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The Crucible

The Crucible

by

Arthur Miller

 Table of Contents

The Crucible Act Four Quotes

How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue.

PROCTOR: You will not use me! I am no Sarah Good or Tituba, I am John Proctor! You will not use me! It is no part of salvation that you should use me!
DANFORTH: I do not wish to-
PROCTOR: 1 have three children-how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?
DANFORTH: You have not sold your friends-
PROCTOR: Beguile me not! I blacken all of them when this is nailed to the church the very day they hang for silence!
DANFORTH: Mr. Proctor, I must have good and legal proof that you-
PROCTOR: You are the high court, your word is good enough! Tell them I confessed myself; say Proctor broke his knees and wept like a woman; say what you will, but my name cannot –
DANFORTH, with suspicion: It is the same, is it not? If I report it or you sign to it?
PROCTOR – he knows it is insane: No, it is not the same! What others say and what I sign to is not the same!
DANFORTH: Why? Do you mean to deny this confession when you are free?
PROCTOR: I mean to deny nothing!
DANFORTH: Then explain to me, Mr. Proctor, why you will not let-
PROCTOR, with a cry of his whole soul: Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!
DANFORTH, pointing at the confession in Proctor's hand: Is that document a lie? If it is a lie I will not accept it! What say you? I will not deal in lies, Mister! Proctor is motionless. You will give me your honest confession in my hand, or I cannot keep you from the rope. Proctor does not reply. Which way do you go, Mister?
His breast heaving, his eyes staring, Proctor tears the paper and crumples it. (IV.281-294)

Danforth’s notion of justice is patently absurd. He realizes that Proctor’s confession is a lie – but without the confession, he cannot spare Proctor’s life. Justice is hung by his own faulty legal reasoning.

PROCTOR: I'd have you see some honesty in it. Let them that never lied die now to keep their souls. It is pretense for me, a vanity that will not blind God nor keep my children out of the wind. Pause. What say you?
ELIZABETH, upon a heaving sob that always threatens: John, it come to naught that I should forgive you, if you'll not forgive yourself. Now he turns away a little, in great agony. It is not my soul, John, it is yours. He stands, as though in physical pain, slowly rising to his feet with a great immortal longing to find his answer. It is difficult to say, and she is on the verge of tears. Only be sure of this, for I know it now: Whatever you will do, it is a good man does it. He turns his doubting, searching gaze upon her. I have read my heart this three month, John. Pause. I have sins of my own to count. It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery.
PROCTOR, in great pain: Enough, enough-
ELIZABETH, now pouring out her heart: Better you should know me!
PROCTOR: I will not hear it! I know you!
ELIZABETH: You take my sins upon you, John-
PROCTOR, in agony: No, I take my own, my own!
ELIZABETH: John, I counted myself so plain, so poorly made, no honest love could come to me! Suspicion kissed you when I did; I never knew how I should say my love. It were a cold house I kept! In fright, she swerves, as Hathorne enters.
HATHORNE: What say you, Proctor? The sun is soon up.
Proctor, his chest heaving, stares, turns to Elizabeth. She comes to him as though to plead, her voice quaking.
ELIZABETH: Do what you will. But let none be your judge. There be no higher judge under Heaven than Proctor is! Forgive me, forgive me, John--I never knew such goodness in the world! She covers her face, weeping.
Proctor turns from her to Hathorne; he is off the earth, his voice hollow.

PROCTOR: I want my life. (IV.204-214)

Elizabeth’s forgiveness makes John Proctor want to keep on living, even if he must live dishonestly. He decides to confess.

PROCTOR: 1 have three children-how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?
DANFORTH: You have not sold your friends-
PROCTOR: Beguile me not! I blacken all of them when this is nailed to the church the very day they hang for silence!
DANFORTH: Mr. Proctor, I must have good and legal proof that you-
PROCTOR: You are the high court, your word is good enough! Tell them I
confessed myself; say Proctor broke his knees and wept like a woman; say what you will, but my name cannot –
DANFORTH, with suspicion: It is the same, is it not? If I report it or you sign to it?
PROCTOR – he knows it is insane: No, it is not the same! What others say and what I sign to is not the same!
DANFORTH: Why? Do you mean to deny this confession when you are free?
PROCTOR: I mean to deny nothing!
DANFORTH: Then explain to me, Mr. Proctor, why you will not let-
PROCTOR, with a cry of his whole soul: Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!
DANFORTH, pointing at the confession in Proctor's hand: Is that document a lie? If it is a lie I will not accept it! What say you? I will not deal in lies, Mister! Proctor is motionless. You will give me your honest confession in my hand, or I cannot keep you from the rope. Proctor does not reply. Which way do you go, Mister?
His breast heaving, his eyes staring, Proctor tears the paper and crumples it. (IV.284-294)

Proctor is unwilling to blacken his friends’ reputations – and he clings to his own reputation for loyalty and integrity. So he throws his confession away.

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