The Crucible

by: Arthur Miller

Absolution

1

Let God blame me, not you, not you, Rebecca! I’ll not have you judging me any more!

After Mrs. Putnam confesses that she sent her daughter Ruth to practice witchcraft with Tituba, Rebecca balks, “Goody Ann! You sent a child to conjure up the dead?” Mrs. Putnam doesn’t claim innocence, but she thinks that nobody can judge her but God after she confesses publicly. She proves her hypocrisy when she blames Tituba for witchcraft and Putnam yells that Tituba “must be taken and hanged!” even though she admits to making a stew for Abigail. Mrs. Putnam doesn’t receive punishment or go to trial, so ultimately nobody judges or blames her in the story, including God.

2

Abigail brings the other girls into the court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel.

After Abigail confesses, the townspeople see her as a prophet like Moses. Proctor is reluctant to tell the court that Abigail’s lying because “if the girl’s a saint now, I think it is not easy to prove she’s a fraud.” Proctor’s reservations are justified after Cheever finds the doll and Mary casts doubt on Abigail’s integrity by saying, “Ask Abby, Abby sat beside me when I made it.” Hale interprets Mary’s comment as an accusation of “cold and cruel murder on Abigail,” despite Abigail accusing Elizabeth of the same. Because Abigail is above reproach, nobody can contradict her accusations.

3

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.

Proctor resents that Elizabeth’s suspected his infidelity even though she was correct, and he expected her to forgive him after he confessed. Elizabeth refuses to judge Proctor, but she suspects him of dishonesty after he lied about being alone with Abigail. Proctor thinks that Elizabeth can’t see past his affair, so he regrets confessing to her instead of to God. He implies that his confession means he should be immune from guilt or suspicion because his honesty implies goodness. This logic also fuels characters like Abigail to confess as a means of proving purity.

4

Why do you never wonder if Parris be innocent, or Abigail? Is the accuser always holy now?

After Abigail accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft, Proctor asks Hale why he believes the accusers but not the accused. Because testimony depends on honesty, Proctor argues that it’s impossible to know who is lying and who is telling the truth. Proctor uses the word “innocent” to suggest that Abigail is actually guilty of falsely accusing Elizabeth. Since Abigail’s accusations against others protect her from accusations from others, she has free rein to manipulate the court’s trust for personal vengeance. Other characters who make false accusations of witchcraft, like the Putnams and Tituba, also walk free.