The Crucible

Characters (in order of appearance)

Reverend Samuel Parris
The minister of Salem. A former merchant, Parris is obsessed with his reputation and frequently complains that the village does not pay him enough, earning him a great deal of scorn. When the trials begin, he is appointed as a prosecutor and helps convict the majority of those accused of witchcraft. Towards the end of the play, he is betrayed by his niece Abigail and begins receiving death threats from angry relatives of the condemned. (In real life, Parris left Salem in 1696, the year his wife, Elizabeth, died. He found his situation untenable. Records in the Suffolk Deeds indicate it likely he returned to business in Boston in 1697. He preached two or three years at Stow. He moved to Concord in 1704 or 1705. He also preached six months in Dunstable in 1711. He died on February 27, 1720, in Sudbury, where he had spent his last years. In 1699 he had remarried, to Dorothy Noyes, in Sudbury.)
The Parris family slave, Tituba was brought by Parris from Barbados when he moved to Salem and has served him since. Using her knowledge of herbs and magic, she has been secretly helping Abigail and her friends make love potions, and even conducts a seance on behalf of Ann Putnam. After being framed for witchcraft, she confesses and is subsequently imprisoned with Sarah Good. By the fourth act, she has been driven mad by the harsh conditions and her ending is unknown.
Abigail Williams
The main antagonist of the play.[7] Abigail previously worked as a maid for Elizabeth Proctor. After Elizabeth suspected Abigail of having an illicit relationship with John Proctor, Williams was fired and disgraced. Using her status as Parris's niece to her advantage, she accuses countless citizens of witchcraft, becoming one of the most powerful people in Salem. Eventually, she flees Salem with her uncle's fortune rather than face the consequences of her actions.
Susanna Walcott
A servant girl and part of Abigail's inner circle.
Ann Putnam
A rich and well-connected member of Salem's elite. She has one daughter, Ruth (in real life, Ann Putnam, Jr.), but has lost seven other children to illness. Believing witches to be responsible, she eagerly sides with Abigail. (In real life, Ann Putnam (née Carr) had twelve children, ten of whom survived their parents, who both died in 1699).
Thomas Putnam
One of the richest men in Salem. He is greedy and conniving, using the accusations as cover to purchase land seized from convicted witches.
Betty Parris
The ten-year-old daughter of Samuel Parris and one of the primary accusers.
Mercy Lewis
Another primary accuser. In the fourth act, she flees with Abigail to avoid arrest for deceiving the court.
Mary Warren
The Proctor family's servant. She initially helps John, but later turns on him to save herself.
John Proctor
The play's protagonist and husband of Elizabeth Proctor. A local farmer, John is known for his independence and temper, which often gets him into trouble with the authorities. Contemporary notes describe him as a "strong-willed beast of a man".[8] Shamed by an affair with Abigail, John tries to stay out of the trials, but when Elizabeth is charged, he tries to reveal Abigail's deception in court. Betrayed by his maid Mary Warren, John is accused of witchcraft and sentenced to hang. He refuses to confess out of anger towards the court, but ultimately relents. After learning that his confession will likely drive his wife and children into disrepute, he decides to instead admit guilt. He is finally hanged along with several other convicted witches.
(The real John Proctor was also an innkeeper as well as a farmer, and was aged 60 when executed; Elizabeth was his third wife. He was strongly and vocally opposed to the witch trials from their beginning, being particularly scornful of spectral evidence used in the trials. As in the play, Elizabeth was accused of practicing witchcraft and arrested before John. Unlike the play, John maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal. He was hanged in August, 1692.)[8]
Giles Corey
A close friend of Proctor's. He becomes convinced that the trials are being used to steal land from the guilty and presents evidence to prove his claim. When the court demands to know where he obtained it, he refuses to cooperate and is sentenced to be pressed to death. (The character is based on a real person of the same name, who was also pressed when he would not plead guilty to charges of witchcraft.)
Rebecca Nurse
Although an elderly, respected member of the community, she is sentenced to death on charges of witchcraft (and, in the play, infanticide). (In real life, the jury initially acquitted Nurse but were ordered by William Stoughton to deliberate further. One of her two sisters, Mary Easty (or Eastey), was also hanged for witchcraft in real life, and the other, Sarah Cloyce, narrowly escaped.)
Reverend John Hale
A young minister from Beverly, Massachusetts, known for his knowledge of witchcraft. He starts out as a fervent and devoted servant of the court, using his position to investigate and charge suspected witches. Disillusioned with the corruption and abuses of the trials, he later tries to save as many suspects as possible by getting them to confess. (In reality, Hale was in his mid-fifties when the witch trials commenced.)
Elizabeth Proctor
John's wife. She is also accused of witchcraft, but is spared the death penalty due to being pregnant. She distrusts her husband for his adultery, but eventually chooses to forgive him when he refuses to confess to false charges.
Ezekiel Cheever
The clerk of Salem's General Court. He is responsible for crafting the warrants used to arrest suspected witches.
George Herrick/John Willard
Herrick is the town marshal of Salem, and leads the effort to find and arrest those accused of witchcraft until he falls into despair and turns to alcoholism. Willard is one of his deputies until he refuses to carry out any more arrests, at which point he is charged with witchcraft and hanged.
Judge John Hathorne
One of the two judges presiding over the court. Hathorne is a deeply pious man whose blind faith in Abigail's trustworthiness is largely responsible for the destruction wrought by the trials.
Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth
The chief judge of the court. He views the proceedings as an opportunity to cement his power and influence, eagerly convicting anyone brought before him. His refusal to suspend the trials even as they tear Salem apart makes him, according to Miller, the true villain of the play. (Most of the characterization of Danforth actually comes from the real life Magistrate William Stoughton, who accepted spectral evidence, and as chief judge inclined to believe that all the accused were guilty. In fact, the real Danforth opposed the use of "spectral evidence" and was much more inclined to believe the accused.)

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