Character and Action:

  • Tituba, Reverend Parris, Abigail Williams and Susanna Walcott
  • Parris is upset and praying that Betty wakes up.
  • Tituba asks if Betty will be okay and he responds very angrily.
  • Abigail enters with Susanna, who has come with news from the doctor.
  • Susanna tells Parris that the doctor cannot find a cure for Betty and so he should consider looking for spiritual reasons.
  • Parris tells Susanna to not tell anyone about any of this.
  • Abigail tells Parris that there are rumours of witchcraft and that a crowd has already gathered downstairs.
  • Parris gets angry at Abigail as he believes she’s not telling him the truth about what happened in the forest.
  • Abigail says they were dancing and that was it.
  • Parris disagrees and says he seen a dress on the floor and he cannot remove what he saw.
  • Abigail begins to get scared and denies that anyone was naked.
  • Parris says Abigail’s name is clean in the village and she wouldn’t want to ruin that.
  • He begins to question her on why Goody Proctor let Abigail go.
  • Abigail getting very angry at the mention of Goody Proctor defends herself and says she was let go due to the fact she didn’t want to be a slave. She says she will not let Goody Proctor ruin her name.

Themes and Context:

Power and Status

This is seen through Parris as when he is pushing Abigail to tell the truth, he always mentions that if the truth comes out before he knows himself his name will be ruined and he also frequently says he has many enemies that want to ruin his name in the village.

This can also be seen through Abigail’s character, as when Parris mentions Goody Proctor, Abigail gets very angry and says she refuses to let her name be ruined by Goody Proctor.

Hysteria

Hysteria can be seen very early in the play as Abigail tells Parris that a crowd has already gathered downstairs. This shows how the 16th century Puritans had very dull lives as at the mention of something different they all get involved. It tells the audience that any little thing among the ordinary would have caused a frenzy.

Language and Structure:

‘Oh, my God! God help me!’ (Parris)

Religious language – shows how the Puritans related everything they did to God and how they were very narrow minded in the way they thought as they had to always refer to God.

‘Betty. Child. Dear child.’ (Parris)

Short sentence – used for dramatic effect on the reader. The short sentence makes you read it quicker and therefore gives the effect of how Parris was saying it. It portrays that he was very nervous and very scared for Betty as he was unaware of what was wrong with her.

‘searchin’’ (Susanna)

Clipping/ colloquialism – show the way in which the Puritans spoke. Also, as this is said by Susanna who is young it may show how they young Puritans spoke almost as slang.

‘And what shall I say to them? That my daughter and my niece I discovered dancing like heathen in the forest? (Parris)

Rhetorical question – the effect of this may be sarcasm as he is asking Abigail a question in which he clearly knows the answer of. It also involves the reader as they may question what they may do if they were in Reverend Parris’ situation.

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