The Crucible Act 4 Questions

Instructor: Sunday Moulton

Sunday earned a PhD in Anthropology and has taught college courses in Anthropology, English, and high school ACT/SAT Prep.

Explore thought-provoking questions about Act 4 of Arthur Miller's ''The Crucible'' to enhance comprehension and understanding of the play. Use these questions to investigate events, character analyses, and themes within the play. Updated: 12/22/2021


In Act 3 of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, John and Mary tried to save Elizabeth from death by revealing many truths about themselves and the girls. However, the girls refused to confess, and John was arrested when Mary, confused and scared, sided with the girls and accused John of being the devil's minion.

Disrepair and Despair

  • Why has Rev. Hale returned to Salem?

That autumn, Danforth and Hathorne visit Rev. Parris to find out why Rev. Hale has returned to Salem after condemning and quitting the court during the trials, fearing trouble. Rev. Parris, gaunt and sickly, reassures them that Rev. Hale has only returned to convince the prisoners who have refused to confess to do so and save their lives.

  • What has happened to Abigail since the trials?

Rev. Parris reveals to Danforth and Hathorne that Abigail and Mercy Lewis robbed him and then vanished into the night.

  • What does Rev. Hale want Danforth and Hathorne to do? Why do they refuse?

Rev. Hale, himself haggard and pained, begs Danforth and Hathorne to pardon the seven remaining prisoners since they refuse to confess. However, Danforth says that if they do so, not only will they appear to have wrongly jailed people but also wrongly hanged the 12 already executed.

  • In response to their refusal to free the remaining prisoners, of what does Rev. Hale warn Danforth and Hathorne?

Rev. Hale warns the men that their refusal is inviting rebellion and unrest in Salem. Because so many people have been either summoned to court, jailed, or hanged, Salem has fallen into a sorry state. Cattle run loose, farms go unattended and crops rot, and children wander about without any adult supervision. Salem is literally falling apart.

  • What has happened in nearby Andover?

Rev. Hale tells everyone that faced with similar circumstances, the people of nearby Andover rebelled against the town officials and overthrew them.

  • What does Rev. Hale mean when he says ''There is blood on my head''?

Rev. Hale feels guilty about condemning people he hardly knew and signing their death warrants during the trials, especially now that he realizes what really is going on in Salem.

In Spite of Death

  • What does Danforth hope Elizabeth will do?

Rev. Hale has not yet spoken to John, and Danforth hopes that Elizabeth can persuade him to confess to witchcraft. Elizabeth agrees to do so, but makes no promises.

  • What has happened to Giles Corey?

Elizabeth is left alone with John to try and convince him to confess. But before she does so, she tells John that almost 100 people have confessed, but Giles Corey was not among them. He refused to enter a plea when charged by the court so that his farm would go to his sons.

But, in order to force him to enter a plea, Giles was tortured through pressing (a great, heavy stone was put on his chest). However, Giles kept refusing to enter a plea even as more weight was added, which became too heavy and crushed him to death. His last defiant words, Elizabeth says, were ''More Weight.''

Death, Not Lies

  • How does Elizabeth convince John to confess to witchcraft?

John asks Elizabeth whether or not he should confess. Elizabeth reminds him that his refusal to confess is out of sheer spite, rather that religious conviction, like Rebecca and Martha. John reluctantly agrees to sign a confession.

  • Why does Cheever want John to wrote out his confession?

Both Hathorne and Danforth are ecstatic that John finally wants to confess, and Cheever grabs pen and paper for John to write it out. John asks why he has to write his confession down instead of simply saying it, to which Danforth replies that it will be hung on the church door.

  • Why is Rebecca brought in with John? What happens as a result?

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