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Putting the Crucible in Context
Transcript of Putting the Crucible in Context
The Salem Witch Trials
The Other Witch Hunt
Miller and History
Arthur Miller did rely heavily on history for much of his play, especially the courtroom scenes.
As you read, consider where he seems to deviate from the historical context.
How would you describe the relationships between the adults in Miller's version of Salem?
Some believed the English Reformation didn't reform the church enough.
These "Puritans" (a term applied from without) had little success in attempting to change religious practices in their homeland.
From 1630-1640, about 20,000 emigrated to New England, especially Massachusetts.
Roots in England
Strict adherence to Biblical law -- an emphasis on moral behavior
Importance of education, especially literacy
Women thought to be spiritual equals to men (though not equal morally or socially)
Hard work and high social standing a key indication of salvation
Beliefs and Values
The so-called "Puritan" view of witchcraft was not unique.
Most Christians of the era believed in demon possession and the efficacy of exorcism.
1947-8: The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC)
The famous question and "naming names"
Two bad choices
Persisted through 1957
Miller's 1957 testimony:
"I could not use the name of
another person and
bring trouble on him."