John Proctor – A
local farmer who lives just outside town; Elizabeth Proctor’s husband.
A stern, harsh-tongued man, John hates hypocrisy. Nevertheless,
he has a hidden sin—his affair with Abigail Williams—that proves
his downfall. When the hysteria begins, he hesitates to expose Abigail
as a fraud because he worries that his secret will be revealed and
his good name ruined.Read an
in-depth analysis of John Proctor.
Abigail Williams – Reverend Parris’s niece. Abigail was once the servant
for the Proctor household, but Elizabeth Proctor fired her after
she discovered that Abigail was having an affair with her husband,
John Proctor. Abigail is smart, wily, a good liar, and vindictive
when crossed.Read an
in-depth analysis of Abigail Williams.
Reverend John Hale – A young minister reputed to be an expert on witchcraft.
Reverend Hale is called in to Salem to examine Parris’s daughter
Betty. Hale is a committed Christian and hater of witchcraft. His
critical mind and intelligence save him from falling into blind
fervor. His arrival sets the hysteria in motion, although he later regrets
his actions and attempts to save the lives of those accused.
Elizabeth Proctor – John Proctor’s wife. Elizabeth fired Abigail when
she discovered that her husband was having an affair with Abigail.
Elizabeth is supremely virtuous, but often cold. Read an
in-depth analysis of Elizabeth Proctor.
Reverend Parris – The minister of Salem’s church. Reverend Parris
is a paranoid, power-hungry, yet oddly self-pitying figure. Many
of the townsfolk, especially John Proctor, dislike him, and Parris
is very concerned with building his position in the community.
Rebecca Nurse – Francis
Nurse’s wife. Rebecca is a wise, sensible, and upright woman, held
in tremendous regard by most of the Salem community. However, she
falls victim to the hysteria when the Putnams accuse her of witchcraft
and she refuses to confess.
Francis Nurse – A
wealthy, influential man in Salem. Nurse is well respected by most
people in Salem, but is an enemy of Thomas Putnam and his wife.
Judge Danforth – The
deputy governor of Massachusetts and the presiding judge at the
witch trials. Honest and scrupu-lous, at least in his own mind,
Danforth is convinced that he is doing right in rooting out witchcraft.Read an
in-depth analysis of Judge Danforth.
Giles Corey – An
elderly but feisty farmer in Salem, famous for his tendency to file
lawsuits. Giles’s wife, Martha, is accused of witchcraft, and he
himself is eventually held in contempt of court and pressed to
death with large stones.Read an
in-depth analysis of Giles Corey.
Thomas Putnam – A
wealthy, influential citizen of Salem, Putnam holds a grudge against
Francis Nurse for preventing Putnam’s brother-in-law from being
elected to the office of minister. He uses the witch trials to increase
his own wealth by accusing people of witchcraft and then buying
up their land.
Ann Putnam – Thomas
Putnam’s wife. Ann Putnam has given birth to eight children, but
only Ruth Putnam survived. The other seven died before they were
a day old, and Ann is convinced that they were murdered by supernatural means.
Ruth Putnam – The
Putnams’ lone surviving child out of eight. Like Betty Parris, Ruth
falls into a strange stupor after Reverend Parris catches her and
the other girls dancing in the woods at night.
Tituba – Reverend
Parris’s black slave from Barbados. Tituba agrees to perform voodoo
at Abigail’s request.
Mary Warren – The servant
in the Proctor household and a member of Abigail’s group of girls. She is a
timid girl, easily influenced by those around her, who tried unsuccessfully to expose
the hoax and ultimately recanted her confession.Read an
in-depth analysis of Mary Warren.
Betty Parris – Reverend
Parris’s ten-year-old daughter. Betty falls into a strange stupor
after Parris catches her and the other girls dancing in the forest
with Tituba. Her illness and that of Ruth Putnam fuel the first
rumors of witchcraft.
Martha Corey – Giles
Corey’s third wife. Martha’s reading habits lead to her arrest and
conviction for witchcraft.
Ezekiel Cheever – A man from Salem who acts as clerk of the court during
the witch trials. He is upright and determined to do his duty for
Judge Hathorne – A
judge who presides, along with Danforth, over the witch trials.
Herrick – The
marshal of Salem.
Mercy Lewis – One of the girls in Abigail’s