by Arthur Miller
The Crucible Justice Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Line) Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue.
HALE: Why can she not wake? Are you silencing this child?
TITUBA: I love me Betty!
HALE: You have sent your spirit out upon this child, have you not? Are you gathering souls for the Devil?
ABIGAIL: She sends her spirit on me in church; she makes me laugh at prayer!
PARRIS: She have often laughed at prayer!
ABIGAIL: She comes to me every night to go and drink blood!
TITUBA: You beg me to conjure! She beg me make charm—
ABIGAIL: Don't lie! (To Hale:) She comes to me while I sleep; she's always making me dream corruptions!
TITUBA: Why you say that, Abby?
ABIGAIL: Sometimes I wake and find myself standing in the open doorway and not a stitch on my body! I always hear her laughing in my sleep. I hear her singing her Barbados songs and tempting me with—
TITUBA: Mister Reverend, I never—
HALE, resolved now: Tituba, I want you to wake this child.
TITUBA: I have no power on this child, sir.
HALE: You most certainly do, and you will free her from it now! When did you compact with the Devil?
TITUBA: I don't compact with no Devil!
The early scene in which Abigail falsely accuses Tituba of witchcraft lays the foundation for the twisting of justice in Salem, in which good and innocent people are accused and convicted by those without integrity. From this point on, it is apparent to us that something is deeply amiss in Salem—that the beliefs and paradigms of that society allow, or even promote, such unjust outcomes.
ELIZABETH: It is a mouse no more. I forbid her [Mary] go, and she raises up her chin like the daughter of a prince and says to me, "I must go to Salem, Goody Proctor; I am an official of the court!"
PROCTOR: Court! What court?
ELIZABETH: Aye, it is a proper court they have now. They've sent four judges out of Boston, she says, weighty magistrates of the General Court, and at the head sits the Deputy Governor of the Province.
PROCTOR, astonished: Why, she's mad.
ELIZABETH: I would to God she were. There be fourteen people in the jail now, she says. (Proctor simply looks at her, unable to grasp it.) And they'll be tried, and the court have power to hang them too, she says.
PROCTOR, scoffing, but without conviction: Ah, they'd never hang—
ELIZABETH: They'll hang if they'll not confess, John. The town's gone wild, I think. She speak of Abigail, and I thought she were a saint, to hear her. Abigail brings the other girls into the court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel. And folks are brought before them, and if they scream and howl and fall to the floor—the person's clapped in the jail for bewitchin' them.
PROCTOR, wide-eyed: Oh, it is a black mischief.
ELIZABETH: I think you must go to Salem, John. (He turns to her.) I think so. You must tell them it is a fraud. (II.46-54)
Justice in the witchcraft trials means confessing or dying—so even if you’re not guilty, you must confess to avoid death. But both Elizabeth and Proctor know it’s a fraud because of their earlier association with Abigail.
PROCTOR, with solemn warning: You will not judge me more, Elizabeth. I have good reason to think before I charge fraud on Abigail, and I will think on it. Let you look to your own improvement before you go to judge your husband any more. I have forgot Abigail, and—
ELIZABETH: And I.
PROCTOR: Spare me! You forget nothin' and forgive nothin'. Learn charity, woman. I have gone tiptoe in this house all seven month since she is gone. I have not moved from there to there without I think to please you, and still an everlasting funeral marches round your heart. I cannot speak but I am doubted, every moment judged for lies, as though I come into a court when I come into this house!
ELIZABETH: John, you are not open with me. You saw her with a crowd, you said. Now you—
PROCTOR: I'll plead my honesty no more, Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH, now she would justify herself: John, I am only—
PROCTOR: No more! I should have roared you down when first you told me your suspicion. But I wilted, and, like a Christian, I confessed. Confessed! Some dream I had must have mistaken you for God that day. But you're not, you're not, and let you remember it! Let you look sometimes for the goodness in me, and judge me not.
ELIZABETH: I do not judge you. The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you. I never thought you but a good man, John (with a smile), only somewhat bewildered.
PROCTOR, laughing bitterly: Oh, Elizabeth, your justice would freeze beer! (II.65-87)
Elizabeth is a good and just woman, but forgiveness is difficult under any circumstances—and as a result, her husband feels judged every day of their marriage. The situation is a difficult one. It’s impossible for Elizabeth to know whether her husband is dishonest because he still desires Abigail or if he is simply too scared of Elizabeth’s suspicions to be honest. They both assume the worst about the other person.