The Crucible - Act Two
1. At this point in the play, what would you do if you were John Proctor?
2. Describe the relationship between John and Elizabeth. In your own words, explain the metaphor of the “everlasting funeral” that John sees in Elizabeth’s heart.
3. Based on Mary’s statements, what do you infer is the real reason Mary gives Elizabeth the gift?
4. Using your reading notes as a starting point, how do you interpret Mary’s visions and accusations? What clues does Miller give us about her motivation?
5. Why does Hale become suspicious of the Proctors? What is the irony in Hale’s urging Proctor to show “charity”?
6. The protagonist of a story is the central character who drives the action, and is usually considered the hero or heroine. The antagonist is the character who struggles against the protagonist, often with cruel or destructive intent. By the end of Act Two, which character seems to have emerged as the protagonist? Which character is most clearly the antagonist? Support your answer with specific evidence from the text.
7. Identify at least three external conflicts in the play. Then describe the internal conflict that Proctor faces. How could Proctor’s conflict relate to a broader conflict in the play—between public appearance and private reality?
8. What insights about the Puritans do you gain from reading The Crucible—insights that you don’t usually find in a history textbook? What dangers would there be in relying only on later literature for historical truth?
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