by Arthur Miller
The Crucible Ezekiel Cheever Quotes
DANFORTH: You are in all respects a Gospel Christian?
PROCTOR: I am, sir.
PARRIS: Such a Christian that will not come to church but once in a month!
DANFORTH, restrained—he is curious: Not come to church?
PROCTOR: I—I have no love for Mr. Parris. It is no secret. But God I surely love.
CHEEVER: He plough on Sunday, sir.
DANFORTH: Plow on Sunday!
CHEEVER, apologetically: I think it be evidence, John. I am an official of the court, I cannot keep it.
PROCTOR: I—I have once or twice plowed on Sunday. I have three children, sir, and until last year my land give little.
GILES: You’ll find other Christians that do plow on Sunday if the truth be known.
HALE: Your Honor, I cannot think you may judge the man on such evidence.
DANFORTH: I judge nothing. (Pause. He keeps watching Proctor, who tries to meet his gaze.) I tell you straight, Mister—I have seen marvels in this court. I have seen people choked before my eyes by spirits; I have seen them stuck by pins and slashed by daggers. I have until this moment not the slightest reason to suspect that the children may be deceiving me. Do you understand my meaning?
PROCTOR: Excellency, does it not strike upon you that so many of these women have lived so long with such upright reputation, and—
PARRIS: Do you read the Gospel, Mr. Proctor?
PROCTOR: I read the Gospel.
PARRIS: I think not, or you should surely know that Cain were an upright man, and yet he did kill Abel.
PROCTOR: Aye, God tells us that. (To Danforth:) But who tells us Rebecca Nurse murdered seven babies by sending out her spirit on them? It is the children only, and this one will swear she lied to you. (III.116-132)
Danforth thinks that he can undermine Proctor’s honesty by showing that he isn’t a true Christian. He thinks that being a Christian means following rules, like not plowing on Sunday and knowing the Gospel by heart. On the other hand, Danforth is very trusting—too trusting—of the honesty of the young women who give the accusations. In other words, he’s totally inconsistent.