The following quiz includes quotes from The Crucible which contain logical fallacies. Choose the best answer.

Mary Warren, young maid for the Proctor family, tries to justify her accusation that Sarah Good (old and poor and sleeps in ditches) practices witchcraft —

Mary: So many times, Mr. Proctor, she came to this very door, beggin’ bread and a cup of cider—and mark this: whenever I turned her away empty, she mumbled.

Elizabeth Proctor: Mumbled! She may mumble if she’s hungry.

Mary: But what does she mumble? . . . Last month—a Monday, I think—she walked away, and I thought my guts would burst for two days afterward. (Act Two, 55-56)

A Stereotyping

B False analogy

C Red herring

D Post hoc


Ezekiel Cheever, a court official, comes to arrest Elizabeth Proctor, an upstanding citizen of Salem. She has been accused of witchcraft by Abigail Williams, a rival for her husband’s affections. Cheever asks if Elizabeth keeps any poppets (dolls) in the house. That day Mary Warren brought home a poppet she had made in the courtroom to keep herself occupied. Cheever sees it, examines it, and finds a needle stuck inside it.

Cheever: The girl, the Williams girl, Abigail Williams, sir. She sat to dinner in Reverend Parris’s house tonight, and without word nor warnin’ she falls to the floor. Like a struck beast, he says, and screamed a scream that a bull would weep to hear. And he goes to save her, and, stuck two inches in the flesh of her belly, he draw a needle out. And demandin’ of her how she come to be so stabbed, she testify it were your [Proctor’s] wife’s familiar spirit pushed it in.

Proctor: Why she done it herself! (Act Two, 72)

A Either/or

B Bandwagon

C Ad hominem

D Non-sequitur

E Circular reasoning


Strong-willed Martha Corey is arrested. Here is part of her interrogation by Judge Hathorne.

Hathorne: Now, Martha Corey, there is abundant evidence in our hands to show that you have given yourself to the reading of fortunes. Do you deny it?

Martha: I am innocent to a witch. I know not what a witch is.

Hathorne: How do you know, then, that you are not a witch? (Act Three, 79-80)

A Circular reasoning

B Either/or

C Red herring


John Proctor and his friend Giles Corey have come to the court to try to get their wives released. The Reverend Parris, whose daughter Betty and niece Abigail Williams started the crying out of “witches” to deflect attention from their mischievous behavior, immediately confronts Proctor and Giles and tells the judge:

Parris: They’ve come to overthrow the court, sir! [And he says it again later.] (Act Three, 84)

A Bandwagon

B Slippery slope

C Hasty generalization

D Stereotype

E False analogy


In the court proceedings, the respectable senior citizen Francis Nurse has brought in a paper that 91 people have signed in support of the arrested women. Judges Hathorne and Danforth want these 91 people arrested for examination. Francis is horrified.

Danforth [to Francis]: No, old man, you have not hurt these people if they are of good conscience. But you must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between. (Act Three, 90)

A Non sequitur

B Either/or

C Circular reasoning

D False analogy

E Red herring


In the courtroom, the Reverend Hale, who is an expert on witchcraft, has begun to doubt Abigail Williams’ honesty. Proctor has just admitted to the court that he had an affair with Abigail.

Hale: I believe him! This girl has always struck me false! She has—
[Abigail with a weird, wild, chilling cry, screams up to the ceiling.]

Abigail: You will not! Begone! Begone, I say!
[When asked what she sees, she claims to see a yellow bird on the ceiling beam.] (Act Three, 109)

A False analogy

B Red herring

C Post hoc

D Non sequitur

E Hasty generalization


All complete. Great job!

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