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The Crucible, The Salem Witch Trials, and McCarthyism

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Tonya Janssen

on 14 September 2015

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Transcript of The Crucible, The Salem Witch Trials, and McCarthyism

Puritans, The Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism, AND
The Crucible

The Puritan Way
Religion, Religion, Religion
The Sabbath
Strict Order in the Church
The church was usually a small, bare building
Men on one side, women on the other
The servants and slaves crowded near the door, into a loft, or a balcony
No music--felt that music and celebrating were not appropriate in the church meeting house.
Salem, Massachusetts and the History of Witchcraft
The most infamous occurrence involving the Puritans were the events that transpired in Salem, Mass. in 1692
The events which led to the witch trials in Salem actually occurred in what is now the town of Danvers, then a parish of Salem Town, known as Salem Village.
Launching the hysteria was the bizarre, seemingly inexplicable behavior of two young girls; the daughter, Betty, and the niece, Abigail Williams, of the Salem Village minister, Reverend Samuel Parris.
19 accused witches were hanged between June and September 1692.
1 accused male was pressed to death
As many as thirteen "witches" died in prison.
**The McCarthy era's anti-communist trials destroyed lives and friendships.
The Crucible
So what does all of this have to do with
The Crucible?
The Puritans
The "Witch House" dates back to the first
Puritan settlers (1642). It was the home of
a witch trial judge, Jonathan Corwin (not in the Crucible).
The Salem Witch Trials (cont.)
**Don't get too attached to any of the characters in the play
“It would probably never have occurred to me to write a play about the Salem witch trials of 1692 had I not seen some astonishing correspondences with that calamity in the America of the late 40s and early 50s.”

“My basic need was to respond to a phenomenon which, with only small exaggeration, one could say paralyzed a whole generation and in a short time dried up the habits of trust and toleration in public discourse.”

“The object was to destroy the least credibility of any and all ideas associated with socialism and communism, whose proponents were assumed to be either knowing or unwitting agents of Soviet subversion. “

The Red Scare--fear of Communism around the United States

Senator Joseph McCarthy accused over 200 famous people of being Communists. They were called to testify. The accused include: Lucille Ball ("I Love Lucy"), Ronald Reagan (though he became a "friendly witness" and named names of those he reportedly saw at Communist meetings), Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, and of course, Arthur Miller
And finally.......
The Crucible
is a play written by Arthur Miller in 1953. It appears to be a depiction of the Salem Witch Trials; however, Miller admits that the play was written about the McCarthy era.
Throughout the course of the unit, we will explore the similarities between the play and the McCarthy era. We will also study the characters, and at the end of the unit, you will write your first formal paper: literary analysis.
Unit Requirements:
We will begin reading each Act in class, you will be responsible for finishing them at home.
Reading checks at the beginning of each class.
Participate in ALL class discussions
Complete guided notes on each Act
Literary Analysis Prompt
**I will NOT give the essay requirements now. I simply want you to begin thinking about what you will write.
In the movie, Mean Girls, Janis states, “ And evil takes a human form in Regina George. Don't be fooled because she may seem like your typical selfish, back-stabbing slut faced ho-bag, but in reality, she's so much more than that.” While Mean Girls was produced in 2004, and The Crucible was written in 1952, both works promote a rather new-aged idea: the female villain. Compare the characters of Regina George or Cady Heron and Abigail Williams and the characteristics they exemplify which supersede the time between them. Argue which of these girls is the most malevolent. For starters, in Mean Girls, who is the villain?
Arthur Miller's quotes on the play...

Arrived in the early 1600s to practice their fundamentalist form of Christianity

a movement in American Protestantism that stresses the infallibility of the Bible not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record

a system of government in which there is no separation between church and state,
The Puritans
Religion and World Views
Humans are flawed (evil)
• God has chosen a select number of people to join him in Heaven as his elect dictated by The Bible
• Only place of significance was the next world, Heaven or Hell

Writing Style
Plain writing style free of figurative language
Did not read or write for pleasure as people commonly do today.
The Puritans
Full transcript