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The Crucible


Title: The Crucible- Overture Notes Subject: Amer. Lit. Author: Summit High School Last modified by: Summit Created Date: 9/30/1999 8:56:00 PM Document presentation ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Crucible

The Crucible
  • Overture Notes

  • In the 1600s, Puritans settled on the East coast
    of the United States. They brought with them the
    hope of religious freedom, but instead became
    embroiled in hysteria over the existence of
    witches. They had been persecuted in their native
    England, but they created a theocracy and
    eventually persecuted others.

Why did it happen?
  • It began as a way for the oppressed girls to
    avoid being punished.
  • It then became an ideal way to get revenge on
    anyone whom you disliked.
  • People started accusing their neighbors of being
    witches so they could steal their farmland.
  • People accused others of being witches if they
    wanted to steal their husbands or wives or

  • Most of those accused of being witches were
  • Many were healers, and used plants to heal
  • Many were without family, and this made them easy
  • They were people who did not fit in with the
    mainstream for some reason.

  • Those accused of being witches were most often
    found guilty. Sometimes they were sentenced to
    be tied to a rock dunked in a pond, and if they
    sank, they were declared innocent. Innocent. If
    they somehow survived the dunking, they were
    obviously witches, and they were executed.
  • Most of those found guilty of witchcraft were
  • One man was pressed to death with rocks because
    he refused to plead guilty or innocent, insuring
    that his sons still inherited his lands.

How did it start?
  • In 1692, several girls in the village of Salem,
    Massachusetts became intrigued when a West Indian
    servant told them stories of magic and voodoo
    from her native land.
  • Bored and restricted by the oppressive Puritan
    life, the girls slipped into the woods one night
    and conjured love charms and hexes.
  • One girl, Betty Parris, slipped into
    unconsciousness when her father caught them. She
    wouldnt wake up, and this started the discussion
    of witchcraft. To avoid punishment, the girls
    created the story of the witches who made them
    dance and conjure the spells.

  • established 40 years before
  • work ethic leads to increasing economic
  • no literature- seen as vain enjoyment
  • holidays time for worship
  • idle people sent to court

  • harsh wilderness
  • threats from Indian attacks

Puritan Attitudes
  • Indians were heathens who could not be
  • Intolerant of other religions (even though they
    were persecuted)
  • Belief that they were chosen

Puritan Society
  • Theocracy- combination of state and religion,
    leaders are divinely guided
  • Theocracy established to maintain unity, protect
    Puritan beliefs, and enforce order

  • Reverend Parris

Parris is a wormy little character. Miller says
in his notes that he found nothing redeemable
about the historical Parris. As a result, he
evidently felt no need to make his fictional
version any better. First of all Parris is
greedy. The Reverend gives weak justifications,
but never denies any of the accusations. Very
concerned about his reputation
Thomas Putnam
  • Turned down as a minister
  • Daughter, Ruth, afflicted
  • Wife lost seven of eight children
  • Resentment felt toward village
  • Son of the richest man in village

John Proctor
  • Farmer in mid-thirties
  • Reveals hypocrites
  • Has an affair with Abigail Williams
  • Proctor was a stand-up guy who spoke his mind.
  • Around town, his name was synonymous with honor
    and integrity. He took pleasure in exposing
    hypocrisy and was respected for it. Most
    importantly, John Proctor respected himself.

  • Villain Extraordinaire
  • Abigail is vengeful, selfish, manipulative, and a
    magnificent liar.
  • This young lady seems to be uniquely gifted at
    spreading death and destruction wherever she
    goes. She has an eerie sense of how to manipulate
    others, to gain control over them. All these
    things add up to make her a marvelous antagonist.

Reverend Hale
  • Considered and expert in the ways of the Devil
  • Called to Salem by Reverend Paris to investigate
  • This guy has trained and trained to be the best
    witch-hunter ever, and he's psyched to finally
    get a chance to show off his stuff.
  • Though he's probably a little full of himself,
    but ultimately his goal is to valiantly fight the
    Devil. What could be wrong with that? Well, a
    whole lot.

Giles Cory
  • Often blamed for hardships
  • In his eighties
  • Giles Corey is a strong old man and has only
    recently converted to Christianity. He's
    likeable, but is not too bright.
  • His biggest bumble in the play is when brings up
    the fact that his wife reads strange books.
  • To Giles, any book is strange and the idea of a
    woman wanting to read totally blows his mind. His
    mention of this fact leads to an accusation that
    his wife is a witch

Goody Putnam
  • Lost seven of eight childern in infancy
  • Convinced the Devil took her children
  • Resents Rebecca Nurse

  • Reverend Parriss slave from Barbados
  • The first one to confess to witchcraft
  • Conjures spirits with the girls in the woods