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The Puritans and the Age of Faith

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Clifton Pape

on 7 September 2012

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Transcript of The Puritans and the Age of Faith

A heat-resistant container used for melting metal in a furnace

A severe test or trial

One who can be crucified or sacrificed – literally cruc = cross and ible = worthy of - Allegory – a story in which people, things, and events are related to another story or historical event
The Crucible is both a religious and political allegory

- Allusion – a indirect reference to an outside piece of literature, historical figure, or event from history that impacts meaning by association or comparison -Verbal irony – when the intended meaning of a word or phrase is the opposite of its literal meaning
Why is this especially important in drama?

-Paradox – a statement or event that leads to a contradiction
e.g. – the cruelty of “good” Christians during the trials The Puritans
and the Age of Faith Who Were the Puritans? - The Puritans were a collection of Christian faiths who believed that the Church of England had become corrupt
lust for power
little focus on God - The Puritans were persecuted in England
- They left for Holland in the early 1600s, but were persecuted there as well -In the 1620s, most of the Puritans emigrated to America and settled in what is now New England
Ships carried entire families – men, women, and children
Different from previous settlers, who were almost solely men
All were needed to work and serve the community -The Puritans' goal was to create a productive, morally just community
They referred to this idea as a “city on the hill”
-They also strove to spread Christianity to the New World
This often caused strife with the local natives Puritan Beliefs -Central belief is in God’s supreme authority over man as expressed in the Bible
-Every person is born with Original Sin
Because we are all descended from Adam and Eve, we are all tainted by sin
-Only a few are selected for salvation, and God saves those he wishes - Jesus only died for the chosen few
- Hell is a real, physical place, and being sent there is the Puritans' greatest fear
-Those elected by God – the Saints – have full power to interpret the will of God
Why might this be dangerous? -Women were believed to have been corrupted by Eve’s actions
For this reason, women were seen as being more susceptible to the Devil’s temptations
This was also used as an excuse to marginalize women within Puritan society
-Women were still seen as important though
They kept the house, which was viewed as a “little church,” and a true reflection of a family's devotion
Responsible for raising children – needed discipline, obedience, and faith -An emphasis on education for everyone, but especially for leaders – this is one of the reasons we have public education today (lucky you!)
Why did everyone need to be educated?? -Simplicity in worship
Objected to ornamentation and ritual in the church
No singing outside of church, and no wicked solos
Dancing was not allowed
Emotions were dangerous things that led down a path to the dark side (the same reason you can’t grind on each other at school dances) - The Puritans also believed that the woods were dangerous and a place of evil, the last realm of the Devil
Why? Think about where they lived. Puritan Writers -Typical types of writing included journals and sermons. Creative fiction was not allowed.
Some poetry was written, but only about God
-Purpose was to make clear a mysterious God and make Him more relevant to the universe
-Everything had to glorify God
-Puritan Plain Style – like the rest of their lives, Puritan writing was simple, straightforward, and reflected the character and scope of the reading public The Great Awakening -In the late 1600’s there was a crisis of faith
-As the original Puritan settlers grew older, they found that the next generation wasn’t as fervently faithful
-Families started to move away from central parish towns into more wide-spread communities
-1730s-1750s – a period of religious revival known as The Great Awakening
Traveling revivals were held to “awaken” sleeping spiritual lives less this more this Jonathan Edwards -One of the most important Puritan ministers to come out of the Great Awakening
-Entered Yale at 13 and became a minster at 23
-Usually spoke quietly, reasonable, and logically
-Was not known for the “preaching of terror” until “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
-Believed that God was all-powerful and that humans had no free will
-Was not afraid to call people out on their sins – this made him both feared and unpopular The Salem Witch Trials -Hysteria broke out in Salem Village, Massachusetts in 1692
-Numerous people were accused of witchcraft and were prosecuted by a court of law
The Puritans lived in a theocracy (rule by God)
Witchcraft was therefore both a religious sin (according to the Bible) and against the law (since the Bible essentially was the law)
-Over 150 people were arrested and imprisoned
-Twenty-nine people were convicted of the crime of witchcraft
-Nineteen people (fourteen women and five men) were hanged, along with two dogs
-One man was crushed to death under a pile of stones
-The youngest person arrested was a four-year-old girl McCarthyism -After World War II, when the Soviet Union installed communist regimes in various parts of the world, and during the Korean War, Americans became increasingly afraid that communists would infiltrate our society and topple it from the inside
There were actual cases of spies living in suburban American neighborhoods, but mostly this was all blown out of proportion -In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) charged that he had a list with the names of 205 Communists in the U.S. State Department
McCarthy was appointed to head the House Un-American Activities Committee to seek out and prosecute American communists
McCarthy’s committee accused people of communism and forced them to prove their innocence, abusing this power to damage political opponents and those who spoke out against McCarthy and his politics
Under his leadership, people were guilty until proven innocent
The accused were given the opportunity to prove their innocence by naming others who were involved in communist activities
This era and practice became known as McCarthyism and the Second Red Scare, and lasted from the late 1940s to the late 1950s - A playwright who was active during the McCarthy era saw similarities between what was happening in America and what had occurred during the Salem Witch Trials
- He wrote The Crucible in 1953 as a reaction to the McCarthy mentality
- Ironically, Miller himself was questioned by the HUAC in 1956, asked to name his colleagues, refused, and was convicted of contempt of court and sentenced to thirty days in prison (becoming, in essence, one of the characters from his own play!) Arthur Miller - So how accurate is The Crucible to what happened in reality?
Miller had no evidence to preserve the historical personalities of the characters, but all of the characters are real people involved in the trials
Some characters were fused from two or more people involved. For example, we see only three judges in the play, but there were actually many judges in reality
The number of girls involved was reduced and some of their ages were altered
The judicial sentences and fates of characters in the play are exactly what befell their real-life counterparts Historical Fiction Literary Terms -Theocracy – the rule of a state by God or a god
-Puritanism – extreme or excessive strictness in matters of morals and religion

-Tragedy – a serious play with an unhappy ending brought about by the characters’ moral weakness (eg. hamartia), psychological maladjustment, or social pressure
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