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The Crucible Act 2 Questions

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  • 0:00 Act 1: Let's Recap
  • 0:36 Act 2: Scene 1, Lies…
  • 2:26 Act 2: Scene 2, The Trial
  • 3:54 Act 2: Scene 2, Suspicions
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Instructor: Wendy A. Garland

Wendy has a Ph.D. in Adult Education and a Master's Degree in Business Management. She has 10 years experience working in higher education.

This lesson contains questions from Act 2 of Arthur Miller's play The Crucible. These questions are aimed at helping students achieve a better understanding of the act and will be organized by theme.

Act 1: Let's Recap

In Act 1 of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, Rev. Parris discovers his daughter Betty, as well as her friend Abigail and Tituba, his slave, acting strangely in the woods. Word of witchcraft spreads throughout the town, but all the girls deny doing any witchcraft. Rev. Parris calls in Rev. Hale, who is well versed in all manners of witchcraft, to investigate further. During his investigation, Tituba accuses some of the townsfolk of being in the service of the devil and manipulating the girls. Because of this, Rev. Hale orders their arrest.

Act 2: Scene 1, Lies and Mistrust

While working with students on Act 2, Scene 1, consider using these questions to evaluate student comprehension of the lies and mistrust that are taking place in the play:

  • Where has Mary Warren gone? Why?

Mary Warren, the Proctors' servant, is caught up in all of the excitement of the witch trials, and has gone to see them, even though Elizabeth Proctor had forbid her from doing so.

  • Who is on trial? Why?

Fourteen people, who Abigail and the other girls named during one of their episodes, have been arrested and are on trial for demonically possessing the girls. Anyone they name during their trances is accused of witchcraft and arrested.

  • What is the court going to do to the fourteen accused of witchcraft?

If the accused do not confess to being witches, then they will be hanged for the crime of witchcraft.

  • What does John Proctor tell his wife Elizabeth as they have dinner?

John says he cannot believe the chaos and excitement over the trials, and tells Elizabeth that Abigail told him that the girls' dancing in the woods had nothing to do with witchcraft.

  • After hearing this, what does Elizabeth want John to do? Why?

Elizabeth wants John to go to the trials and tell the court what Abigail told him last night, that the girls' accusations are a sham, so innocent people will not be executed.

  • What does John say in response? Why?

John says he does not want to get involved in all the craze, even though he knows he should go. But his main reason is that he has no way of proving the girls' lies since he was alone with Abigail when she told him about their activities in the woods.

  • What is Elizabeth's unexpected reaction to what John has just told her? What is John's response?

Elizabeth suddenly loses all trust in her husband, once she hears that he was alone with Abigail. John tells her to stop judging him and making him feel as if he, too, is in a courtroom. Elizabeth responds by saying his heart is his true courtroom.

Act 2: Scene 2, The Trial

Use these questions when working on understanding Act 2, Scene 2 and the trial that ensues:

  • What does Mary give Elizabeth when she returns from the trials?

After returning from watching the trials, Mary gives Elizabeth a poppet, something akin to a doll, which she had made as she sat as a witness during the trial. She tells her that it is a gift.

  • How many people are now accused?

Mary reports that when she left, there were 39 people on trial, accused of witchcraft.

  • What do John and Mary argue about after she returns from the trials?

John tells Mary she should stay home and work instead of going to the trials. He says her attendance in court will make him more involved in a trial which is not even just, and threatens to whip Mary if she insists on going back to the trials.

  • What shocking fact does Mary reveal in response to John's threat?

Mary says that she saved Elizabeth's life that day, because her name was on the list of those accused of witchcraft, and she spoke out in her defense. John tells Mary to go to bed, but she demands he stop bossing her around.

  • Whom does Elizabeth suspect of accusing her? Why?

Elizabeth suspects Abigail as her accuser because she wants to get rid of Elizabeth, marry John, and take her place in her home.

  • Why is Sarah Good accused of witchcraft?

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