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Characters

John Proctor – A farmer, and the husband of Elizabeth. Proctor had an affair with Abigail Williams while she worked as a servant in his house. A powerful man in both build and character, Proctor refuses to follow people he considers hypocrites, including Reverend Parris. Feared and resented by the many people in Salem he has made feel foolish, Proctor has a powerful sense of personal integrity. For this reason, his affair with Abigail makes him see himself as a hypocrite.

See John Proctor quotes.

Reverend Parris – The minister of Salem, Betty's father, and Abigail's uncle. Tituba is his slave. As a minister, Parris delivers harsh fire and brimstone sermons that sometimes turn off his parishioners. As a father and master, he's inattentive and quick to anger. Parris's insecurity and obsessive concern with his reputation result from his near paranoid belief that someone is plotting to persecute him, steal his position, ruin his good name, or harm him in some other way.

See Reverend Parris quotes.

Reverend Hale – A minister in the nearby Massachusetts town of Beverly, and an expert in identifying witchcraft. An intelligent man, Hale sees himself as a scientist and philosopher, a kind of physician of the soul. At the beginning of the play he's something of an innocent, taking for granted that the world is black and white and that he, with his expertise, can tell the difference between the two. By the end of the play his outlook has changed considerably. Unlike the other priests, his insistence on uncovering facts makes it impossible for him to overlook the evidence indicating that those condemned of witchcraft in Salem were innocent.

See Reverend Hale quotes.

Elizabeth Proctor – The wife of John Proctor. She fires Abigail Williams as her servant when she discovers that the girl is having an affair with Proctor. Elizabeth is a good woman known for never telling a lie. She loves her husband deeply, but seems to have the sense that she doesn't deserve him, and therefore often responds coldly to him. His affair with Abigail has both shaken the trust she had in her husband and convinced her that she was right in her assumption that she didn't deserve him.

See Elizabeth Proctor quotes.

Abigail Williams – The 17-year-old niece of Reverend Parris. Marauding Native Americans killed Abigail's parents when Abigail was young. While a servant in John Proctor's household, Abigail briefly became John's lover before Elizabeth found out and fired her. Abigail is beautiful, intelligent, crafty, and vindictive. She's also a skillful liar. She is the leader of her group of girlfriends and is willing to do anything to protect herself.

See Abigail Williams quotes.

Thomas Putnam – The husband of Ann Putnam, and one of the richest farmers and landowners in all of Salem. Putnam is a bitter man who feels that the citizens of Salem have not given him the respect that he and his family deserve. He seeks to gain respect and revenge by increasing his wealth, landholdings, and influence however he can.

Ann Putnam – The wife of Thomas Putnam. Mrs. Putnam is as bitter as her husband, but for different reasons: just one of the many babies she has given birth to has survived past infancy.

See Ann Putnam quotes.

Giles Corey – A farmer who owns a farm near Salem, Giles is an old man and somewhat of a rascal, but also very brave and moral at heart. In his many years he's been involved in numerous court cases and lawsuits, and therefore knows the law inside and out. He is married to Martha Corey.

See Giles Corey quotes.

Rebecca Nurse – The wife of the wealthy farmer Francis Nurse. Rebecca is a much beloved and admired figure in Salem for her religiousness and good sense. She has also served as the midwife at many births.

Francis Nurse – A wealthy farmer and landowner in Salem and the husband of Rebecca Nurse. Francis Nurse is generally considered by the Salem community to be a good man, but many people resent his recent rise to wealth. He's had arguments over land with Putnam that have risen even to the level of physical fights. Families related to Francis Nurse were involved in refusing to allow Putnam's wife's brother-in-law to become the minister of Salem, a slight that Putnam has not forgotten.

See Francis Nurse quotes.

Deputy Governor Danforth – A Deputy governor of Massachusetts who comes to Salem to preside over the witch trials. Though he's more open-minded and intelligent than Judge Hathorne, Danforth believes completely in his ability to distinguish truth from fiction. He views those who disagree with him as suspect. In fact, he suspects that anyone who disagrees with him might be working "against God."

See Deputy Governor Danforth quotes.

Judge Hathorne – An arrogant and unpleasant Salem judge who considers the Puritan government to be absolutely right and just. As a representative of that government, he believes in the perfection of his own wisdom and judgment.

Mary Warren – A teenage girl and a servant in the Proctor household who replaces Abigail Williams. She is a generally good and quiet girl. She fears wrongdoing, but she fears Abigail even more.

Mercy Lewis – A teenage girl and a servant in the Putnam household. She is Abigail's closest friend and confidant, and the second in command of the group of girls behind the trials.

Betty ParrisReverend Parris's teenage daughter. In many ways she seems like a typical teenager rebelling against her overly protective father. A follower, she quickly falls in line with Abigail's plot.

Tituba – A slave of Reverend Parris, she is originally from Barbados. Tituba is terrified of Parris, who generally blames her for everything that goes wrong in the house. As a black female slave, she represents the lowest rung of Salem society.

Mrs. Osburn – One of the women Tituba first identifies as a witch. She served as the midwife for three of Mrs. Putnam's ill-fated deliveries.

See Mrs. Osburn quotes.

Susanna Walcott – A girl in Salem, who works for the town doctor.

Sarah Good – An old woman and town drunk who often goes begging from door to door.

See Sarah Good quotes.

Ezekiel Cheever – A court clerk during the Salem Witch trials.

Marshal Herrick – Salem's town (police) marshal.

Martha Corey – The wife of Giles Corey. She never appears onstage.