Summary and Analysis Act IV: Scene 1



Act IV begins in the Salem jail. Marshall Herrick wakes up Sarah Good and Tituba to move them to a different cell. Sarah and Tituba tell Herrick that they are waiting for the Devil. They plan to fly to Barbados with the Devil.


Several months have passed since the action in the play began. Act I opened in the spring of 1692, and the season is now fall. The court has already executed twelve people from Salem, and has scheduled seven more to die today.

Although Tituba was told in Act I that she would be spared if she revealed her alliance with the Devil, along with her knowledge of other individuals "in truck" with the Devil, she has in fact been imprisoned. Sarah and Tituba have been in prison so long that they have come to believe that they are in league with the Devil. Cold weather, deplorable living conditions, and the lack of food have made them delusional. They tell Herrick that the Devil will transform them into birds so that they can fly to Barbados. Having internalized the accusations of witchcraft, they now use them to create an escape from their situation.

Herrick's willingness to join Sarah and Tituba is noteworthy because he is no longer afraid of the idea of the Devil, nor is he afraid of Sarah or Tituba. At this point in the play the paranoia only remains within the court. The people of Salem have grown weary of the witch trials and the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty they have created.


rile to anger; irritate.