The Crucible: Novel Summary: Act 3
Martha Corey is on trial in the Salem meetinghouse as Act III opens. She adamantly denies any involvement in hurting the children. Her husband bursts into the courtroom shouting that he has evidence of her innocence, accompanied by Francis Nurse. He is dragged out of the room by Herrick and joined by the other men of the court. The court refuses to hear the men and is attempting to dismiss them when Mary Warren arrives with John Proctor. They back up the men's story that the girls are frauds. Parris desperately tries to stop their testimony. Cheever brings up the incident in which Proctor ripped up the warrant for his wife and the men debate the possibility that he is attempting to make an attack on the court. They reveal that Elizabeth Proctor has claimed to be pregnant and when Proctor still refuses to drop his charges of fraud (His wife cannot be hung as long as she carries an innocent child), Danforth insists that he means to attack them. Proctor presents a petition that attests to the innocence of the accused women. Parris tries to disparage these people and his arguments result in warrants being drawn up for all of them to be examined. Thomas Putnam is brought in and it is revealed to him that Giles Corey has accused him of compelling his daughter to accuse George Jacobs in order to acquire his land. He of course, denies this. Corey refuses to reveal the source of this information for fear that this person will be arrested like those who signed the petition. He is charged with contempt of court. Proctor speaks up at this point and compels Mary Warren to admit to her involvement in Abigail's game. The children are brought in. Abigail denies Mary's charges and stands by her accusations. Proctor continues to try to discredit Abigail and when it looks like he is going to succeed, Abigail unleashes her strongest weapon. She begins to act as though she is afflicted, and is quickly followed by the other girls. Her accusing eyes roam until finally settling on Mary Warren. Mary Warren tries to fight Abigail but the favor of the room is quickly slipping away from her. Proctor, having no options left, reveals his affair with Abigail. The men are horrified. Proctor and Abigail are instructed to turn their backs as Elizabeth Proctor is brought in. They ask her if her husband has been unfaithful. Not knowing that he has confessed and thinking of his protection, she denies it. As she is led out, Proctor tells her that he confessed it and they both realize that they are undone. Abigail and the other girls continue to act as though afflicted by Mary Warren until the girl finally cracks. She accuses Proctor of having used her for the Devil's work and runs into the now welcoming arms of Abigail. Proctor and Giles Corey are led off to the prison. Reverend Hale realizes the dishonesty of the girls at last and quits the court in protest.