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The Crucible


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Title: The Crucible

The Crucible
An Introduction
Warm Up Please write a short journal entry for
the following
  • Do you feel that Americans should have the right
    to believe in a governmental system that is
    different from our own? Explain.
  • Do you believe in a right to free speech?
    Explain. Are there any types of speech that
    should be restricted or banned? Why or why not?

  • Take notes on 3 facts you learned about
  • The Salem Witch Trials
  • McCarthy/McCarthyism
  • The Crucible

  • Context notes
  • Vocabulary, The Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism,

Key vocabulary
  1. AllegoryA story with a literal and a symbolic
    meaning. An extended metaphor objects,
    persons, and actions represent a meaning
    outside of the actual story. The underlying
    meaning may have moral, religious, or
    political significance.
  2. Crucible A severe test a vessel used for melting
    and separating substances at extremely high
  3. Theocracy A form of government in which a
    religion and its leaders govern the
  4. Persecution The persistent mistreatment of an
    individual or group by another group
    can be religious, ethnic, or political

  • 5. Communism A political theory advocating
    public ownership of property.
  • 6. McCarthyism A period of anti-Communist
    suspicion in the U.S. from the late
    1940s to the late
  • 1950s.
  • 7. Mass hysteria A socially contagious frenzy
    of irrational behavior in a group of
    people as a reaction to an event.
  • 8. Blacklist A list of people who are being
    denied a particular privilege such as
    being part of a social circle or
    career field.
  • 9. Integrity Moral uprightness honesty
    faithfulness to high moral standards honor

The Crucible, a drama (play) by Arthur Miller,
  • Literally about the Salem Witch trials, 1692.
  • Allegory addressing the witch hunt for
    Communist Party sympathizers, mid-20th century.

Setting Salem, Mass
  • Early America
  • Small town mentality
  • Puritan theocracy
  • Atmosphere of unity but also repression in order
    to survive and thrive as a new society in a new

Puritans and the Salem witch trials
  • Searching for tolerance but they were intolerant.
  • Believed devil witches were real
  • 20 innocent executed

Rivalries erupted
  • Changes transforming Salem town village
  • Putnam family resisted change
  • Reverend Parris wants respect money

Accusations of witchcraft
  • Tituba confesses blames others
  • Spectral Evidence
  • The spirit of living witches which can only be
    seen by the afflicted children.

McCarthyism, a modern witch hunt
  • The Crucible allegory using the Salem witch
    trials to represent McCarthyism.
  • Senator Joe McCarthy the House Committee on
    Un-American Activities began exposing people with
    Communist sympathies.
  • Reputations ruined accused were often

Themes The Crucible
  • Politics
  • Morality Morals
  • Society

  • Politically motivated persecution
  • Personal political freedom for every citizen
  • Political persecution as a tool for distracting
    attention away from problems
  • - repression greed 1690s
  • - race gender inequalities 1950s
  • Accusers look morally superior

Morality Morals
  • Accusations wrong actions due to lack of
    personal responsibility integrity vs.
    deliberate cruelty or evil.
  • Gods precious gift life of spiritual
    political freedom moral integrity
  • Triumph of moral integrity

  • Societys response to events within the community
  • Peer pressure
  • Mass hysteria

Please reread your warm up and then answer
  • How does this historical context relate your
    beliefs about political freedom and freedom of

Senator Joseph McCarthy
  • The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, was written in
    1953. The events in the play are based on
    real-life situations that occurred in the 1600s
    in Salem, Massachusetts. The story is about how a
    town can be thrown into hysteria because of the
    actions of a few young girls. The story details
    how serious events are fueled by superstition and
    false accusations. The Crucible is an allegory,
    where characters and events are symbols for
    something else. In the story, some of the
    characters are accused of witchcraft. The idea of
    witchcraft was so frightening to people in the
    17th century that the only way to deal with it
    was to put those accused to death. In the 1950s,
    Communism was perceived in the same way by
    American society. Those who believed in Communism
    were accused of treason. Arthur Miller uses the
    Salem witch trials as a commentary on modern day

The story takes place in Salem, Massachusetts,
in the year, 1692. In this time period, Salem is
predominately Puritan. Puritans fled England to
escape religious persecution and to establish
their own colony where they would be free to
worship as they pleased. Growing numbers of
non-Puritan English merchants also populate the
village, however, and this leads to tension and
insecurity. Puritans do not believe in recreation
for amusement and are rather strict in their
belief. Wilderness borders Salem on the west.
Fear of Indian attacks, wild animals, and the
other unknown evils that the Puritans believe
inhabit the forest lead to a climate of unrest
and fear. You may notice the seemingly
grammatically incorrect speech in the play. Forms
of the verb be were used differently in the 1600s
than today. In addition to grammatical changes,
the title Goody may seem odd to you. Goody is
equal to our modern day title of Mrs. and does
not indicate the moral integrity of the character
Novel Setting
The People
Reverend Samuel Parris Controversial and
insecure minister of Salem.

Tituba Negro slave brought from Barbados by
Parris. She is accused of witchcraft first and
calls out the names of others in an attempt
to save herself.
Abigail Williams 17-year-old niece of Parris. An
orphan, she lives with her uncle. She leads the
girls in their accusations.
The People
John Proctor Farmer and protagonist in the play.
He is a tragic hero and the first to expose the
girls as frauds.
Elizabeth Proctor Dutiful, faithful, though
often chilly, wife of John Proctor.
Deputy Governor Danforth
The People
Reverend John Hale An expert on witches called
in from neighboring Beverly by Parris.
The Afflicted
Mercy Lewis Servant for the Putnams. She is
friends with Abigail and is one of the
Betty Parris 10-year-old daughter of Rev.
Parris. One of the first girls to beafflicted.
Susanna Walcott Abigails friend, although
slightly younger. She is one of the afflicted
Mary Warren Meek and insecure servant for the
Proctors. Also friends with Abigail and is one of
the afflicted.
The People
Mrs. Ann Putnam Wife of Thomas Putnam. Thomas
Putnam Wealthy husband of Ann Putnam
Rebecca Nurse Elderly, sweet, respected figure
of 72 years. She seems to be the voice of reason
and calm in the community. Giles Corey
Cantankerous, elderly gentleman of 83 years who
often sues his neighbors. He is a man of
principles and dies rather than sell out a friend.
Francis Nurse Husband of Rebecca. A sweet,
elderly man. Ezekiel Cheever Clerk of the court
that serves arrest warrants. Marshal Herrick
Constable of the jail. Often drunk.
The People
Deputy Governor of MA He presides over the
hearings and is more interested in order than
justice. Sarah Good Homeless woman, one of the
first accused. She confesses in a hope to save
herself. Hopkins Jail guard.
Salem Witch Trials
  • What is Communism?
  • a theory or system of social organization based
    on the holding of all property in common, actual
    ownership being ascribed to the community as a
    whole or to the state.2.(often initial capital
    letter ) a system of social organization in which
    all economic and social activity is controlled by
    a totalitarian state dominated by a single and
    self-perpetuating political party.
  • Anti-Communism Propaganda (1948)

Arthur Miller
Putting it All Together
  • McCruciblism