"The Crucible" -- Vocabulary from all 4 Acts 85 words

Learn these 85 words from Arthur Miller’s 1953 "The Crucible" -- a play that dramatized the late 17th century Salem witch trials and served as an allegory of McCarthyism.
  1. persecute
    cause to suffer
    He believed he was being persecuted wherever he went, despite his best efforts to win people and God to his side.
  2. province
    the territory occupied by one of the constituent administrative districts of a nation
    Salem had been established hardly forty years before. To the European world the whole province was a a barbaric frontier inhabited by a sect of fanatics who, nevertheless were shipping out products of slowly increasing quantity and value.
  3. inhabit
    inhabit or live in; be an inhabitant of
    Salem had been established hardly forty years before. To the European world the whole province was a a barbaric frontier inhabited by a sect of fanatics who, nevertheless were shipping out products of slowly increasing quantity and value.
  4. creed
    any system of principles or beliefs
    Their creed forbade anything resembling a theater or “vain enjoyment.”
  5. somber
    grave or even gloomy in character
    Which is not to say that h nothing broke into this strict and somber way of life.
  6. indicate
    give evidence of
    That there were some jokers, however, is indicated by the practice of appointing a two-man patrol whose duty was to “walk forth in the time of God’s worship to take notice of such as either lye about the meeting hous, without attending to the word and ordinances, or that lye at home or in the fields without giving good account thereof, and to take the names of such persons and to present them to the magistrates, whereby they may be accordingly proceeded against.”
  7. ordinance
    an authoritative rule
    That there were some jokers, however, is indicated by the practice of appointing a two-man patrol whose duty was to “walk forth in the time of God’s worship to take notice of such as either lye about the meeting hous, without attending to the word and ordinances, or that lye at home or in the fields without giving good account thereof, and to take the names of such persons and to present them to the magistrates, whereby they may be accordingly proceeded against.”
  8. predilection
    a strong liking
    This predilection for minding other people’s business was time-honored among the people of Salem, and it undoubtedly created many of the suspicions which were to feed the coming madness.
  9. maraud
    raid and rove in search of booty
    It stood, dark and threatening, over r their shoulders night and day, for out of it Indian tribes marauded from time to time and Reverend Parris had parishioners who had lost relatives to these heathen.
  10. heathen
    a person who does not acknowledge your god
    It stood, dark and threatening, over r their shoulders night and day, for out of it Indian tribes marauded from time to time and Reverend Parris had parishioners who had lost relatives to these heathen.
  11. conjure
    summon into action or bring into existence, often as if by magic
    Abigail: But we never conjured spirits.
  12. faction
    a clique (often secret) that seeks power usually through intrigue
    Parris: There is a faction that is sworn to drive me from my pulpit?
  13. abomination
    hate coupled with disgust
    Abominations are done in the forest –
  14. deference
    courteous regard for people's feelings
    A certain deference springs into him., although his worry remains.
  15. conviction
    an unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence
    Parris, with dwindling conviction now: A precaution only.
  16. corruption
    lack of integrity or honesty (especially susceptibility to bribery); use of a position of trust for dishonest gain
    They will howl me out of Salem for such corruption in my house.
  17. hysterical
    characterized by or arising from psychoneurotic hysteria
    Mary Warren, with hysterical fright: What’s got her?
  18. partisan
    a fervent and even militant proponent of something
    He need not have been a partisan of any faction in the town, but there is evidence to suggest that he had a sharp and biting way with hypocrites.
  19. calumny
    a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone's words or actions
    In Proctor’s presence a fool felt his foolishness instantly – and a Proctor is always marked for calumny therefore.
  20. pretense
    the act of giving a false appearance
    I never knew what pretense Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men!
  21. exude
    make apparent by one's mood or behavior
    Gentleness exudes from her.
  22. defer
    yield to another's wish or opinion
    He defers to her.
  23. prodigious
    so great in size or force or extent as to elicit awe
    Rebecca: There is prodigious danger in the seeking of loose spirits.
  24. abide
    put up with something or somebody unpleasant
    Parris: It is agreed, sir – it is agreed – we will abide by your judgement.
  25. pursuit
    a diversion that occupies one's time and thoughts (usually pleasantly)
    Hale, with a tasty love of intellectual pursuit: Here is the invisible world, caught, defined, and calculated.
  26. calculated
    carefully thought out in advance
    Hale, with a tasty love of intellectual pursuit: Here is the invisible world, caught, defined, and calculated.
  27. afflict
    cause physical pain or suffering in
    Does someone afflict you, child?
  28. evade
    avoid or try to avoid fulfilling, answering, or performing (duties, questions, or issues)
    Hale: You cannot evade me, Abigail.
  29. exaltation
    the elevation of a person (as to the status of a god)
    Hale, with rising exaltation: You are God’s instrument put in our hands to discover the Devil’s agents among us.
  30. enrapture
    hold spellbound
    She is enraptured, and though in a pearly light.
  31. falter
    move hesitatingly, as if about to give way
    Elizabeth: John, if it were not Abigail that you must go to hurt, would you falter now?
  32. magistrate
    a lay judge or civil authority who administers the law (especially one who conducts a court dealing with minor offenses)
    The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you.
  33. pallor
    unnatural lack of color in the skin (as from bruising or sickness or emotional distress)
    Her strangeness throws him off, and her evident pallor and weakness.
  34. compensate
    make amends for; pay compensation for
    When will you proceed to keep this house as you are paid nine pound a year to do -- and my wife not wholly well?
    as though to compensate, Mary Warren goes to Elizabeth with a small rag doll.
  35. brim
    the top edge of a vessel or other container
    Mary Warren: They had Doctor Griggs examine er, and she's full to the brim.
  36. marvel
    be amazed at
    But be that not a marvel?
  37. traffic
    deal illegally
    You will never believe I hope, that Rebecca trafficked with the Devil
  38. monstrous
    distorted and unnatural in shape or size; abnormal and hideous
    No man may longer doubt the powers of the dark are gathered in monstrous attack upon this village.
  39. daft
    informal or slang terms for mentally irregular
    Proctor: I have never knew until tonight that the world is gone daft with this nonsense.
  40. reckon
    judge to be probable
    Proctor: I-- had not reckoned with goin' into court.
  41. warrant
    formal and explicit approval
    I have a warrant for your wife.
  42. grapple
    come to terms with
    Now Hell and Heaven grapple on our backs, and all our old pretense is ripped away-- make your peace!
  43. providence
    the prudence and care exercised by someone in the management of resources
    It is providence, and no great change; we are only what we always were, but naked now.
  44. monstrous
    shockingly brutal or cruel
    No man may longer doubt the powers of the dark are gathered in monstrous attack upon this village.
  45. pretense
    the act of giving a false appearance
    Now Hell and Heaven grapple on our backs, and all our old pretense is ripped away-- make your peace!
  46. contention
    the act of competing as for profit or a prize
    Do you know, Mr. Proctor, that the entire contention of the state in these trials is that the voice of Heaven is speaking through the children?
  47. vile
    morally reprehensible
    Parris: Excellency, you surely cannot think to let so vile a lie be spread in open court!
  48. deceive
    cause someone to believe an untruth
    I have until this moment not the slightest reason to suspect that the children may be deceiving me.
  49. deposition
    (law) a pretrial interrogation of a witness; usually conducted in a lawyer's office
    This is Mary Warren's deposition.
  50. vague
    lacking clarity or distinctness
    She swears now that she never saw Satan; nor any spirit, vague or clear, that Satan may have sent to hurt her.
  51. declare
    state emphatically and authoritatively
    And she declares her friends are lying now.
  52. instruct
    impart skills or knowledge to
    Danforth: How were you instructed in your life?
  53. perjury
    criminal offense of making false statements under oath
    Danforth: I will tell you this-- you are either lying now, or you were lying in the court, and in either case you have committed perjury and will go to jail for it.
  54. apparition
    a ghostly appearing figure
    In which she swears that she never saw familiar spirits, apparitions, or any manifest of the Devil.
  55. manifest
    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
    In which she swears that she never saw familiar spirits, apparitions, or any manifest of the Devil.
  56. guile
    shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception
    If she speak true, I bid you now drop your guile and confess your pretense, for a quick confession will go easier with you.
  57. agent
    a representative who acts on behalf of other persons or organizations
    Parris: You say you never saw no spirits, Mary, were never threatened or afflicted by any manifest of the Devil or the Devil's agents.
  58. illusion
    an erroneous mental representation
    Danforth: Abigail, is it possible that the spirits were illusion only, some deception that may cross your mind.
  59. deception
    a misleading falsehood
    Danforth: Abigail, is it possible that the spirits were illusion only, some deception that may cross your mind.
  60. fancy
    have a fancy or particular liking or desire for
    Elizabeth: I came to think he fancied her.
  61. awe
    an overwhelming feeling of wonder or admiration
    But Abigail, pointing in fear, is now raising up her frightened eyes and awed face toward the ceiling.
  62. transfixed
    having your attention fixated as though by a spell
    She is transfixed with all the girls, she is whispering open-mouthed, agape at the ceiling.
  63. agape
    with the mouth wide open as in wonder or awe
    She is transfixed with all the girls, she is whispering open-mouthed, agape at the ceiling.
  64. unintelligible
    not clearly understood or expressed
    Mary utters something unintelligible, staring at Abby, who keeps watching the "bird" above.
  65. halt
    come to a halt, stop moving
    Girls halt at the door.
  66. allegiance
    the act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action
    Will you confess yourself befouled with Hell, or do you keep that black allegiance yet?
  67. monologue
    a (usually long) dramatic speech by a single actor
    *Mary Warren interior monologue*
  68. stench
    a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
    Danforth: There is a prodigious stench in this place.
  69. gaunt
    very thin especially from disease or hunger or cold
    He is gaunt, frightened, and sweating in his greatcoat.
  70. pardon
    a warrant granting release from punishment for an offense
    Parris, to Danforth, instantly: Oh, good morning, sir, thank you for coming, I beg your pardon wakin’ you so early.
  71. summon
    gather or bring together
    But I thought to summon you, sir, that we might think on whether it be not wise, to—He dares not say it.
  72. beguile
    attract; cause to be enamored
    Danforth: Now hear me, and beguile yourselves no more.
  73. mercy
    a disposition to be kind and forgiving
    Excellency, if you postpone a week and publish to the tow that you are striving for their confessions, that speak mercy on your part, not faltering.
  74. marked
    singled out for notice or especially for a dire fate
    Hale: Goody Proctor, your husband is marked to hang this morning.
  75. indictment
    an accusation of wrongdoing
    He would not answer aye or nay to his indictment; for if he denied the charge they'd hang him surely.
  76. testify
    give testimony in a court of law
    Mr. Proctor, a score of people have already testified they saw this woman with the Devil.
  77. rejoice
    feel happiness or joy
    Why, you should rejoice to say it if your soul is truly purged of any love for Hell!
  78. purge
    rid of impurities
    Why, you should rejoice to say it if your soul is truly purged of any love for Hell!
  79. penitence
    remorse for your past conduct
    Is there no good penitence but it be public?
  80. banner
    long strip of cloth or paper used for decoration or advertising
    Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs.
  81. vanity
    feelings of excessive pride
    It is pride, it is vanity.
  82. profit
    the advantageous quality of being beneficial
    What profit him to bleed?
  83. falter
    move hesitatingly, as if about to give way
    Excellency, if you postpone a week and publish to the tow that you are striving for their confessions, that speak mercy on your part, not faltering.
  84. corruption
    lack of integrity or honesty (especially susceptibility to bribery); use of a position of trust for dishonest gain
    Who weeps for these weeps for corruption.
  85. declare
    state emphatically and authoritatively
    Shall the worms declare his truth?