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Transcript of The Crucible
a container in which metals or other substances are subjected to high temperatures
a place or occasion of severe test or trial (e.g. 'the crucible of combat')
ORIGIN late Middle English: from medieval Latin crucibulum 'night lamp, crucible' (perhaps originally a lamp hanging in front of a crucifix), from Latin crux, cruc- 'cross'
Look at the evidence and make a prediction. What do you think Arthur Miller's play 'The Crucible' is about?
The Crucible - Arthur Miller
An extraordinary life...
One of the leading American playwrights of the 20th Century
Arthur Miller(1915 - 2005)
His mother was forced into an arranged marriage with his father. Because no one in the family could satisfy her intellectual needs, she hired a university student to discuss literature with
His father was a women's clothing manufacturer, who lost everything in the economic collapse of the '30's
Whilst at university, Miller entered plays into a competition and won - twice! This encouraged him to become a playwright
Was married to:
Mary Slattery (university classmate)
Marilyn Monroe (Hollywood actress)
Ingeborg Morath (photojournalist)
Engaged to Agnes Barley (abstract painter). He died before they could marry
Arthur Miller committed his son Daniel to a mental institution when he was 1 week old (Daniel was born with Down's Syndrome)
The Salem Witch Trials - 1692
The Puritans were a religious sect that wanted to purify the Church of England of its Catholic aspects. They were persecuted in their native England, and migrated to America in 1620 to set up a theocracy in which the clergy had authority over both religious and civil life. They practised strict religious discipline.
Three years after 'The Crucible' was written, he was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). He refused to name people he (allegedly) saw at a Communist writer's meeting a decade before
theocracy (n): a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God
clergy (n): the official leaders of religious activities (priests etc.)
Watch the video clip. Don't forget to make notes!
How it all started...
In 1692, several girls in the village of Salem, Massachusetts become intrigued when a West Indian servant tells them stories of magic and voodoo from her native land. Bored and restricted by the oppressive Puritan life, the girls slip into the woods one night and take part in rituals led by Tituba.
One girl, Betty Parris, slips into unconsciousness when her father catches them. She won’t wake up, and this starts the discussion of witchcraft. To avoid punishment, the girls create the story of the “witches” who made them dance and conjure the spells.
It began as a way for the girls to avoid punishment, but then became an ideal way to get revenge on anyone that you didn't like. Later, people started accusing their neighbours of being witches, so that they could steal their land, possessions...or even their husbands!
The Crucible - in a nutshell
Assignment Number 1: Montage
1. Create a
montage of texts that represent a theme of the dramatic text being studied in class. Your montage could comprise texts such as:
still and moving images
2. Write an explanation (300 word minimum) of your montage that assists the reader to understand the theme the montage represents, and your choice of texts for inclusion
a minimum of 7 texts included in montage
referencing conventions must be followed
Class and homework time to complete (remember - we will have NO ACCESS TO COMPUTERS)
But why are you telling us how it all ends before we've even read the play Miss?
We're gonna need a montage...
This is an example only.
A great site to create a prezi:
(not available through the school server)
'The Crucible' - Themes:
A theme is the main subject or idea in a piece of writing, film etc
corruption of justice
lies and deceit
good vs evil
Act 1: (an overture)
Act 3 takes place in the Salem courtroom. This act reveals how justice can be corrupted. As characters with varying and opposing motives take the stand, it becomes clear that the search for justice can be affected by human impulses, both ill and well meant
Act 1 takes place in the home of Reverend Parris. Conflicts, resentments and motives for accusing others all surface in this act, which begins with witchcraft, and ends with a chilling 'crying out' of those who supposedly keep company with the devil. The tragedy of Salem is set in motion.
1. What does the doctor believe is wrong with Betty?
2. Is Abigail's reputation in the town 'white'? What evidence is there from the scene that Abigail is not a 'godly' person?
3. What is the function of Rebecca Nurse in the play?
4. How does John Proctor feel about Reverend Parris?
1. The doctor can find no medical reason for Betty's illness, and suspects that she may be suffering from 'unnatural causes'
2. Abigail does not have a spotless reputation - she was fired by Elizabeth Proctor for having an affair with her husband. She is also a bully towards the girls, and does not respect Reverend Parris's religious beliefs
3. Rebecca Nurse is the voice of reason in this act. She believes that the girls are going through a phase, and will tire of their game soon.
4. John Proctor does not like Reverend Parris, because in his sermons, he "...hardly ever mentions God anymore." He also doesn't like Parris's concern for material things
Act 2 is set in the home of the Proctor's, as the Salem troubles visit their doorstep. Abigail has accused Elizabeth of witchcraft. John realises that Abigail's accusation is a consequence of his affair, and must decide if he has the courage to publically admit his affair, in order to save his wife.
1. Describe what Elizabeth is doing offstage when John arrives home. What does this tell the audience about her?
2. What makes the Reverend suspicious that the Proctors aren't good Christians?
3. Why does Mary feel that she can't tell the court what she knows about Abigail?
4. Who said this (to whom):
a) 'I cannot think that the Devil may own a woman's soul when she keeps it in an upright way as I have'
b) 'We will slide together into our pit; you will tell the court what you know'
1. She is singing to her children. This proves that she is nurturing and kind (not 'wintry', as Abigail described her to John)
2. The Proctors rarely go to church; their youngest is unbaptised; John stumbled when trying to remember all of the 10 Commandments; townsfolk have been gossiping
3. Mary is scared that Abigail will kill her, and reveal the truth about John Proctor's affair
4a) Elizabeth to Hale
b) John to Mary
1. Danforth states that 'a person is either with this court or he be counted against it, there is no road between.' Why is this dangerous thinking?
2. How does Abigail threaten Danforth? What does this tell us about the nature of power in the Salem courtroom?
3. Why does John Proctor say that God is dead?
1. This is dangerous thinking, because it allows no one to remain neutral (grey)
2. Abigail hints that she might 'cry out' against Danforth. She says, "let you beware, Mr Danforth. Think you so mighty that the power of hell may not turn your wits? Beware of it!" This shows us that power in the court room is fluid
3. So much evil has happened against innocent people because of the witch trials, that John thinks God must be dead (otherwise he wouldn't let such bad stuff happen in His name)
The setting turns to the jail as the morning of John's execution arrives. The judges force John to decide whether he will live or die. Proctor must search his soul to discover if he is strong enough to face death, rather than be dishonest. In the end, he finds goodness in himself, by choosing to die.
1. What is the message of this play?
2. If you had to give this play a slogan, what would it be?
3. Why do you think that there was a disproportionate number of women accused of witchcraft, compared to the number of men accused?
4. Why do you think that Miller chose to use the Salem witch trials as a backdrop for his critique of McCarthyism
Assignment 2: Evaluative Essay
Task: Write an essay that evaluates how effetively the texts studied in class position the audience in relation to their themes (revenge, greed etc).
Class and homework time to complete (remember - we will still have no access to computers)
400 - 500 words
Referencing conventions must be followed
Due Fri 13th September - NO EXCUSES!
Have a look at the themes in the list:
In groups of 4, give dot points describing how 'The Crucible' deals with your chosen theme (don't forget to give evidence from the text - preferably a quote)
Good vs Evil
The Corruption of Justice
Lies and Deceit
Theme of your choice
On the left-hand side of your paper:
On the right-hand side:
Give dot points describing how the movie deals with your chosen theme
There are two types of accusation in the play. The first comes from characters seeking revenge or exploiting the panic for personal gain. Others pass on the blame for their misfortunes, but they are not necessarily malicious. Irrational fear deludes them into believing whatever they are told. (No one ever stops to ask why Rebecca should want to harm Mrs Putnam's babies.)
In both the McCarthy trials and the Salem witch-hunt, victims could escape punishment if they denounced others. Tituba is the first to be interrogated. Mr Putnam's threat of hanging produces the desired answer, and thereafter the demoralized slave repeats any names suggested to her. Miller builds a prolonged scene around this minor character to show exactly how the prosecutors went about their business. Tituba represents all that were terrified into naming the 'witches'.
The pressures of irrational fear are most vividly illustrated in their effects on Mary Warren. Mary is terrified from the moment she steps inside the court, but she bears up well under cross-examination. Encouraged by Proctor, she refuses to withdraw her claim that the girls are fraudulent, even when bullied by Judge Hathorne. Yet she begins to crumple as soon as Abigail sets the girls loose on her. Within minutes, Mary is caught up in their hysteria and she disintegrates. In her final moments on stage, she rushes for protection to the very person responsible for her ordeal.
A fair trial in Salem is made impossible by the close links between church and State. Those who interpret God's laws do not imagine themselves capable of human error. As a clergyman in a theocratic society (one where the church writes the laws), Mr Hale is allowed to speak on behalf of the state, although he has no legal training.
Reverend Hale discovers the first Witch - Tituba - without any judicial enquiry at all. It is through him that Abigail and her followers become linked to the court as official witch-finders. “The entire contention of the state ... is that the voice of Heaven is speaking through the children,” Danforth tells Proctor. Yet the haphazard nature of the accusations leaves them wide open to abuse by people like Thomas Putnam.
During the trials, Danforth manipulates both defendants and legal procedure to suit his purpose. He never attempts to look at probabilities, or weigh the defendants' motives. He allows Hathorne to score points based on sheer verbal trickery – “How do you know, then, that you are not a witch?” Danforth does the same himself when he entraps Elizabeth into lying to save her husband's reputation. He also uses leading questions to get the answers that suit him (though not always successfully).
The greatest injustice in the whole conduct of the witch trials is that the inquisitors offer a reprieve to those that confess, provided they name other suspects. Proctor points out the obvious consequences to Hale, but the minister refuses to face the truth. So the witch-hunt swells to an enormous size and infects other parts of the province. The nightmare only ends when the whole community is on the brink of revolt.
Corruption of Justice
Fear is a dominant emotion in The Crucible. Mr Parris is afraid that his rebellious parishioners will use Betty's strange illness to oust him from his position; Abigail fears that Reverend Hale will find out what she did in the forest, so she embarks on an elaborate hoax that almost destroys the village. Ashamed to confess his affair with Abigail, John Proctor speaks up too late. This is only to say that the villagers of Salem are like people everywhere - they have secrets to hide and worry about their reputations.
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
As you watch this movie, make notes on how common themes are represented. You will need to take notes, and write down quotes to support your essay.
Draw up a table in your book for each of your three themes:
Fear in 'Revenge of the Sith'
Let's get started!