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Transcript of The Crucible
Irony of Situation - " Adultery, John." (67).
The fact that John forgets the very commandment he broke is a case of Situational Irony, where his forgetting directly contradicts his teachings.
Simile - “...and where she walks the crowd parts like the sea for Israel,” (53).
The simile compares Abigail to Moses: how her 'power' shuns people away from her, as Moses performed with the sea.
Metaphor - "Theology, sir, is a fortress; no crack in a fortress may be accounted small." (67).
This comparison by Rev. Hale refers to John's forgetting of the commandment, and by comparing theology to a fortress he shows how many cracks can bring even a castle down, as many sins can bring you down.
Personification - "...still an
everlasting funeral marches round your heart." (54). John uses the personification of a funeral to describe Elizabeth's unwillingness to forgive him, as while a funeral doesn't actually march, the description fits the bleak reminder.
Allegory - The entire play is an allegory for the Red Scare and McCarthyism. Arthur uses this as social commentary to illustrate how the U.S. has paralleled Salem in it's hysteria.
Dramatic Irony - How Elizabeth Proctor and all the accused are not actually witches we, alongside those accused are the only ones that know they are innocent, and the girls are faking. The townspeople and the judges, on the other hand do not.
Language- “It’s winter in here yet.” (51). - Elizabeth uses a metaphor to describe her relationship with Proctor. At that time, winter was fatally cold.
Sentence Structure- The author writes in a simple style and doesn’t use more than necessary words to convey his idea.
Tone: Depressing, irate, tensed
Mood: Aggravated, cynical
Diction- The dialogue and the narrative is in an older, more formal version of english but isn’t hard to understand. This emphasizes the setting of the play. Arthur also uses figurative language to set the mood of the play.
“The vestry room of the Salem meeting house, now serving as the anteroom of the General Court.” (83). The meeting house where the community solved problems is now a courthouse for condemning people to death.
“The room is solemn, even forbidding.” (83) - The description gives the courthouse a negative, stern feeling. It makes the reader see the formality and serious attitude felt while inside.
“In history he cut a villainous path, and there is very little good to be said for him.”- The author describes in a negative way before Paris’ character is even shown. This leads the reader to believe that Paris is a bad character.
“If I must answer that I will leave and I will not come back again!, ”(111)- In this part of the story Abigail has the most dominant voice in the story, she can answer the things she wants, and is able to control someone’s life.
Verbal Irony - “Oh, Mary, this is a black art to change your shape. No, I cannot, I cannot stop my mouth; it’s God’s work I do.” (115).
Abigail, despite literally causing the deaths of 19 people and the accusations of many other innocents, still believes herself to be doing 'God's work'.
Allusion - “Now remember what the angel Raphael saint to the boy Tobias. Remember it. “Do that which is good, and no harm shall come to thee.”' (95).
John is alluding to the Bible, where Raphial gives comfort to the boy. It is also a case of Situational Irony, where if Mary is to "do good", she will be placing herself in harm's way.
Hyperbole - “There might also be a dragon with five legs in my house, but no one has ever seen it.” (104).
It is obvious that John does not have a dragon sitting in his living room, but his over exageration of the description shows the stupidity in his wife's accusation.
Figurative- “She means to dance with me on my wife’s grave,” (110).
“A fart on Putnam, that is what I say to that!”(99).
These are meant to be figurative descriptions of the characters to help the reader better understand Abigail and Giles's actions.
Pun - ‘”My, they’re heavy!” “They must be; they are weighted with authority.”’ (36)
This is a play on words, using the meaning of weigted with authority as the meaning for mass.
Poppet - Shows how the townspeople were Abigail's playthings. The doll symbolizes that the child has the power to direct the course of the game of make believe.
Ropes - Symbolizes that Abigail had the powers of the puppetmaster who could control the life or death of almost anyone in the town.
Slaves - She symbolizes the role of a scapegoat in the story. When in the story Abigail is questioned, she blamed everything on Tituba because she knew a slave cannot argue her point and no one will believe Tituba.
Yellow Bird - The yellow bird is symbolism for taint. A yellow bird is usually a good sign but Abigail twisted it into a familiar for evil deeds.
Reputation (Honor) - Symbolizes how people wouldn’t confess because of their pride; your name, reputation, and honor in this society is everything. There are people like John Proctor, who gives up his life, but won't give up his own name.
Bravery - Is symbolized by
- Giles Corey: He gave up his life so his friend.
- John Proctor: Would not give in without a fight and denied seeing anyone else with the Devil.
- Elizabeth Proctor: Denied John’s affair to save him. Went with the executioners.
- Rebecca Nurse: Stood up to the court with John Proctor and Giles Corey.
Candlesticks Changed from Pewter to Gold- Represents the change in the minister of salem from one of good faith to someone only acting like a minister for money.
Seven Dead Babies - Symbolising the Seven DEADLY Sins and punishment for them.
John Forgetting Adultery - John forgetting adultery symbolises just that: he would like to forget his adultery with Abigail.
Needle - Signifies a precise strike to the town, people, and John by Abigail accusing Elizabeth, as she and John as integral parts of the community.
Forest - Overwhelming fear surrounding the town.
The Crucible- The name of the play itself is symbolic. A crucible symbolises a difficult test/challenge or a place/situation that forces people to change or make difficult decisions. The challenge can clearly be shown throughout the story. Its use as an item is also symbolic a crucible can withstand high levels of temprature and pressure. This meaning is ironic being that the town nor the villagers couldn't stand the pressure of most of the events in the play. i.e. Betty or Mary. However it is also very sensible, being that the trials brought people's impurities (aka faults, sins) to the surface. Just like a crucible would.
Critical Thinking Questions
1. How does Arthur Miller's choice of Figurative Language, such as the numerous allusions to The Bible help set the tone and mood of the play?
2. Why do you think Arthur Miller chose a Yellow bird as the main familiar and not something more ominous, such as a crow or raven?
3. What elements at the start of the play allowed for the hysteria to ensue, and what elements are formed throughout the play that allow it to continue? Which do you think are the most important of these?
4. How do you think thw author's attitude towards the situations in The Crucible affect the outcome?
5. Why do you think the Abigail and the other girls were given such authority? What input was needed to change the beleifs of the court agianst Abigail?
6. What relating factors from the play do you think would still be true today and who will this affect the most?
7. What role did fear play in creating authority?
8. How is it different reading the play, as to going to a performance or watching the movie?
Music: sawsquarenoise by Sumi Suteshi