The Crucible Act Two Questions
Short Response Answer the following questions based on your knowledge of the drama. Write a short response on a separate sheet of paper.
1. Describe one reason why Proctor holds back at the beginning of Act Two from telling what he knows about Abigail.
2. As the Proctors converse in the opening scene of Act II of The Crucible, how would you characterize their relationship? Cite evidence from the play to support you answer.
3. When Hale quizzes Proctor on the Ten Commandments in Act II of The Crucible, Proctor has trouble remembering one of them. Which one does he forget, and why?
4. Why does Hale argue that Proctor’s forgetting a commandment is a serious matter? What is his response?
5. Explain how Mary Warren changes once she is appointed to the court. Use three details from the text to support your response.
6. Mr. Hale visits the Proctors and hears of Rebecca’s and Martha Corey’s arrests. He makes the following statement:
... our hearts break, we cannot flinch; these are new times, sir. There is a misty plot afoot so subtle we should be criminal to cling to old respects and ancient friendships. I have seen too many frightful proofs in court–the Devil is alive in Salem, and we dare not quail [shy away from] to follow wherever the accusing finger points!
Describe how this statement parallels McCarthy’s beliefs as he wages war on Communism.
7. In the early part of Act II of The Crucible, Elizabeth tells Proctor that Mary Warren has been to court and speaks of Abigail, the chief accuser, as a saint. Knowing that Mary works for the Proctors, and that Abigail bears a grudge against Proctor, what prediction can you make about the impact of Mary’s attitude on her employers?
8. In Act II of The Crucible, John Proctor initially shows some reluctance to go to Salem to expose the falseness of Abigail’s charges of witchcraft. His reluctance is due to an inner conflict over what longstanding issue?
9. When Mary returns to the Proctors’ residence in Act II of The Crucible, why does she present a doll (poppet) to Elizabeth?
10. In Act II of The Crucible, when Hale appears at the Proctors’ door, he is described as “different now--drawn a little, and there is a quality of deference, even of guilt, about his manner now.” What inner conflict accounts for this change?
11. In Act II of The Crucible, when Hale hears that Rebecca Nurse has been charged, he is troubled. Read his allusion below to the story that the Devil was once an angel. What does he intend to point out by making this allusion?
…an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.
12. How does literature shape or reflect society? In The Crucible, Miller portrayed the religious hysteria of seventeenth-century Salem as being comparable to the anti-Communist fervor that spurred the divisive investigations of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s in the United States. To emphasize the irrational, rigid nature of this fervor, Miller uses religious allusions throughout Act II. Give examples of at least two of these allusions, and explain how they deepen the reader’s understanding of the elements of Puritan society that contributed to the hysteria over witchcraft.
13. The references to the Commandments are an allusion to ____. Select the correct answer and explain why this allusion are important to the events that are taking place in Act II, The Crucible.
a. Salem’s charter
b. Salem’s laws
c. the Bible
d. a play by Shakespeare
14. Hale has been called to Salem to determine whether the Devil is among the people. As Act II of The Crucible progresses, his opinion as to whether the Devil is present is being tempered by his observations of the people of Salem. Use the graphic organizer to trace Hale’s observations. Summarize the conclusion he is reaching.