"I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!".
As important as it is to keep a good reputation in any society, in theocratic Salem where public and privet moralities are one in the same, and people are paying attention to everyone else's actions; it is crucial to maintain a good standing among the populist. Yet a good reputation is something hard to keep when placed between doing what's right and revealing things that will jeopardize it, or saying nothing and allowing for the unnecessary lost of life to preserve your good name.
The First act starts off with Reverend Parris who has just caught one of his daughters Betty with a group of girls who were all dancing in the forest with a black slave named Tituba. Betty falls into a coma-like state. Not long after, a crowd gathers at the Parris home while rumors of witchcraft fill the town. Having sent for Reverend Hale, an expert on witchcraft, Parris questions Abigail Williams about the events that took place in the forest. She sticks to her story and admits nothing more than dancing. Meanwhile, after her uncle's questioning she gathers up the rest of the girls and informs them not to say a word beyond dancing when asked about their events in the forest. If anyone were to find out what they were doing out there, the town would have them convicted of witchcraft.
Meanwhile the Reverend goes about trying to ease all the town suspicions of witchcraft, by informing them that everything is ok. Shortly after John Procter, resented for his ability to exposes other's foolishness, enters the Parris's house hold to join the crowed. John Procter is a local farmer who lives just outside of the town; he's a stern, harsh-tongued man who hates hypocrisy. Mr. Proctor is uneasy when he sees Abigail, a girl who worked for him who he had an extramarital affair with. Yet only a few know of his adulterous affair, and he means to keep it that way.