this character, wife of Francis Nurse, is seventy-two and described as "white-haired, leaning upon her walking-stick" when she enters in Act I (Act I, p. 25). Francis Nurse "was called upon to arbitrate disputes as though he were an unofficial judge, and this character also enjoyed the high opinion most people had for him" (Act I, p. 25). this character states her opinions against bringing in Reverend Hale, as she believes it will cause more strife within the community. Later in the play, this character is accused of witchcraft by Ruth Putnam, an apparent act of greed on the part of the Putnam family. this character refuses to confess, and is one of those executed along with John Proctor in the end of Act IV. this character is a farmer in Salem and friend to John Proctor. this character's land abuts with that of Thomas Putnam, and the two have had ongoing feuds about ownership and boundaries. this character accuses Thomas Putnam of attempting to steal land from him by having his daughter Ruth accuse his wife, Martha Corey, of witchcraft. this character stands trial himself and refuses to commit a plea, resulting in his being crushed? to death with stones.
Elizabeth Proctor relates the reasoning behind this characters' torturous death in Act IV, saying, "He were not hanged. He would not answer yes or no 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. And so his sons will have his farm. It is the law, for he could not be condemned a wizard without he answer the indictment, aye or nay" (Act IV, p. 135).
this character is the servant of John and Elizabeth Proctor, and is described as "seventeen, a subservient, naive, lonely girl" (Act I, p. 18). When this characterfirst appears in Act I, she is frightened and willing to confess to what the girls did in the woods; however, this character is threatened and bullied by Abigail and Mercy into silence. this character gains momentum and power as a character when she becomes an "official of the court" and joins the other girls in making accusations of the townspeople. this character gives Elizabeth Proctor a poppet she made in court, which is later used as proof of witchcraft against Elizabeth when Abigail claims she used it to harm her.
In Act III, John Proctor convinces this character to sign a deposition stating that her accusations and those of the other girls are false, but when this character faces Abigail in the court, she begins to falter. As Abigail and the others begin screaming and seeing "visions," this character loses her power completely and joins in, denouncing John Proctor for soliciting the Devil and holding supernatural powers over her.
this character is the protagonist of The Crucible. Proctor is described by the author as "a farmer in his middle thirties. He need not have been a partisan of any faction in the town, but there is evidence to suggest he had a sharp and biting way with hypocrites" (Act I, p. 20). Through the narrative, the reader learns this character has previously had an adulterous affair with Abigail Williams when she worked as a servant in his home. this character's wife, Elizabeth, released Abigail from service upon her discovery of the affair, and the relationship between John and Elizabeth has remained strained since its occurrence.
this character fulfills his role in the drama as a tragic hero, exhibiting courage and honesty against the forces of corruption, deception and hypocrisy. this character's fatal flaw is his pride and his betrayal through adultery. this character has denounced his affair and resists the temptations of Abigail, but his pride prevents him from coming forward with the truth about his and Abigail's past until he is driven to do so by desperation during his wife's trial. In the end of the play, this character's decision to renounce his confession and go to execution demonstrates his loyalty to truth and to the truths of those convicted wrongly alongside him.
this character is the central antagonist of the play. this character is the niece of Reverend Parris, and is a seventeen-year-old orphan whose parents presumably were killed by Indians. this character worked as the Proctors' servant until Elizabeth Proctor discovered her husband was having an affair with the girl and put her out. this character is supported by her uncle.
In the opening of the play, Reverend Parris has discovered this character, his daughter Betty, and others dancing in the forest with the slave Tituba. Betty falls ill and Parris believes the Devil's hand is involved and sends for the help of Reverend Hale. this character is the ringleader among the girls in the town, and facing her own persecution for conjuring spirits, turns on Tituba and calls her out as a witch. Once Tituba calls out others, this character leads the girls into a whirlwind frenzy of accusations in Salem.
this character is driven, largely or wholly, by her desire for John Proctor and her jealousy of his wife, Elizabeth. The actions and accusations Abigail commits serve to harm Elizabeth and have her executed as a witch. Abigail oversees Mary Warren sewing a poppet doll for Elizabeth and later fakes supernatural illness, essentially framing Elizabeth for witchery. In the end of the play, this character, along with Mercy Lewis, has stolen thirty-one pounds from her uncle's strongbox and run away from Salem, presumably on a ship.
this character is the town minister of Salem, Massachusetts. In Act I, this character has discovered his daughter, Betty, and his niece, Abigail, dancing in the woods with the slave Tituba and several other girls. this character sends for Reverend Hale of Beverly to examine his daughter, who has fallen ill since the incident, for signs that she has been cursed by the Devil.
this character is criticized by many in Salem, including John Proctor, for his extravagant ways and apparent greed. According to the author's notes, "At the time of these events this character was in his middle forties. . . He believed he was being persecuted wherever he went, despite his best efforts to win people and God to his side. In meeting, he felt insulted if someone rose to shut the door without first asking his permission" (Act I, p. 3).
this character shows his true selfish nature in Act IV, when he appears to be more concerned about the loss of his money, stolen by his niece, than the fate of the accused. this character, as a character, is consumed with what others think and his own reputation and power.