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The Crucible by Arthur Miller (Alternate ending)

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ACT 2, SCENE 2


The dead of night; an open window, suddenly plagued by the confrontation of a wooden-ladder. The sounds of creaks crescendoing as a single lit candle disperses its life about the room. From the dark creeps the silhouetted figure of John Proctor.

PROCTOR: (Taking no care for the sleeping.) Wake Child!

ABIGAIL:(The dormant body of Abigail lethargically turns facing the open window and from the quiet darkness of the night, she whispers,) John..John.

PROCTOR: Wake Child, wake from the sleep that so preciously embraces you.

ABIGAIL: (Arises urgently and, reaching for a dagger atop her nightstand, states sharply,) Why do you bring horrors to my sleep Lucifer?

PROCTOR: (At first startled, but calmly swallows and tries again.) It is I Child.

ABIGAIL: John? (Her fears masterfully transform into hope as she slides the knife into her nightgown.)

PROCTOR: How well does your night pass?

ABIGAIL: (Mixed with emotions and sexual tensions.) John, I pray thee every night to come and rescue my charred soul. And now I know that my retched master...(begins to arise, and then is cut off by the strength of Proctor’s arms)...hath been vanquished.

PROCTOR: Child, I come not to save your damned soul nor mine. (Feeling a sudden shot of remorse, and then he returns stronger than ever.) Your slander has ripped my life out of my filthy hands.

ABIGAIL: I shall wash your hands John, for I have been cleansed by God himself. (Seeming a bit too confident, she reaches out for his hands.)

PROCTOR: (Grasps her dainty hands, and with all the force left in his body, sends her into the wall with strong intent.) Why do you conquer my sleep and yet now my living?

A cringing voice in the far corner cries; across the house, a door flies open with the absence of a cold wind. Parris quickly ascends stair by stair; John motions a windowed exit, to which Abigail agrees.

PARRIS: (While the two reach the Salem earth,) Betty, what is amiss?

BETTY: I must have been overcome with fear, that’s all.

PARRIS: (Hearing the splinting of leaves beyond his walls.) I must venture out dear Betty. Sleep with God tonight, for tomorrow, the Devil will no longer extend his cursed stay here in Salem.

Parris exits. As he reaches for his secretly kept and guarded rifle, he steps out into the moonlit night. Three minutes ahead of the fire-driven minister, four legs beat down the heavy ground like stallions across a green pasture.

ABIGAIL: When may we find a haven to rest our tortured bodies?

PROCTOR: (Pauses mid-step, and begins to walk; once satisfied, he turns to the girl, holding her shoulders like restraints on a disguised menace beckoning to end his happiness. He is filled with rage.) When my wife is returned and she has received the grievances of this corrupt province. When your uncle has ceased his preachings that torment the heart and mind of this town. (Pauses to take breath.) When you are declared the harlot you cynically embody!

ABIGAIL: SHE is the power that has cursed my name in the village! (Enraged with a sudden anger; she stares yet still peacefully at the man she yearns to embrace.)

PROCTOR: (Stares intently upon the soul that hath buried his soul deeply into the earth. Feels a soft, and soothing realness in her eyes.) Child, may you understand the circumstances of my arrival. (An idea begins to form in a head so humble.) When we lied together, no light from heaven ever did appear, yet your eyes bestowed a passion so bright a strong fire soon did ignite. Yet seasons pass, and my heart has learned that pleasure before feeling is the road less taken. A road I do not wish to embark upon.

ABIGAIL: (Her eyes and soul begin to lower to the dirt upon his shoes.) Love for you still runs through my blood like the devil that persists through her. Why can you not witness the truth? It is her, not I, that commands your spirit to shiver in the wind.

PROCTOR: (Watching his options fly through the damp forests, only to fall out of reach.) Abigail, (The first-name address catches her strong attention as the two exchange glances,) I shall never again fly from my loving nest to your warm and bewitching bosom. I extend no reason that you shall wait.

ABIGAIL: (Listening intently to the shredding of her heart by her esteemed lover.) Where then shall I turn? Who can control my every thought like John Proctor does? Who will love me like John Proctor does?

In the lifelessness forest, a man rushes through trees as he has once before; this time however, much more determined. Rifle in hand, noises change from a faint whisper to voices classified as those of John Proctor and Abigail Williams. As Parris nears the two, he camouflages himself with the nearby shrubbery. The attentive reverend unfolds his ear to the sound.

PROCTOR: No longer can you yearn for me, for I will no longer look for you. To this, I promise you. (The two edge closer to embrace.)

ABIGAIL: (She look upon her beloved, not aware this will be the last time their eyes will meet.) Oh John, give me not but the truth. Do relinquish your love to me.

PROCTOR: (In a calmer fashion.) Dear Child, I cannot. If together we become, your crooked Uncle will debase my name only more in the village. I will not hold that shame upon my conscience. (Satisfied with his claim, Johnathan Proctor takes his last breath.)

PARRIS: (Stepping out from behind his thicket-covered lair.) Sir, you lie!! (A single shot rings out from his rifle.)

The body of Proctor hits the abysmal terrain. Struck by fear, the two surviving lock eyes for a quick second, before Abigail, overcome with the horror of the preceding event, takes off northward, away from the town. Parris, overcome with his own sense of horror, drops before the inert body. As Parris begins to weep over his break from God, Abigail has not slowed a step as she sprints till she cannot both run and weep. Looking around, she notices her exact location, as the inception of this tragedy. She walk a few steps further to the original circle crafted by Tituba.

ABIGAIL: (Standing over the kettle, she forces her eyes downward into the pot. Holding out her hands, she finds the blood of her inamorato. As she backs away from the circle, a rush of knowledge enters her young mind. She speaks as if confessing to John for all her faults.) I am the cause for the tragedy of those innocent, and those pure of heart. I shall curse the day I was brought forth into this decrepit world. (She begins to whisper as if controlled by a spirit.) I love John Proctor, I love John Proctor, I love John Proctor, I love John Proctor! (She continues, weeping immensely as tears run down her delicate facade.) I love John Proctor! I love John Proctor! (She suddenly obtains the sharp dagger from her pocket, and raises the blade into the blood-spilled night. She begins to scream.) I love John Proctor! I love John Proctor! I LOVE JOHN PROCTOR!

And with one quick plunge of the dagger into her absent soul, a second life has been stolen.



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