The play The Crucible features a limited number of characters who play pivotal roles in the story. The main characters in The Crucible are Reverend Parris, Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor, Tituba, Judge Hathorne, Thomas Putnam, Ruth Putnam, Mary Warren, Mercy Lewis, Deputy Governor Danforth, Reverend Hale, Giles Corey, Rebecca Nurse, Francis Nurse, Sarah Good, and Mrs. Ann Putnam.
Brief Introductions to the Characters in The Crucible
Reverend Parris is a minister in Salem. He fears being driven out of Salem due to his daughter Betty's involvement in witchcraft. Parris uses the witch trials to strengthen his authority and maintain his position.
Betty Parris is Reverend Parris' daughter. She is discovered by her father dancing in the woods with other girls, practicing witchcraft. Betty admits to witchcraft and begins accusing others.
Abigail Williams is Reverend Parris' niece and the central character in the play. She instigates the witch trials in Salem by falsely accusing individuals of witchcraft. Abigail had an affair with John Proctor and seeks to achieve her own motives by pretending to see spirits and encouraging the other girls to do the same. She accuses Elizabeth and John Proctor of witchcraft and later flees Parris' house after stealing from him.
John Proctor is a farmer in Salem and a former lover of Abigail's. Proctor openly criticizes Reverend Parris and does not regularly attend church. Abigail accuses him and his wife, Elizabeth, of witchcraft, and although Proctor and Elizabeth attempt to prove Abigail's deceit, they are unsuccessful. Proctor values his name and refuses to confess, ultimately choosing death over a false admission. He is portrayed as the play's true hero.
Elizabeth Proctor is John Proctor's wife. She is an honest woman who dismissed Abigail from their household due to her affair with Proctor. Elizabeth lies in court to protect her husband, unaware that he has already confessed. Her lie tragically leads to their downfall.
Tituba is Reverend Parris' black slave. Parris discovers her casting spells and dancing with the girls in the woods. She entices Betty to drink blood and is later accused by Thomas Putnam of conjuring spirits. Tituba confesses to having contact with the devil and accuses others of witchcraft.
Mrs. Ann Putnam
Mrs. Ann Putnam is the wife of Thomas Putnam. She firmly believes that witches are responsible for the deaths of her seven infant children.
Thomas Putnam is a wealthy landowner in Salem. He manipulates his daughter to falsely accuse their neighbors of witchcraft, as he hopes to claim their land once they are executed. Putnam is the only person in Salem with enough money to purchase the confiscated land.
Ruth Putnam is the sickly daughter of the Putnam family. She accuses others of witchcraft under the influence of her father. A witness overhears Thomas Putnam prompting Ruth to make false accusations in order to acquire their land.
Mary Warren is a servant to the Proctor family. She is an official of the court and also falsely accuses others of witchcraft. However, she later admits that she was lying and tries to tell the court that the other girls are also making false accusations.
Mercy Lewis is a servant to the Putnam family and a friend of Abigail's. She actively participates in the witch trials, pretending to see spirits, and falsely accuses individuals of witchcraft.
Deputy Governor Danforth
Deputy Governor Danforth is a special judge serving in the Salem court during the witch trials. He signs death warrants for those who refuse to confess to witchcraft and rejects Reverend Hale's proposal to postpone any executions. He is unsympathetic and unwilling to delay punishments to allow prisoners time to confess.
Reverend Hale is a minister from Beverly who is summoned to investigate the witchcraft rumors in Salem. He examines Betty's condition and determines whether witchcraft is responsible. Hale initially supports the witch trials but later denounces them upon discovering the false accusations. He tries to convince the prisoners to confess and save their lives.
Giles Corey is an elderly resident of Salem who challenges the court to defend his wife, who has been accused of witchcraft. He informs the court of Thomas Putnam's daughter's false accusations, prompted by her father's desire to acquire others' land through execution. Corey is arrested for contempt of court.
Rebecca Nurse is the wife of Francis Nurse. She is highly respected in Salem due to her kindness and charitable nature. Nurse speaks out against the witch trial proceedings. Mrs. Putnam accuses her of witchcraft. Although Proctor presents a signed statement from 92 individuals attesting to Rebecca's innocence, the court dismisses the evidence.
Francis Nurse is a farmer and landowner in Salem. He is a respected member of the community.
Sarah Good is a beggar in Salem and one of the first women accused of witchcraft by the girls.
Judge Hathorne is a judge in the Salem court.
Susanna Walcott is a friend of Abigail's who also falsely accuses others of witchcraft.
Marshal Herrick is appointed by the Salem court to arrest the accused individuals.
Ezekial Cheever is appointed by the Salem court to assist in arresting the accused individuals.