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The Crucible

Introduction to "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller

Melissa Mason

on 1 April 2013

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Transcript of The Crucible

Arthur Miller (1915-2005) Prominent American playwright,
essayist, and author Best known works
"The Crucible"
"Death of a Salesman"
"All My Sons" Committed liberal: anti-government
and pro-working class Married to Marilyn Monroe (1956-1961) Marriage was thought to be a
cover-up for his “communist”
activities 1957: Miller was found guilty of contempt
of Congress because he refused to reveal
the names of a literary circle suspected of
Communist affiliation. (reversed in 1958) Puritan Beliefs Refresher Depravity of man—only the
chosen elect would be saved God and Satan were active presences
in the natural world around them Natural signs must be read
to see God’s will or discover
the Devil’s tricks God’s grace cannot be earned
—no redemption for sin. Salem Witch Trials American settlers brought
their superstitions with them. They saw “signs” in any natural event. They believed there were evil witches that harmed pigs, cattle, crops, and children because times were difficult in the New World failed crops
pirates Two views of witchcraft: #1: Isolated individuals or members of a
small coven. They meant to help
themselves and harm others (material gain). #2: Heretical members of a Satanic cult,
intending to destroy the Puritan
outposts in America. Sometimes the devil had a verbal
agreement with his conspirators. Other times, he acted formally, where
the witches had to sign a large black
book in blood. After signing, the final act required
placing the Devil’s mark on the body.
The marks could be anything birthmarks
skin discolorations
they had to be insensitive to pain The older the person was,
the easier to find marks on her.
(age spots, warts…) Strong resentment against people
who could not work hard. Old people could not produce. Putting old women in jail
(where they would eventually die)
or killing them was a good way to
get rid of useless members of society. Then they could confiscate her property. Possession Witches ordered demons to
enter the bodies of their victims
and torture them. mentally handicapped
physically deformed
suicide Men outnumbered women The marriageable young woman
was an asset with many years of hard work in front of her. The True Story 1692 Salem, MA:
Betty Parris (9) and
Abigail Williams (11)
fell ill with convulsions. Doctor couldn’t diagnose their illness He proclaimed them to be bewitched First 3 accused Sarah Good
A beggar Sarah Osbourne
A bedridden old woman And Tituba
An Indian slave 20 deaths 14 women 6 men many more imprisoned Eventually madness stopped Brave people wrote against witch trials questioned motives of girls and spectral evidence No one took responsibility The Theory All participants (accusers, judges, jurors) acted not out of malice, but were controlled by the Devil He wanted to destroy the Puritan settlements. Therefore he made it seem as there were witches in the area when there really were none. The residents accepted the theory Queen Anne of England absolved
them of all responsibility. "The Crucible" Crucible (noun): a vessel that withstands
heat and does not melt; a severe test; a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development Conflicts & motifs Human cruelty in the name of righteousness The individual and the community Justice vs. retribution and revenge Losing integrity due to social pressures
(economic / hypocrisy / hysteria)
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