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The Crucible

The Crucible


by Arthur Miller

The Crucible Reverend Parris Quotes

HALE, (kindly): Who came to you with the Devil? Two? Three? Four? How many?
Tituba pants, and begins rocking back and forth again, staring ahead.

TITUBA: There was four. There was four.
PARRIS, pressing in on her: Who? Who? Their names, their names!
TITUBA, suddenly bursting out: Oh, how many times he bid me kill you, Mr. Parris!
PARRIS: Kill me!
TITUBA, in a fury: He say Mr. Parris must be kill! Mr. Parris no goodly man, Mr. Parris mean man and no gentle man, and he bid me rise out of my bed and cut your throat! (They gasp.) But I tell him "No! I don't hate that man. I don't want kill that man." But he say, "You work for me, Tituba, and I make you free! I give you pretty dress to wear, and put you way high up in the air, and you gone fly back to Barbados!" And I say, "You lie, Devil, you lie!" And then he come one stormy night to me, and he say, "Look! I have white people belong to me." And I look—and there was Goody Good.
PARRIS: Sarah Good!
TITUBA, rocking and weeping: Aye, sir, and Goody Osburn.
MRS. PUTNAM: I knew it! Goody Osburn were midwife to me three times. I begged my husband, I begged him not to call Osburn because I feared her. My babies always shriveled in her hands!
HALE: Take courage, you must give us all their names. Tituba; the Devil is out and preying on children like a beast upon the flesh of the pure lamb. God will bless you for your help.
Abigail rises, staring as though inspired, and cries out.
ABIGAIL: I want to open myself! (They turn to her, startled. She is enraptured, as though in a pearly light.) I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil; I saw him; I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!
As she is speaking, Betty is rising from the bed, a fever in her eyes, and picks up the chant—the chant is echoed in the distant music of the dance in the forest—there is wind in the trees.
BETTY, staring too: I saw George Jacobs with the Devil! I saw Goody Howe with the Devil!
PARRIS: She speaks! (He rushes to embrace Betty.) She speaks!
HALE: Glory to God! It is broken, they are free! (I.470-486)

The battle between good and evil has left the spiritual realm and entered the realm of society. When Tituba tells Parris that the Devil bade her kill him, she is playing on his classic hubris, as he thinks he’s so important as minister that the forces of darkness would want to hurt him. By quoting the words of the Devil in saying that Parris is bad and mean, she also reveals the truth about what he’s like as a master. She’s no sap, that Tituba.

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!
PARRIS: You will confess yourself or I will take you out and whip you to your death, Tituba!
MRS. PUTNAM: This woman must be hanged!, She must be taken and hanged!
TITUBA, terrified, falls to her knees: No, no, don't hang Tituba! I tell him I don't desire to work for him, sir.
PARRIS: The Devil?
HALE: Then you saw him! (Tituba weeps.) Now Tituba, I know that when we bind ourselves to Hell it is very hard to break with it. We are going to help you tear yourself free—
TITUBA, frightened by the coming process: Mister Reverend, I do believe somebody else be witchin' these children.
HALE: Does he! (This is a clue.) Tituba, look into my eyes. Come, look into me. (She raises her eyes to his fearfully.) You would be a good Christian woman, would you not, Tituba?
TITUBA: Aye, sir, a good Christian woman.
HALE: And you love these little children?
TITUBA: Oh, yes, sir, I don't desire to hurt little children.
HALE: And you love God, Tituba?
TITUBA: I love God with all my bein'.
HALE: Now, in God's holy name—
TITUBA: Bless Him. Bless Him. (She is rocking on her knees; sobbing in terror.)
HALE: And to His glory—
TITUBA: Eternal glory. Bless Him—bless God...
HALE: Open yourself, Tituba—open yourself and let God's holy light shine on you.
TITUBA: Oh, bless the Lord. (I.428-451)

The Reverend Hale, the Reverend Parris, and the Putnams have already decided Tituba is guilty of witchcraft before she even arrives. They are able to twist her words around until she confesses to supernatural dealings.

ABIGAIL: She heard you singin' and suddenly she's up and screamin'.
MRS. PUTNAM: The psalm! The psalm! She cannot bear to hear the Lord's name!
PARRIS: No, God forbid. Mercy, run to the doctor! Tell him what’s happened here!
Mercy Lewis rushes out.

MRS. PUTNAM: Mark it for a sign, mark it!
Rebecca Nurse, seventy-two, enters. She is white-haired, leaning upon her walking-stick.
PUTNAM, pointing at the whimpering Betty: That is a notorious sign of witchcraft afoot, Goody Nurse, a prodigious sign!
MRS. PUTNAM: My mother told me that! When they cannot bear to hear the name of—
PARRIS, trembling: Rebecca, Rebecca, go to her, we're lost. She suddenly cannot bear to hear the Lord's name!
Everything is quiet. Rebecca walks across the room to the bed. Gentleness exudes from her. Betty is quietly whimpering, eyes shut. Rebecca simply stands over the child, who gradually quiets.
MRS. PUTNAM, astonished: What have you done? (I.213-220; 225-226)

Betty’s sudden whining at the name of Jesus indicates her relationship with the Devil—a classic sign of good vs. evil. But Rebecca Nurse suggests she just needs a mother’s touch. The more earnestly religious characters, like Rebecca, realize that supernatural conflict has its roots in human suffering, not the other way around.