The Crucible: Top Ten Quotes

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  1. I cannot sleep for dreamin'; I cannot dream but I wake and walk about the house as though I'd find you comin' through some door. -Abigail to John Proctor trying to entice him into resuming their illicit affair. Act I (page 23)
  2. There is a misty plot afoot so subtle we should be criminal to cling to old respects and ancient friendships. - Reverend Hale to Francis Nurse defending the witch trials in the face of the outrageous arrest of Rebecca Nurse. Act II (page 71)
  3. Let you not mistake your duty as I mistook my own.  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; and where I turned the eye of my great faith, blood flowed up. -Reverend Hale to Elizabeth Proctor attempting to convince her to compel her husband into confession.  He realizes his part in the whole affair and is trying to save lives in the only way possible. Act IV (page 132)
  4. And mark this.  Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you.  And you know I can do it; I saw Indians smash my dear parents' heads on the pillow next to mine and I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down! Abigail to Betty and Mary Warren who initially express fear about their actions in the woods and express a desire to confess. Abigail asserts her power over the girls right away so as to ensure she is not exposed.  Act I (page 20)
  5. There is either obedience or the church will burn like Hell is burning! Parris to Proctor.  Parris desires to secure his position as the minister.  He is the third minister of Salem in seven years and does not want the community to have the ability to put him out.  He demands the deed to his house and preaches fire and brimstone regarding whatever he is after until he has it.  Act I (page 30)
  6. This is a sharp time, now, a precise time-we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world.  Now, by God's grace, the shining sun is up, and them that fear not light will surely praise it. Danforth to Francis Nurse who is trying to prove his wife is simply the victim of scheming townspeople.  He is completely convinced by the girls and believes that the court is doing the work of God.  Act III (page 94)
  7. She thinks to dance with me on my wife's grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly.  God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat.  But it is a whore's vengeance, and you must see it;. Proctor to the men of the court in his last attempt to save his wife and prove the dishonesty of the girls.  He reveals Abigail's motivation to see Elizabeth Proctor condemned. Act III (page 110)
  8. Spoke or silent, a promise is surely made. Elizabeth Proctor to her husband, explaining why Abigail would continue to pursue him though he had ended the affair.  She tells him that by sleeping with her, he made a commitment to her, at least in her eyes.  Act II (page 61)
  9. A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be fraud-God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together! Proctor after Mary Warren turns on him to save her own life and he finds himself suddenly condemned.  Act III (page 119-20).
  10. I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another.  I have no tongue for it John Proctor, having decided to save his life by confessing to witchcraft, refuses to accuse anyone else.  He has been defeated by Abigail but will not join her ranks by hurting others.