At the Salem jail, an intoxicated Herrick staggers into Sarah Good and Tituba’s cell. The girls have clearly suffered under their damned circumstances, crying that the Devil will escort them to Barbados with his ‘feathers and wings.’ [pg 107]
Danforth and Hathorne arrive with Cheever on Parris’s request. Danforth and Hathorne discuss Andover, where people are rumoured to have retaliated and successfully overthrown the court. It is clear that Andover, like Salem also developed a similar fear of the supernatural. They comment on the change in Parris, who is now ‘unsteady’ [pg 109] and praying with Hale.
Parris joins the two thanking them for coming so early in the morning. However, their disapproval towards Parris is unmistakable for Parris has disobeyed Danforth’s order not to allow Hale into the Salem jail. Parris explains that Hale encourages prisoners including Rebecca and Martha to ‘confess their crimes and save their lives.’ [pg 110] It is revealed that Abigail has stolen all his thirty-one pound wealth and apparently aboard a ship with Mercy Lewis. Parris believes that Salem will follow in suit with Andover and rebel, hence the reason for Abigail’s departure. He suggests that Danforth postpones the hanging so to show some humane consideration for the highly respected prisoners. Otherwise their ‘good purpose’ [pg 112] will be dispelled, as the community will disdain the officials even further, and rebellion will fuel. However, Danforth is resolute on the hanging of the prisoners. Parris cries in desperation that a dagger was left outside his house, and that the town is a dangerous place to be.
Hale meets the men. Hale begs for the release of those who refuse to confess. Danforth objects, since already twelve have been executed for the same crime, and it would be unjust to free the rest. Danforth queries Hale why he has returned to work. Hale bellows that ‘there is blood on my head!’ [pg 114] which has burdened him to the extent that he has come back to do ‘the devil’s work.’ The only person left for Hale to visit is Proctor. Parris contends that bringing Elizabeth who is three months pregnant, to Proctor may urge him to confess his ‘crimes’.
Elizabeth is brought in, her health deteriorated to the state where she is ‘pale and gaunt.’ Hale explains to Elizabeth that he is there to save Proctor and she can help him. Elizabeth agrees to do so, though she ‘promises nothing.’ [pg 116] Proctor is escorted to the cell and sees his wife for the first time in months. They are left alone for a few moments. Elizabeth shares that the baby grows and that Rebecca Samuel is taking care of their children. Giles Corey who has since died, refused to confess even when he had heavy stones laid on his body. Instead, he cried ‘more weight’ [pg 118] until it killed him. Elizabeth, verging on tears voices that Proctor’s indiscretions were partly her fault as well, since she was a ‘cold wife.’ [pg 119] Proctor refuses since he is ‘no good man.’ [pg 118]
Hathorne who has come for Proctor’s answer interrupts their brief reunion. Although a false confession goes against his morals, Proctor agrees to affiliate himself with the Devil. Cheever brings in a pen, ink and paper, ready to scribe Proctor’s words. Danforth pleasantly explains that the document will be placed on the church door for the community to view. Proctor although hesitant submits, and incriminates himself to all questions put forth such as, ‘have you seen the Devil in your life?’ During the confession, Rebecca enters and is shocked by Proctor’s betrayal. When given the document to sign however, Proctor refuses to do so because it is ‘his name.’ [pg 124] By signing the document, not only will it ruin his reputation but also those of his friends since it will appear as though all those highly regarded in the community have participated in witchcraft. Proctor shreds the document, in a state of fury against the court’s corruption. He states that there is some ‘goodness’ [pg 125] in him by standing up for his beliefs. Rebecca cheers him on while Elizabeth and Proctor kiss passionately. Proctor is taken out of the cell to his death sentence. Parris and Hale plead Elizabeth to change Proctor’s mind. However, she cries that Proctor will now have ‘goodness’ in him, and she won’t take that away from him.
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