The Crucible by Arthur Miller Puritans-A Quick Review Came to Massachusetts Bay Colony seeking freedom from religious persecution in Europe. Believed in devoting ones life to God. Believed in hard work, education, and spiritual wealth over material wealth. The Puritans also believed the Devil was a very real presence and was
always lurking and seeking ways to lure victims to him. Life was also very dangerous. Most colonies were on the fringes of civilization, and wars with Native Americans were common. Salem 1692 & The Salem Witch Trials In the winter of 1692 Betty Parris, the young daughter of Salems new minister Samuel Parris, became strangely ill. She experienced hallucinations, seizures, fever, and other odd symptoms. When the local doctor could find no reason for Bettys illness, and
when other young girls began exhibiting strange symptoms, the townspeople began to suspect witchcraft. In late February the group of afflicted girls, including Betty Parris, Mary Warren, and Abigail Williams began accusing women in the town of witchcraft, starting with Reverend Parriss slave Tituba. Salem Witch Trials-The Circle of Accusations Those openly expressing skepticism of trials
Grudge victims Outcasts Tituba The Trials Themselves Judges would admit spectral evidence, or testimony of people who claimed to be visited by a suspects specter (Linder). Ministers, who often lacked any formal legal training, were looked to for guidance.
Evidence that would be excluded from modern courtrooms-hearsay, gossip, stories, unsupported assertions, surmises-was also generally admitted. (Linder). Many accused witches would give false confessions in order to avoid a death sentence. The Salem Witch Trials-The Final Outcome People began to doubt the veracity of the trials and wonder how so many respectable people could be guilty of such crimes.
By the end of the Salem Witch Trials in August of 1692, 19 witches were hanged, one man was pressed to death, and two dogs were executed as suspected accomplices. Contemporary Connections-The Crucible and McCarthyism Watch the following clip on Senator Joseph McCarthy and the red scare. Then, discuss the following questions with a partner: 1. What political ideology did many Americans fear during the 1940s1960s? 2. How did members of Congress, and specifically Joseph
this fear to their advantage? McCarthy, use 3. What similarities can you draw to the discussion we just had about the Salem Witch Trials? Contemporary Connections-The Crucible and McCarthyism The author of The Crucible, Arthur Miller, wrote the play in part as a reaction to
McCarthyism and the fear of communism in the 1950s. In the wake of this fear of communisms spread, Senator Joseph McCarthy claimed more than two hundred card-carrying communists had infiltrated the United States government (Arthur Miller, McCarthyism). Those accused of being communist sympathizers were brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Just like in Salem in 1692, the accused were encouraged to name others to avoid punishment, thus fueling the hysteria and paranoia. The entertainment industry was especially hard hit, with many people losing work, freedoms, and being jailed, often based on unsubstantiated accusation (Arthur
Miller, McCarthyism). The Crucible-Background on the play Set during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, so many of the people historically involved are represented in the play (historical fiction). A crucible has two main meanings: A container of metal employed for heating substances to high temperatures A severe, searching test or trial
The Crucible-Major Characters John Proctor Stern man who hates hypocrisy (look for the irony here) Extremely worried about his reputation and public persona at first Considered the tragic hero of the play, and undergoes a great change from start to finish The Crucible-Major Characters Abigail Williams As an orphan and unmarried woman, she occupies one of the
lowest rungs of Puritan society. She becomes the manipulative, vindictive leader of the group of girls who lead the trials. She is meant to be the villain of the play. She is Reverend Parriss niece The Crucible-Major Characters Reverend Hale A scholar, he is very smart and intellectual, but also rather nave. Like Proctor, he will undergo a dramatic change from the start of the play to the end.
Reverend Hale is brought in to Salem to help find witches and bring them to justice. The Crucible-Additional Characters Elizabeth Proctor-John Proctors wife Reverend Parris-Salems minister; many dont like him, as he is power-hungry and paranoid. Judge Danforth-The main judge at the trials; he feels he is in the right in seeking to root out all witchcraft from Salem. Tituba-Parriss slave that he brought with him from Barbados.
The accused, all people taken from history The girls who are part of Abigails group and who lead the accusations The Crucible Major Themes The Dangers of Intolerance The theocratic society of 1692 Salem essentially outlawed any deviation from social norms At one point Danforth says, You must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or against it, there be no road in between, thus implying that one is either
on board with the trials, and thus on Gods side, or against, and thus with Satan. The Power of Hysteria and Mob-Mentality The more confessions people give, and the more dramatic the girls performances, the more hysterical the town becomes This hysteria allows grudges and resentments to bubble up Survival vs. Integrity Elements of Drama
Tragedy: A play that involves the downfall of the main character Protagonist: The plays central character; usually experiences a radical change Antagonist: Character/force that opposes the main character Internal Conflict: A conflict a characters experiences within him/herself (man vs. self) External conflict: A conflict a character experiences with an outside force (man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. society) Foil: Two character who serve as a sharp contrast to each other
Elements of Drama Stage directions: Give information about setting/props/details of a character Dialogue: Conversation between characters Monologue: A long speech given by one character to another Soliloquy: When a characters speaks his private thoughts out loud, unaware of the audience Aside: Short speech to the audience/character beyond the hearing of others on stage
The Crucible as Tragedy Tragic Hero: A character who, through some flaw in his character, experiences a downfall. (Think Macbeth). Tragic flaw: the flaw inherent in the tragic heros character that leads to his/her demise. (For example, Macbeths ambition to be king, and his weak-mindedness in the face of pressure and suggestion from others) Works Cited Arthur Miller, McCarthyism. PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2012.
. Linder, Douglas. The Witchcraft Trials in Salem: A Commentary. n.p. September 2009. Web. 13 October 2015.
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