The Crucible Act 4 Summary and Analysis is part of PrepScholar.

Act 4 ends the saga of madness.The citizens of Salem are dealing with the aftermath of the trials.Will the “witches” confess to avoid being executed?Does John Proctor still hate himself?Key quotes and an analysis for the final act of The Crucible can be found here.

Act 4 opens with Herrick removing Tituba and Sarah Good from a jail cell so the court officials can meet there.Reverend Hale and Reverend Parris are not praying with the other condemned prisoners.He explained that Hale was trying to get prisoners to confess to their crimes rather than lose their lives.The Lewises stole his life’s savings when they ran away.

The authorities discuss the state of social unrest in Salem after the jailing of so many citizens.”Why at every execution I have seen nothing but high satisfaction in the town” is what Hathorne says.Parris is worried about what will happen if they hang people who are well-respected.The dagger that was wedged in his doorway was a death threat.He wants them to delay the hangings and push for confessions, but Danforth won’t because it would make him look bad.

Hale says that he hasn’t gotten any confessions yet.John Proctor is the only prisoner that he hasn’t talked to.The officials decided to bring in Elizabeth Proctor to convince him to confess.Elizabeth informs John of Giles’s death.Giles was put to death with heavy stones because he refused to plead guilty to the charges of witchcraft.John wants her to tell him if he should confess.He feels his soul is beyond redemption because he doesn’t think much of himself.He wants Elizabeth to forgive him, but she doesn’t think that’s enough.She blames herself for the way things went down.She told him that he couldn’t decide if or not to confess.

John agreed to confess, but he wouldn’t name any names and was reluctant to sign the confession.He decided he couldn’t go through the rest of his life after signing his name into disgrace.He snatched the signed paper at the last minute and ripped it to shreds.Rebecca Nurse and John are taken to the gallows by marshal Herrick.The others want Elizabeth to convince him to reconsider, but she won’t because it’s the only way he can break free from his self-hatred.

The act took place in a jail cell.Sarah Good and Tituba are woken up by marshal Herrick to move them to a different cell.The two women talked about their plans to go to Barbados after the Devil transforms them into bluebirds.It could’ve happened to anyone if they’d mistaken the cow’s bellowing for the arrival of Satan.Tituba called the Devil to take her home as Herrick ushered them out of the cell.

After they leave, Herrick comes back to join the meeting.Reverend Hale has been praying with prisoners according to Herrick.Herrick went to get Reverend Parris because he was supposed to meet with Hathorne and Danforth.Reverend Hale and Rebecca Nurse are praying with Parris.Herrick was told by Parris to allow Hale to see the prisoners.

Parris is acting strange.Hathorne thinks it might not be wise to allow Parris amongst the prisoners because he has looked a little crazed lately.He said good morning to Parris a few days ago, but he just started crying.Since he’s supposed to be the spiritual leader of the town, Hathorne is worried that Parris is unstable.Cheever thinks that the property disputes in town are to blame for Parris’ distress.The cows are abandoned because their owners are in jail.He doesn’t handle conflict well, so it makes him upset that he has been arguing with farmers about who gets to claim the cows.Parris looked haggard as he finally entered the cell.They criticized him for allowing Hale to speak with the prisoners.Danforth is happy with the news.

The meeting with the court officials was called by Parris.They vanished a few days before.He thinks they boarded a ship and stole his life’s savings to pay for it.He’s been upset because he is broke.Parris is called a fool by Danforth.The beginnings of a rebellion in Salem have been sparked by the decision of the next town to reject the witch trial trend and throw out the court.People in Salem might turn against her if she left.

Hathorne doesn’t believe that a rebellion in Salem is being fomented because the town has supported the executions so far.All of the people who have been executed up until now had bad reputations due to other reasons, such asBridget Bishop living with a man before marrying him, and Isaac Ward’s alcoholism leaving his family in poverty.They are about to hang two people who are well-liked and respected in the community.Many people in the town are not going to like that.The hangings should be put off so he and Hale can push for confessions and avoid social unrest.Everything will go as planned.If they don’t delay the executions, he has received a death threat and fears for his life.

Hale enters the cell and says he hasn’t been able to get anyone to confess.He wants Danforth to give him more time to bring the prisoners around.He can’t pardon anyone or delay the hangings.Twelve people have been put to death for the same crime.It would make him look weak if he were to be pardoned.

Hale hasn’t spoken to John Proctor yet.The officials decided to summon Elizabeth to see if she can convince her husband to confess.Hale keeps trying to get Danforth to delay the executions, but he won’t change his mind.Hale says that society in Salem is on the verge of collapsing because of the trials.Hale says he wants to return to Salem because he can’t live with the part he played in condemning innocent people to death.If he can get them to confess, there will be less blood on his hands.

There is a person in the cell.Hale wants her husband to confess.Elizabeth is not convinced that telling a white lie is better than sacrificing a life for pride.There is apg.122)She agrees to speak with her husband, but she doesn’t promise to get him to confess.John and Elizabeth are left alone as John is escorted in by marshal Herrick.Elizabeth told John that many people have confessed to being witches, but Giles refused to plead guilty to the charges leveled against him.If he died a criminal, his farm would have been auctioned off, but his sons will inherit it.

He asked Elizabeth what she thought he should do, as he contemplated making a confession.It’s stupid for him to hold up his integrity when he knows he has already committed many sins.John doesn’t confess out of nobility.He wants Elizabeth to forgive him.If he still feels he’s a bad person, she says he needs to forgive himself first.She says he shouldn’t take responsibility for her issues because she pushed him into his arms.

Hathorne is back in the jail cell.John has to make a decision on whether or not to confess.Hathorne assumes John will confess because he says he chooses to have his life.John asked Elizabeth what she would do, but his question ended up being rhetorical.She wouldn’t give in to the pressure and lie.He doesn’t think he’s good enough to die a martyr.

Cheever, Hale, and Danforth return and start questioning Proctor so they can write down his confession.When Rebecca Nurse is led into the cell and expresses her disappointment, John fails to confess.John doesn’t name any of the people he’s seen with the Devil.Hale succeeded in persuading Danforth to allow John to sign the confession.John doesn’t want to sign his name to the confession.He snatched the signed paper when he finally did so.He doesn’t want to be an example to other prisoners.

John can’t bring himself to lie to himself.Danforth wants the document to be an honest confession or it will be hung.The man tears up his confession.He finally decides that he has some decency in him, and it will manifest in this final sacrifice.The hangings are to begin.As John and Rebecca are led off to the gallows, Parris and Hale beg Elizabeth to convince John to reconsider.Elizabeth knows that John needs to do this.She respects his choice to die with dignity.

Do what you want.I’m not sure why you didn’t just tell them you’re pregnant, these guys will believe anything.

It be no Hell in Barbados.Devil, you be a pleasure-man in Barbados.You rile him up and it’s too cold for him.Tituba, pg.It was 113.

Tituba’s most substantive line is probably this one.She sees the culture in Salem as overly repressive and thinks of “the Devil” in a different light.The Devil is a symbol of freedom from the bonds of a society that makes people deny their humanity.Tituba thinks that the citizens of Salem are provoking the Devil with their hypocrisy.

My reprieve must cast doubt on the guilt of those that died before now.I won’t crack its voice while I speak God’s law.I should hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law, and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of the statutes.There is a page called Danforth, pg.115-125.

This quote sheds light on Danforth’s character and state of mind.He doesn’t want to delay the hangings because he may be seen as weak and indecisive.People might think mistakes were made in the past, so he can’t pardon them.Danforth’s reputation will be destroyed if every person brought in by the trials is given an equally harsh punishment.He was so authoritarian that he would hang ten thousand people who objected to a law without pausing to consider whether the law was flawed.The infallibility of the law allows Danforth to maintain control.

Blood flowed up when I turned the eye of my great faith, after I came into this village like a bridegroom to his beloved, bearing gifts of high religion; the very crowns of holy law I brought, and what I touched with my bright confidence, it died.Goody, don’t let faith bring blood.You sacrifice because of mistaken law.No principle, however glorious, may justify the taking of life, it is God’s most precious gift.I want you to prevail upon your husband to confess.Let him tell the truth.It is possible that God is a liar less than he throws his life away for pride.Reverend Hale, 122.

At the beginning of the play, Hale was a shell of himself.He thought he was bringing enlightenment to Salem, but he actually brought destruction.The loss of innocent lives was caused by his good intentions.Hale argues that throwing away one’s life, even if it is done in adherence to God, leaves a darker moral stain on the world than giving a false confession.This advice is meant to make him feel better about the situation.If these people die because of his mistakes, he won’t be able to live with himself.

Let them die to keep their souls.It’s a ruse that won’t blind God or keep my children out of the wind.John Proctor is a 126-year-old man.

John believes that he is not worthy of dying as a martyr because he has already lied and committed immoral acts in his life.He feels that his soul is beyond saving so he needs to confess.If he is going to Hell without this false confession, there is no point in remaining honest.He can continue to provide for his kids if he lives.

It’s my name!I can’t have another in my life.I lie and sign myself to lie.I am not worth the dust on the feel of them hanging.I don’t know how to live without my name.Leave me my name, I have given you my soul!John Proctor was in this issue.133

Proctor snatched his confession away from Danforth.He can’t sacrifice his reputation by signing the confession.He feels that the suffering in the afterlife is punishment for his self-loathing.He doesn’t want to be defined by his confession in the eyes of society and history.His name will always be associated with cowardice and a lack of integrity.

Elizabeth doesn’t want John to give up his confession.She can see that he has achieved freedom from his own self-loathing.She might not save his life if she persuades him to return and confess because he will feel worthless after throwing away his last bit of integrity.

John’s destruction of his confession is similar to ripping up a check and throwing it in someones face to show that they have power over you.For better or worse, pride wins out over self-preservation.

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Act 4 contains a list of major themes along with short explanations and analyses.

In Act 4 he questioned Elizabeth and John.He observed Elizabeth’s lack of emotion when he asked her to help them convince John to confess.Have there been any tears of pity in you?There is apg.Even though he has shown no remorse for condemning people to death in the play, she isn’t acting more upset.”I should hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law, and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of the statutes,” he said.120).He does not understand why Elizabeth doesn’t fall apart and beg her husband to confess, because he is not aware of the idea that an action can be legally prudent but morally distasteful.

The implication that John’s confession may not be the truth upsets Danforth.He says he is not allowed to trade his life for a lie.130).This is an example of tragic irony because Danforth has been trading people’s lives for lies for a long time.Many people have been sentenced to death for lying about their dealings in black magic, and he has accepted the false confessions of those who would rather be executed.

Though there is less evidence of hysteria in this act, Danforth is still very much caught up in the mentality of WWIII.As John gives his confession, Danforth says to Rebecca Nurse, “Now, woman, you surely see it profit nothin’ to keep this conspiracy any further.”Will you confess to him?There is apg.127).He believes that everyone is guilty.

When he won’t name names in his confession, he becomes frustrated with Mr. Proctor.130).John knows more about the Devil’s dealings than he has said.The involvement of Rebecca Nurse has been confirmed by other confessors.It will be confirmed that John is committed to renouncing his ties to Satan.

As the hysteria over the witch trials dies down, it becomes apparent that the accused’s reputation is still a factor in how they are treated.He has received death threats for going along with the executions of John and Rebecca.He says that the people have a lot of weight in the town.118).

He doesn’t want to damage his reputation as a strong judge by getting all wishy-washy.My reprieve must cast doubt on the guilt of those that died before now.I will not crack the voice of God’s law while I speak.118).

The events of Act 4 are influenced by John Proctor’s concern for his reputation.He goes to the gallows because he knows his life won’t be worth living if he publicly disgraces himself.Leave me my name, I have given you my soul!There is apg.133).

Many of the power structures that were in place earlier in the play have become meaningless in Act 4.Though the judges and reverends technically still hold official positions of authority, Reverend Parris has been subjected to death threats, and Salem as a whole seems to be in complete disarray.The judges don’t respect Mr. Parris very much.There is a pg.Following the loss of his life’s savings, he has become weak and vulnerable.

The prisoners lost their faith in the earthly authority figures who failed them, and now look towards the judgement of God.John realized that the only power he had left was in refusing to confess.Elizabeth told him that there was no higher judge under Heaven than Proctor.There is apg.127).Rebecca Nurse holds onto a lot of power because she refused to confess.Her sacrifice will deal a serious blow to the legitimacy of the judges.

At the end of The Crucible, several characters are still dealing with guilt.Hale decided to return to Salem to advise the accused witches to confess after quitting the court in Act 3.Encouraging people to lie to save their lives is a sin, but being responsible for the deaths of innocents is not.He was wracked with guilt over the part he played in the beginning of the hysteria.There is a pg.121).Hale is so depressed that he’s only able to think about his own feelings.The confessors would be forced to live the rest of their lives in shame if the false confessions were true.

It seems strange to us that you should lie to avoid being executed.We have to consider the pervasiveness of religion in Puritan society.The state of one’s soul is not just a matter of good name in society.Lying about being involved with the Devil might be considered worse than death by the most religious people.If a person dies without sin, she will go to Heaven, but if she corroborates the lie perpetuated by the courts, her soul will carry a permanent stain.Hale’s argument is not convincing to people who have spent their whole lives in service to God and don’t want to compromise their excellent record.

John and his wife were put in mortal danger because of his affair, and he still feels guilty.A deep fear of hypocrisy almost convinces Proctor to confess because he would feel guilty martyring himself next to other people like Rebecca Nurse who are genuinely without sin.”My honesty is broken, Elizabeth; I am no good man”, he says.126).He doesn’t allow his guilt to define him and refuses to give up the rest of his integrity.

Elizabeth shows some guilt in Act 4 when she blames herself for pushing John into Abigail’s arms.It takes a cold wife to be aroused.126).The play shows sexism in Elizabeth’s guilt.She has been conditioned to believe that it’s her job to make her husband happy.It’s pretty clear that this play was written in the 1950s.

She was too sick to attend to John’s every need.What was she expecting?He wouldn’t sleep with a teenager.

According to Miller, the families of the witch trials victims were provided with compensation by the government after Parris was voted out of office.The power of theocracy in Massachusetts was broken after the trials, according to him.The events of The Crucible are an example of how prejudice, fear, and ignorance can lead to tragedy.

If you’ve read the summaries for each act of The Crucible, you can check out our complete analysis of the play.

Do you need quotes for your essay?The list of the most important quotes in The Crucible is cataloged by theme.

You should take a look at our analyses of the two most important women in The Crucible, Rebecca Nurse and Abigail Williams.

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