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The Crucible by Arthur Miller - Barron's Booknotes
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ACT I, SCENE 3

Just before they leave, the Putnams' maidservant Mercy Lewis
comes in with further word on Ruth's condition: "She give a
powerful sneeze... another like it will shake her wits together,
I'm sure." This sounds like good news, and for a moment it
looks as if the trouble might clear up by itself.

As soon as the grownups are gone, Abigail becomes all
business. They've got to get their stories straight: they're in
trouble for sure, but if they're careful they can keep it from
getting worse. Mary Warren, the Proctor's maidservant, runs in
in a panic, ready to blab everything. Mercy and Abigail close in
on her menacingly, when suddenly little Betty wakes up.
Abigail tries to soothe her, but Betty streaks for the window,
crying out for her dead mama. And at last we find out what
Abigail was really up to last night. "You drank blood, Abby!"
Betty cries. "You drank a charm to kill John Proctor's wife!"
Abigail smashes her across the face to shut her up, and makes a
naked threat to the other two:

Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word... 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!



If any shred of innocence has clung to Abigail up until this
point, it now is vaporized. It's possible she's just scared and is
trying to scare the others into keeping quiet. It's also possible
she drank the charm against Goody Proctor "for sport." But
even if that's true, it's pretty nasty sport. Whether you believe
she means her threat or not, it's clear that Abigail Williams is a
dangerous person. In fact, if anybody in the play talks like a
witch, it's Abigail. Soon she'll do far worse.

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The Crucible by Arthur Miller - Barron's Booknotes
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