The Crucible: Character Profiles
Reverend Parris- Pastor of the church in Salem. He is the father of Betty and the uncle of Abigail Williams. He believes that he is being persecuted and that the townspeople do not respect his position as a man of God. He secures his desires in the town by preaching fire and brimstone until the people give in. The townspeople have ousted the last few pastors and Parris fears that he may be next. It is only too easy for him to believe the girls because to not believe them would mean that the trouble would be in his own house (Betty and Abigail). If he cannot control his own household, he may not be trusted with an entire village.
Betty Parris- Daughter of the Reverend, cousin to Abigail Williams. She is a weak girl who goes along with her cousin as soon as she is threatened. Until Abigail gives her a valid explanation for dancing in the woods, she lies mute in her bed, terrified of her father's reaction. She is easily made into Abigail's tool.
Tituba-Servant to the Parris household. She is a native of Barbados. She is enlisted by Ruth Putnam and Abigail to cast spells and create charms. When Abigail turns on her to save herself from punishment, Tituba confesses to all and saves herself.
Abigail Williams- Orphaned niece of Reverend Parris. She was once the lover of John Proctor but was turned out when his wife discovered the affair. She is extremely jealous of Elizabeth Proctor and uses her power in the town to rid herself of Elizabeth as well as any others who have insulted her in the past. She cannot let go of her obsession with Proctor. She is the leader of the girls.
Susanna Walcott-One of the girls. She is initially sent between Parris and Dr. Griggs to determine the cause of Betty's ailment. She is easily guided by Abigail.
Ann Putnam-Wife of Thomas Putnam, mother to Ruth. She is a very superstitious woman and believes that the deaths of so many of her babies in childbirth was caused by supernatural means. She sends her daughter to Tituba to cast a spell to discover the murderer.
Thomas Putnam-Husband of Ann Putnam, father to Ruth. He is a powerful man in the village with a long family line. He forces his way in whatever matters benefit him and becomes extremely bitter when he doesn't succeed. He is accused of coercing his daughter to accuse people, for example, George Jacobs, in order to gain their forfeited land.
Mercy Lewis- Servant to the Putnam household. She is a merciless girl who seems to delight in the girls' activities. The threats Abigail uses on the other girls are unnecessary for Mercy. When Abigail eventually leaves town, Mercy goes with her.
Mary Warren-Servant to the Proctor household. Abigail uses her to effectively accuse Elizabeth. John Proctor takes Mary to the court to confess that the girls are only pretending. She is not strong enough to fight Abigail and as soon as Abigail leads the other girls against her, Mary caves and runs back to her side by accusing Proctor himself.
John Proctor-Husband to Elizabeth. He had an affair with Abigail when she was employed in his household. He knows that the girls are pretending but cannot tell what he knows without revealing having been alone with Abigail. When Abigail uses her influence to convict his wife, he tries to tell the truth and finds himself condemned. He refuses to admit to witchcraft or to consider Abigail as anything more than a lying whore. He is hanged.
Rebecca Nurse-Wife to Francis Nurse. She is a pious old woman who has often acted as a midwife for women of the town, including Ann Putnam. She is accused of witchcraft by the girls and convicted of the supernatural murder of the Putnam babies. News of her arrest reveals how out of control the situation has become and inspires Elizabeth Proctor to urge her husband to go to the court with the truth about Abigail. Rebecca refuses to admit to witchcraft to the end and is hanged.
Giles Corey- Husband to Martha. He inadvertently gives out information that is later used against his wife. He accuses Thomas Putnam of using Ruth to condemn people for his personal gain. Realizing his source will be arrested, he refuses to reveal it feeling that he has done too much damage already. He is arrested for contempt of court. He is eventually pressed to death when he refuses to enter a plea (pleading guilty or being convicted would mean forfeiture of his land, leaving his sons with no inheritance).
Reverend John Hale-He is considered to be, and considers himself, an expert on witchcraft. He is initially summoned to determine whether the devil is in Salem and enthusiastically participates in the court proceedings. When he finally realizes that the girls are lying, it is too late to change the course of action. He attempts to convince the condemned to admit to witchcraft and save themselves from death.
Elizabeth Proctor- Wife of John Proctor. She discovered an affair going on between her husband and Abigail Williams and turned Abigail out of her house. She is Abigail's main target but is saved from hanging because of her pregnancy. She feels responsible for driving her husband to infidelity. When he decides that he will not lie to save himself, she supports his decision though it will leave her alone. She feels that if he must redeem himself in this way, she cannot take it from him.
Francis Nurse- Husband to Rebecca Nurse. He is a respected man in the community but is ignored when he attempts to speak for his wife. The old levels of respect and power in the community are gone as the girls take over.
Ezekiel Cheever- He is the clerk of the court during the witchcraft trials. It is his job to deliver warrants for the arrest of the accused.
Marshal Herrick-Marshal of Salem.
Judge Hathorne- The judge presiding over the witch trials.
Deputy Governor Danforth- He seems to feel particularly strongly that the girls are honest. He is sensitive to the presence of the devil and reacts explosively to whatever evidence is presented.
Sarah Good- One of the accused. She admits to witchcraft to save herself from death. The Dead Four of the accused died in prison. As many as thirteen others also died there, as prisoners could not be released if they had not paid their prison expenses. The actual number of prison deaths is not accurately accounted for. As mentioned before, Giles Corey was pressed to death. The others died on Gallows Hill.
Bridget Bishop George Burroughs Martha Carrier