saw Goody Hawkins with the Devil!''I saw Goody Bibber with the Devil!''I saw Goody Booth with the Devil!'"(Miller 48). Everyone was really quick to join in and blame others, so I think that everyone was really to blame for the uproaring and riot. I think the scene at the end of the Act was most emotional for me. When Proctor and Elizabeth are talking for the last time before Proctor's hanging, she says, "'Do what you will. But let none be your judge. There be no higher judge under Heaven than Proctor is!'"(Miller 137). That conversation seemed really heartfelt and sincere. Individual judgment is actually quite an interesting topic. Throughout the play, people are constantly worried about how others perceived them and upholding a good reputation. Parris wants to look good for the village because he is the reverend. When the idea spreads that his daughter might be practicing witchcraft, he'll do anything to deny it. He says, "'Now, Goody Ann, they only thought that were a witch, and I am certain there be no element of witchcraft here'" (Miller 14). Parris's reputation is far more important to him then the fact that his daughter might be in danger of death. Individual judgment can affect the way people make choices and pass judgment on others.

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  41. @Andrew. I think you bring up a very good point that I had not thought about. I didn't even think that Betty is young, and potentially too young to fake it. If she was faking it, she was definitely too young to know the magnitude of what she created. On pg. 10, Abigail says, "We did dance, uncle, and when you leaped out of the bush so suddenly, Betty was frightened and then she fainted." Here, Abigail is saying that it is not witchcraft. However, at some point later on, she changes her story, so maybe Betty did to and actually did just faint, originally. Do you think that Betty was faking it the whole time? After what we have read, would it be too late for the girls to admit they were faking? Is that why Abigail ran away?

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  42. 1. Personally, I feel that cultural hysteria is to blame. The whole town blew the situation way out of proportion. However, I do think that there are specific people who contributed to the hysteria more than others. These people would include Abigail and Parris. On page 143, Proctor says, "You will not use me! It is no part of salvation that you should use me!" In this case, society is using John to get what they want out of him. They are using him to create more cultural hysteria.
    2. The part of Act 4 that provoked the most emotion in me was when John was feeling very conflicted about whether he should confess or go to the noose. His struggle hit a nerve in me, and effects me still. "Good, then-it is evil, and I do it!" (page 138) John has everything to fear, and he must decide if he should give up all he is standing for in order to save his life.
    3. Individual judgement plays a huge role in Act 4, especially when John is speaking to his wife. "I am not your judge, I cannot be." (page 138)Elizabeth surely has her own opinion about this, yet she gives him this answer to his problem. John is really worried about how others will judge him, especially when the men attempt to post his confession outside of the church.

    What are the after effects of cultural hysteria?

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    1. The after effects of cultural hysteria seem to break down into regret, confusion and sadness. The guilt of betraying your neighbors and friends would almost be unbearable. Not to mention how you would deal with yourself knowing you fed into the hysteria of contributing to the death of people. I feel people will always try to put something in place, like a law or a memorial to remind people of the disaster that it becomes when something like this can manifest, but in the end it comes down to what your willing to accept, and who you are that your values are strong enough to withhold the pressure society puts on everyone to become part of a living fad of fear, anger, and other emotions that cause unjust and hate.

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    2. Are humans emotions a fad? What aspects of character rebel against hysteria? What ones secretly crave for drama and uproar?
      What does it take for tradition to take a nose dive? Does it pose a threat to safety of judgment and choice?

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  43. @Klarissa-
    I agree that Abigail is mainly at fault. However, another character that holds a lot of blame is Danforth because of his pride and greed for power. Danforth doesn't allow "not a single plea of postponement" (p129) even though it could cost innocent lives. His pride leads him to not believe that he could be wrong, and he just wants to show his authority over other people. He accepts proof that isn't concrete.

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  44. @Rebekah
    The people of Salem had found the power to be able to control people and they liked it. They liked being able to control others. They also felt obligated to try these other people, such as danforth says on page 129 "You misunderstand, sir; I cannot pardon these when twelve are already hanged for the same crime. It is not just."

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  45. Klarissa, I think Abby left because she was afraid of what would happen after this was all over. She knew she had a big role is deciding who was accused and who wasn't accused. She probably could not deal with all the emotions people would have when this ended. She had made so many lies to cover up for herself. She also played the innocent girl. "My name is good in the village! I will not have it said my name is soiled!" At this point we already knew she had an affair with Proctor. That was just the beginning of the lies. She couldn't keep up with them and wouldn't let herself be shunned so she left.

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  46. Individual judgement plays a huge role in this act because Proctor goes back and forth between staying alive and letting himself die. On page 143 it says, "Proctor: I have confessed myself! Is there no good pentience but it be public? God does not need my name nailed upon the church! God sees my name; God knows how black my sins are! It is enough!" Proctor came to the point of realization that no one else's opinion matters, his actions only matter in front of God. He was hard on himself for awhile because of the affair with Abigail, but he eventually learned to move on from it. In the end, John realized that he is in fact a good man. Do you think that Proctor made the right decision to die?

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  47. The people are at fault for what happened. The people of Salem should mostly be blamed. I don't think that the cultural hysteria should be an excuse for those people. I think that them being as ignorant as they were makes the situation even worse. The fact that the whole town was thinking that the next name "mentioned by the devil" was the next put to trial. I think so many people were accused because of all those who were just finding scapegoats. THAT is why i think that the town shouldn't have "cultural hysteria" as their scapegoat or excuse. "I saw Goody Sibber with the devil!" "I saw Alice Barrow with the devil!" "I saw...Goody Bibber...Goody Hawkins...Goody Booth!" because of all these girls yelling out names to get them out of being accused, all those people had to go to trial.

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  48. @Andrew
    I think it is Abigail and Abigail only to blame. It is true that the girls copied her, however, they all knew that she drank blood but she threatened them not to talk on page 20, "...I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you." So she did threaten them to play along and not call out that they were making charms.

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  49. Class, how can the crucible be related to the new phrase that many people are saying "YOLO" (you only live once)? What processes do the characters have to go through to decide to go with what they believe in or keep their lives? How much do they value their lives?

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    1. That is a good point Sam, I never thought of it that way before!!

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    2. What a great way to connect the real world to the text. Thinking of things in our modern day society can help analyze and understand our reading. Wonderful though.

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    3. Wow...I never thought of it that way before, way to relate to people our age Sam, good connection!

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    4. Good thought Sam, I love it. Relating and bringing into modern perspective!

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  50. Anne- I completely agree. The fact that people would turn their closest friends to keep themselves out of trouble is a pretty emotional topic,too. I can't even imagine sending my sister to jail even though she didn't do anything because I was afraid of what might happen to me! How far does something like this have to go to make us inhumane? What defines a really community from that of people like those in The Crucible or even in Salem during the actual Salem Witch Hunt?

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  51. 1. I think that is is difficult to pinpoint who exactly is to blame because everyone had a role in how these events escalated. It is sort of like trying to figure out which came first: the chicken or the egg? In this situation, cultural hysteria could have caused individuals to escalate the situation, however, individual's actions could have caused cultural hysteria. It is a vicious cycle. On page 7, Arthur Miller says, "The witch-hunt was not, however, a mere repression...under the cover if the accusations against the victims...One could not ordinarily speak of such things in public." Miller is explaining how people of Salem used the witch trials as an excuse to "dismiss" their sins, and that they accused to lessen their chances of being accused. This reveals blame on both cultural hysteria and individual fault. The townspeople were afraid of being punished of their sins (some of which didn't relate to witchcraft) because of their anxiety and hysteria. On the other hand, the individuals are guilty because they accused and made an avalanche out of a snowball. On page 47, after Tituba accuses Goody Osburn, Mrs. Putnam says, "I knew it! Goody...my babies always shriveled in her hands!" Mrs. Putnam is saying how she always thought that Goody Osburn was a witch because she believes that she killed her children. This also reveals blame on both sides. Witchcraft caused cultural hysteria, and because of it Tituba accused someone else to help remove herself from the spotlight, and this in turn got Mrs. Putnam and many others wound up. Were there any other factors that played a role in blame? Are there any other possibilities?
    2. As I read this act, the part that evoked the most emotion was on page 143 when Proctor says, "Because it is my name...I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" I felt bad for Proctor. He gave up everything to benefit his loved ones and the town kept asking for more. He was level-headed and wise throughout the play, so it was upsetting to see him suffer so much. Did he deserve it?
    3. Individual judgement is very important in this act. On page 142 Proctor says, "I have confessed myself...It is enough!" He is saying how he doesn't need the public to see his confession nailed to the church door because the town would harshly judge him and he would lose his name. This is significant because he tried throughout the entire play to keep his name, while others just confessed to save their own lives. Even though Proctor would be hanged, and the town would know that he confessed, but he didn't want the entire town to see his name admitting to committing sins on the church door. No one else in the town had to do that, so people would notice his reputation stand out among the others. Was this a wise decision?

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  52. @REBEKAH!

    It continues because in the society, everyone believes that children are perfect angels who could never do anything bad. They probably thought he was lying when he accused Abigail. Also, peoples' grudges made them want to see their enemies harmed. Goody Putnam made sure that Sarah Good and Sarah Osbourn were accused because she blamed them for the death of her children. Putnam wanted Jacob's land, so he made his daughter accuse him. Abby accused Elizabeth because she loved John.

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  53. Rebekah-
    I agree Danforth shares a lot of the blame. He used the power of suggestion to further implicate others. When Proctor "confessed" Danforth required that he implicate another person of witchcraft in order to keep the witch hunt going.
    "You have most certainly seen some person with the devil.", he says. This shows that Danforth want this witch-hunt to continue. Why does Danforth, a un-biased Boston judge, want to implicate as many people as he can?

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  54. I think that the thing that evoked the most emotion in me was the relationship between Elizabeth and John Proctor. I think that what caused this emotion is the idea behind it. I think that the real meaning of this relationship is to illustrate that love prevails evil. As cliche as this sounds, I really do believe that this can be a strong point of what Miller is trying to say. On page 138 Elizabeth states that she will not judge John on his decision. This shows that even if she disagrees with her husband choices she will still love him no matter what. Why is it so hard to accept that other people's choices in society? Why can we not just accept them for who they are without trying to change them?

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    1. @Klarissa
      I think that the reason why society has a hard time with accepting people because our society wants people to be the same. The same, meaning not identical but generally the same because the fear to be different is too great for some people. It is easier to look into a crowd of people and see others wearing the same thing that you are rather than having everyone stare at you because you are different. Whether it be because you act different, or look different.

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  55. @Sam. I think that YOLO doesn't really apply to The Crucible because the Puritan society thinks that they need to live this life good so that God will save them for their next life. However, it does bring up a good point because people like Giles knew they only had one life, and he wanted to make sure he stayed true for his whole life. On pg. 135, Mrs. Proctor explains how Giles would not confess, and instead said, "more weight."

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  56. Casey, I remember doing the research before we started reading and it said that the town people were not sure why this happened. For those few months nobody knew what took over them. Now it will the be the calm after the storm while everybody reflects on what has happened. There are always consequences after mass hysteria.

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  57. @ class
    I think that the Devil HAS manifested in Salem. No, not in the form of witches, but in the form of neighbors turning against neighbors, greed for power, accusations, and hysteria. This is shown when Proctor says " A fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be a fraud- God damns our kind especially, and we will burn!" (p120). The biggest part of the Devil in Salem is the part of the men that know the witches to be a fraud but do nothing to stop the hunt.
    How does the Devil manifest in society, either today or in Salem?

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    1. Rebekah,
      In today's society, deceit and gaining at someone's loss are prominent factors in aspects such as business, social connections, and economical advancement. We've become a culture of such that has flip flopped with phrases like, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." With the value of self rising, and the value of charity, community, and the value of true connection declining. I feel that everyone at some point exudes not the devil, but poor morals, values, and judgment they bring into the world with them and affect other people with. The desensitization of so many things today make us numb to the growing amount of good will that is seen today.

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    2. Rebekah,
      What a great point! I love that you say, "The biggest part of the Devil in Salem is the part of the men that know the witches to be a fraud but do nothing to stop the hunt." I know in today's society this happens everyday. Throughout my life I've heard people say that the bigger bullies are the ones who see it happening and don't do anything about it. I'm not excusing the behavior of the townspeople of Salem and the events that occurred, but I think that the Devil in this situation is so prominent and powerful that the people are too scared to do anything. It all goes back to fear. The Devil in Salem gains it's power through fear, and it is what prevents people to do anything.

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    3. Society doesn't seem to be much different today based on poor behavior of many people, so why do you think that people continue to act this way even though there are many events in history with a dramatic ending that have a lesson to learn?

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    4. The devil manifests in society today through people's actions and thoughts. Today everyone is so worried about their status and how others view them. They become selfish and turn against their neighbors - like what occurred in Salem. I believe it is the greed inside people that shows the devil.

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  58. @Klarissa
    I can see ways that Abigail can be blamed, but I can also see how she wouldn't be blamed. Some could argue that because of her initial actions, others suffered. But I think it's more of a chicken/egg scenario. Abigail was under a lot of pressure caused by society. They were telling her to confess to witchcraft herself, and she responded in the same way others did. She confessed. She may have exaggerated excessively, but she still responded in a way that would save her from persecution.

    So I ask you, which came first, Abigail causing hysteria, or hysteria causing her actions?

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  59. Trevor, that is an excellent point, like a really good one, great job. I believe that all of the blame for this event could be placed on Abigail. If we look at the court, everything that Abigail does is mirrored by the other girls, " Abigail- now she takes a backward step, as though in fear the bird will swoop down momentarily: Oh, please, Mary! Don't come down. Susanna Walcott: her claws, she's stretching her claws!" This is on page 114 if you're wondering. The entire court case has the girls copying Abby in order to implicate Mary. Do you think the other girls can be blamed at all for what occurred? Can all the blame be place on Abby?

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  60. What do you think kept urging Abigail on? Did she ever think that maybe she should give up the act? Did she realize that she should give it up at the point that she ran away?

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    1. I think Abigail was urged on by her own thoughts. She probably figured if she kept blaming people and made her story seem as true as possible it would turn the suspicion off her for dancing in the woods. When you look at the entire play her plan worked. By the end it was all about finding the witches and not questioning how they knew witches were present. Perhaps she left because she knew she would never be questioned and left when a clear exit was possible.

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  61. @Rebekah
    I didn't really ever think about Danforth for some reason. Thank you for bringing up that point. I think that he really is to blame too! I think that he is so power hungry that he often over looks the true importance of the decisions he is making. Do you think that Danforth helped to prompt the girls into continuing their hysteria?

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  62. @Sam

    Well I think the opposite. You only live once, so wouldn't you want to be remembered as the one who stood up for the innocent people and your own concience instead of going down in history as one of the meek souls who bent to the will of others and lied to save themselves? John Proctor is remembered as a hero, and Tituba is forever known as the one who lied and sold others out even though they were innocent just to save herself.

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  63. Sam: I believe that the accused faced a decision not about how much they valued their lives, but rather about how much they valued their faith and beliefs. If this was greater than what they saw in life, then they would choose to face death. If not, then they would choose to continue their lives. Hale describes the latter opinion in a fervor, stating, "Life, woman, is God's most precious gift; no principle, however glorious, may justify the taking of it" (p.132). In the modern world, has society built up a greater value of life since this time?

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  64. Sam- I think that the characters in the The Crucible actually stuck to their beliefs pretty accurately. During the times of this hunt, I would've lived by the phrase YOLO, too! I mean Proctor, for example, knew he was going to die in the end, so he stuck to his gut. I think that it takes a tragic event to really shape a person and help them realize that it's true, you only live once. Especially in Puritan culture, the people really valued their lives. Think about if you knew your life was on the line? What would you do differently? How would your view on life change?

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    1. Joey,
      It is scary to think about what I would do if my life was on the line. I don't like making last minute decisions, or big decisions for that matter. I would probably change my mind many times, similar to Proctor. On page 144 in the stage directions it says, "His breast heaving, his eyes staring, Proctor tears the paper and crumples it, and he is weeping in fury, but erect." Proctor changed his mind too, and I think it was a wise decision because he went knowing that he was an honest man. I think that when it comes down to it, I would rather go down like that as opposed to living knowing that I lied. What is your opinion on what Proctor did? Would you consider him a hero, possibly?

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  65. Ms. Comp
    To respond to the second question, I would conclude that the ending had the most affect on me when we find out that Abigail has vanished away from Salem. The thing that got me most emotion wise was the fact that they had disappeared and all Paris cared about was the fact that they took all of his money and had no worry about where she would go, and if she would be okay. "'They are both gone?!' 'They are sir.' 'I will send a party for them. Where may they be?' 'Excellency, I think they be aboard a ship. My daughter tells me how she heard them speaking of ships last week, and tonight I discover my-- my strongbox is broke into.' 'She have robbed you?' 'Thirty-one pound is gone. I am penniless.'" (Miller 126) He then goes onto sob and cover his face. How does this show the true relationship of Parris and Abigail? How does relationship reflect the motif of reputation, control, and hysteria being spread throughout the town? What is the difference in relationships today and in the time of the Salem witch trials? Finally, why is it that people let reputation come before family or love?

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  66. I believe that the witch trials were the thought of the individuals, such as Abby. Because of her accusations, the whole village was brought into the game that Abby had created. She deceived the whole village. Because of her, the entire village began to blame each other, even their own neighbors such as Mr. Jacobs. Even though Abby had known him for her whole life, her greed and her want for revenge overpowered her knowledge that Mr. Jacobs was a good man. While in some cases lying can help a situation, I think that the entire event could have been avoided had Abby had came out and told Mr. Parris what had happened.

    What evoked the most emotion in me was the death of John Proctor. Not only was he able to come to terms with his wife, he was willing to die in order to be an honest man, and not to confess to something that he didnt do.

    Individual judgement played a very large role in how the events turned out. Mr. Parris judging the girls for what they did in the forest,Elizabeth judging John for his affair with Abby, and Abby judging John Proctor for John refuting his love for her.


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  67. 3) Individual judgement plays a major role in this play. Proctor says "Because its my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on my feet of them to hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" (Miller 143). Proctor doesn't want to sign a paper because he knows that it will taint his name in the town. When people know that he has confessed then they will never be able to look at him the same because they will judge him for what he has done and he will never have the same clean name that he once had, it will always be tainted.

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  68. Andrew-
    You cannot place all the blame on Abby. Even though she has tremendous power, technically Danforth has more power. If he thought the whole act was a lie, he would have stopped it. But he didn't. The town could have overthrown the court as well if Abby held all the power. They wouldn't have put up with her if her accusations didn't cause fear. Abby might have the majority of the blame and even the majority of the power but she does not have all. If she did, someone would have overthrown her.

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  69. @Trevor
    I think that the thing that kept urging Abigail on was her hunger for power. I know that this is a common theme - however, I do think that this is the main reason that she continued in her hysteria. Another interesting thing that I just thought of is that it is mentioned that she has lost both of her parents. This can relate all the way back the article Unnatural Killers. I think that some of her decisions are done out of pain. Do you think that this justifies what she did in any means?

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  70. As i read this act the character Hale spoke the most to me. He has changed and shifted sides drastically through out the The Crucible, he was introduced by immediately pushing the idea of witchcraft, but in the end he side with Proctor and that all the accusations and the issue itself was false. " i came into this village like a bridegroom to his beloved, bearing gifts of high religion; the very crowns of holy law, it died; and where i turned the eye of my great faith, blood flowed up"(pg 132) Hale understands the flaw of the system and his inferiority he had with his religion, and now that because he helped push all the witchhunts in to motion, he feel guilty. He has taken the part of the guilt of all these action, and this stood out to me, because he was one of the few people that owned up to the part he took, and the deaths he helped cause. Hale changed and that stood out to me as him improving and finding truth.

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  71. I think that the events of the Salem Witch trials were influenced by individuals and their unique situations, but also by the culture. I don't think that we can pin down someone or something specific to entirely blame for the hysteria. It all starts with people in Salem searching for answers. At the very beginning of the book Susanna tells Parris " Aye, sir, he have been searchin' his books since he left you, sir. But he bid me to tell you, that you might look to unnatural things for the cause of it". They want to figure out what is causing Betty to act so strangely, and when they can't figure anything out, it appears to them as witchcraft. Based on their beliefs and experiences, the strange events that had recently happened truly convince them that their misfortunes are actions of the devil.
    I thought it was interesting when Proctor says " I have three children-how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?". To him, it was more important to uphold his morals and be sentenced to death. He could have easily lied, but instead he choose to stick with his beliefs, as an individual and as a father.
    An example of individual judgment is when Proctor says "I speak my own sins, I cannot judge another". By refusing to accuse anyone else of being a witch, he is sticking to his morals. He knows what he has done wrong, but he will always be burdened with his actions. In that moment, he has an important choice to make. He had to evaluate himself and his situation to make the choice for himself, especially because the choice involved life or death.
    When is it worth living with great guilt?
    How important is it to always stick with your beliefs?

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  72. @Colleen #2
    I do believe that Proctor had something coming to him for committing not only lechery but also statutory rape. The thought of karma is strong with what happened to Proctor. He did try his hardest to make it up to her, but in the end it was her love for him and wanting to keep his name led to his sentence.

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  73. @ Klarissa
    I think that although Danforth let the girls get away with the accusations, he didn't prompt them with their hysteria. The girls, specifically Abigail, were at fault for the accusations. Danforth just acted on those accusations which let the girls continue to call out witches.

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  74. @ Rebekah
    I think it happened gradually. Over time, people simmered down and realized exactly what had happened. "I wish to God it were not so, Excellency, but these people have great weight yet in the town." (page 127) When John Proctor and Rebecca have a much bigger influence than others that have been hanged. When the people in the town see this, the town will hopefully wake up and realize what has been going on.

    How long does it take for a society to change their ways?

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  75. Trevor: Abagail was drawn by the power and influence she had in the society, when she saw that she could manipulate them. However, by the end of the trials, she realized that a notion of disdain was being placed on her name, and that was why she left. Parris hints at this when describing her departure, saying, "Mark it, sir, Abigail had close knowledge of the town, and since the new of Andover was broken here-" (p.127). He shows that Abigail had developed a guilt for her actions, and realized that others would soon realize that she was to blame as well. What was the tipping point that caused the society to realize the outrageousness of the trials?

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  76. Sanjay- I believe that the world has brought down the value of life. When we hear about someones death fro example, we dont think much about it, because it usually doesnt affect us directly. When we think about the wars that have happened over the last century, and the astronomical amount of deaths that have occured, we again dont pay much attention to it. Our society has become desensitized to death, because of all the wars and cultural clashes that have happened in recent years.

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  77. I think that everyone has a role to play in this "Blame Game." It all started with Parris trying to cover up the fact that his daughter and niece danced in the woods and it snowballed from there. The first step to where this situation went wrong is when Parris's brother in law, Mr. Putnam, convinced him to be the say that witchcraft existed in Salem. "You are not undone! Let you take hold here. Wait for no one to charge you- declare it yourself. You have discovered witchcraft," (Miller, 16). The townspeople can also be to blame because they decided to trust in the wrong people and Salem's reputation was destroyed by this event.
    I would say that the ending evoked the most emotion out of me because when Elizabeth is letting Proctor die with his goodness or honor I connected to it because honor is important when you die. Honor and your legacy is what you leave behind, your honor is how you are remembered by your friends, your family, and your peers. "Show honor now, show a stony heart and sink them with it! (Miller, 144). Proctor's honor is what he left behind and I have a feeling that he will be remembered by it.
    Individual judgment plays a major role in this play because had Abigail Williams not have a lot of power inside of the courthouse no towns person would have died. "Abigail brings the girls into the court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea of Israel. And folks are brought before them, and if they scream and howl and fall to the floor-the person's clapped in the jail for bewitchin' them." (Miller, 52-53). Abigail had too much power and innocent people paid the ultimate price.
    If Abigail truly loved Proctor, why did she let him go to jail and why did she leave one week before he hanged? Did she know his fate?

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  78. The overall fault cannot be pinpointed, everyone taking their inner fears playing one of the most famous blame games. The cultural hysteria is partially justified by the fact that this incident put on trial their whole lifestyle of existence. This is explained by the breaking of charity between people seen on (Pg. 71) "Hale: There is a misty plot aloof so…." This quote explains while in fact, there are individuals that have set the groundwork for the hysteria and insecurity, the townspeople are responsibly for taking out their inner suspicion and creating a new behavior for the culture to follow.
    What does it take for tradition and rules to become uprooted?
    How can a society give power to problems we want to end? What does the manifestation of fear give power to things we try to abolish?
    Abigail as an individual was able exploit the fear to a level in which people judged the worth of another's life based off of his word. The quote that explained Abigail's actions the clearest is on pg 110 "Proctor: A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything…" This shows John’s fear of bringing out the most basic human nature trait of survival, and self-protection.
    Authoritative figures do unjust to the system by quotes pg 30 "Parris: There is either obedience, or the church will burn like Hell is burning!" This quote shows the fear of authority in the own falling of their village. The townspeople put all their hope in a fellow human being that is being micro-analyzed to try and bring justice; thus creating human error and bias towards a problem that was much bigger that they could fix.
    As seen on pg 132 "Hale. Let you not mistake your duty as I mistook my own..." This quote is evidence of the insecurity and unjust behavior illustrated by authoritative figures. Their morals were ruptured on account of in the end, having to please the bloodthirsty crowd of Salem.
    Should past actions of others be held to future problems? Does our society tend to keep up with people's failures instead of successes?
    In turn, do other peoples' actions give us power over them?
    2.) The most emotion packed quote was, (Pg. 144) "Proctor, his eyes full of tears: I can. And there's your first marvel, that I can...." In the end he kept his morals about him and would rather sacrifice his life than feed into the madness of betrayal and accusation. I like how he almost de-humanizes the characters of the village. Not giving them pain and suffering to feed off of, not giving them something to be satisfied with.
    Is John accurate in portraying that their society had become dogs?
    Is there a need to be wary of friendship? What events make us second-guess relationships? Should we have to?
    3.) Judgment showed in the strength of values, and what is worth sacrificing to certain individuals. As seen here, "Hale: It is mistaken law that leads you to sacrifice...” The significance of individual judgment is that the stronger you held onto your beliefs and values, the more it might make you a target to social pressure and condemnation.
    Is there a price on life? Does the other people or your definition of success define your worth?
    What values are worth fighting for? Of what value is worldly pride?

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  79. Personally, the part that evoked the most emotion in me was when Proctor, in the end, was confessing in order to save his life, "Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" (Miller 143). I felt like this was the last straw for Proctor; he was willing to confess up until he was asked to name others and sign his own name. He has already confessed to having an affair and now to have his name dirtied more by signing his confession of witchcraft would be unbearable to him. Although he was a calm and proud man for most of the play, he is now pleading with Danforth, something that to me; seems completely out of character for him.
    Individual judgment plays a huge role in this play. One example is when John says "I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it." (Miller 141). John refuses to condemn anyone else, especially not his friends or someone like Rebecca Nurse, who is likely one of the most faithful people in Salem. He realizes that he is flawed and has sinned when he tells Elizabeth "My honesty is broke, Elizabeth; I am no good man," but in the end he refuses to sink as low as hurting someone else just to save himself. Even though he has a child on the way and a family to care for, he still stays true to his values in spite of the fact that he is giving himself up to die by doing so. John realizes that he cannot judge another when he is flawed himself, and therefore refuses to name names or judge any of his friends and possibly accuse them of witchcraft in the process.

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    1. Colleen R.
      I completely agree with you that Proctor's character dramatically changed in the fourth act. In the end he dies with his honor which is something that I admire. Proctor's love for his wife Elizabeth reoccurs throughout the play until his last words. If Proctor lived through the witch trials than what would the townspeople do? If Proctor wasn't condemned to hang would Abigail still remain in Salem?

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  80. No one person is blame in this act, or even in this play. Fingers are pointed at whoever came to mind first. The town turned its back on each other when in fact they needed each other most. When blame didn't work, which was rare, they said they were the victim. The part that evoked the most emotion in me was on page 129 while Danforth was explaining that he could not postpone the hanging. I just couldn't help but feel anger towards Danforth and his arrogance towards the town and the fact that he only cares about his reputation. Individual judgement is shows when Parris compares characters to others on page 127, "...Rebecca Nurse is no Bridget...John Proctor is not Isaac Ward..." They judge people based on others and decide what kind of person they are based on other peoples' views.

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  81. @Class
    How do you think The Crucible relates to today? How has the "breaking of charity" and ipso facto been brought to light in today's society?

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  82. Ms. Comp
    In answer of the last question, it is true to say that Proctor is the main example in self judgement. The hardest decision in his life was placed before him because he had to decide between showing integrity and being hung for not confessing falsely or take sin with him to his grave and pretend that he was part of witchcraft in order to save himself from being hung. When Elizabeth says, "' He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!'" (Miller 145) she was overlooking that Proctor was going to die, and put self judgment by him above all. She realized that that was what he had to do and not condemn to the Devil for the sake of his life.

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  83. @Joanna
    i think that if my life was on the line, I would live by "YOLO". If I was going to be put to death in order to stay a truthful man, or have my life be spared and know that I was a lier, I think I would choose death, just as John Proctor did on page 144, where he was making his decision,""His breast heaving, his eyes staring, Proctor tears the paper and crumples it, and he is weeping in fury, but erect". He knew that he was going to be killed, but wished to stay true to his beliefs, so he did not lie, and chose death.

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  84. Casey
    You asked what it takes for a society to change their ways and my response would be that first of all, it takes everyone to join into a new tradition or way of cultural for the snow ball to pick up and get rolling. I would say though that for that to happen, you need one person to come up with an idea that makes people satisfied. A society won't change to a particular way if no one likes it. Finally, not only does it take people to start the change, but it takes dedication because a society is a large group of people, and you will always have people who don't approve of change and will veto it.

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  85. The blame for what happened cannot be placed on one person’s shoulders. It is a combination of the actions shown by Abigail, Betty, Hale, and Parris to start. Later the hysteria overtook the whole town making them all at fault. Throughout the play Hale and Danforth were instigators, feeding names to those accusing. On page 140 Danforth is questioning Proctor and asks, “Did you ever see her sister, Mary Easty, with the Devil? …Did you ever see Martha Corey with the Devil?” This shows he takes part of the blame by picking women to question and possibly accuse of witchcraft. The actions are caused by cultural hysteria. Everyone was trying to save their own name or those of their loved ones; this caused false blame which all the townsfolk are responsible for. On page 141 Proctor states, “They think to go like saints. I like not to spoil their names.” Proctor chose to take the blame whereas earlier in the play Tituba was quick to agree to the names thrown at her. As I read this act Proctor evoked the most emotion in me. As previously mentioned on page 140 Proctor chose not to blame his neighbors. He volunteered to have his life taken in place for the women in town and his wife. This shows great courage and a strong, decent character. Individual judgment is shown in this act through Proctor’s actions. He chose to falsely confess to witchcraft in the place of his wife.

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