The play starts in some New England woods. It's at the height of the witch accusation craze. A group of girls are found dancing in the woods and are accused of associating with the devil. They say a slave named Tituba made them do it. Tituba pleads innocent and one of the girls named Abigail starts accusing other women.
One of the girls named Betty falls into a coma. A man named John Proctor goes to Abigail, the lead instigator of the accusations, to beg her to stop. He recently had an affair with Abigail, and she still wants to be romanticly involved with him. So, she says no to make him jealous.
John goes home to his wife Elizabeth, who he loves very much. Thier servant Mary comes home and tells them Elizabeth was accused of witchcraft in court. Mary said that she defended Elizabeth and that she was not going to jail. She gave the Proctors a poppet she had sewed during the trial.
To make John even angrier, Abigail accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft. An inspector comes, and when he sees the poppet he says these are trademarks of the devil. He says Elizabeth has to go to jail and wait for her trial. John tries to defend her, but he doesn't know his ten commandments and Elizabeth is taken away.
John goes to Abigail to curse her for accusing Elizabeth. Abigail tries to convince John to leave Elizabeth. She says if he does she will help Elizabeth in court. John is furious and leaves, taking Mary and some of the other townsfolk to help Elizabeth in court.
Abigail heads to court with her group of friends, preparing to get Elizabeth executed. To be continued...