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Transcript of The Crucible
The Crucible took place during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. During this time, Salem was predominantly Puritan. Due to the Puritan ideals at the time, The Crucible reinforces traditional gender roles for men and women.
The Marxist Lens
Historical and Biographical Lens
McCarthyism and the House Committee on Un-American Activities
The Formalist Lens
The Formalist approach analyzes the structure and literary aspects of a work to better understand its meaning.
Marxists believe that ones social, cultural, political and intellectual status is determined purly from their economic status. (Economic Darwinism) The play depicts how basic human desire can lead people to do anything to get what they want.
Danforth was the one in charge of prosecution. He continued to sentence people to death, without the right to a lawyer (as seen in the quote above) even after he was presented with evidence that witchcraft wasn't real because it made him more respectable.
Parris is a Marxist trying to climb his way up in life. In the play, Parris also changes his veiws on witchcraft twice, first believing in it, then not, then believing again, according to popular belief. He does this as a leg in his journey toward respect, which he has obtained by sticking to popular opinion in society.
Constantly in disputes over land, Thomas Putnam and his family sent several people, including George and Rebecca Nurse, to their deaths with false accusations of witchcraft and the murder of several children. Putnam attained much land due to their convictions, considered as valuable as tangible money at the time, making him very wealthy, though disliked.
By means of manipulation, Abigail Williams seeks control in the Puritan society where women are almost completely disreguarded. The quote above demonstrates the length Abigail is willing to go to gain control. Her manipulation is also seen in the case of John Proctor, who was highly successful and respected in the community. She started the witchcraft scare and sent all people who upset her to the gallows, including Proctor when he ended their brief relationship.
John Proctor was one of the only virtuous characters in the play, giving up capitalistic practices and not being anyone of significance. However, with his success came a price. Convicted of witchcraft after breaking things off with Abigail Williams, he refused to admit to his 'crime' because he would rather die than lose his virtue. He lost everything in the end.
The lower classes were the ones who accused the higher classes of witchcraft. They all got a considerable gain.
Proctor is analogous to Miller. Refused to betray anyone or himself after being called to the committee.
McCarthy is analogous to Abigail.
Used the hunt as a means to rise to power while punishing any who oppose them.
"Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist party?"
"Mr. Proctor, have you seen the Devil in your life?"
Wants: Improved Reputation
"The pure of heart need no lawyer. Proceed as you will." (93)
Wants: Money and Respect
"Proctor: For twenty week he preach nothin' but golden candlesticks until he had them." (65)
"Parris: Just now when some good respect is rising for me in the parish, you compromise my very character." (11)
Didn't yearn for wealth or power
"Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! ... Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them than they hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" (143)
Wants: Land and Wealth
" For murder, she's charged! For the marvelous and supernatural murder of Goody Putnam's babies." (71)
"Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring you a pointy reckoning that will shudder you." (20)
Only necessary for child birth and child care
DANFORTH: We have thought it too convenient to be credited. However, if I should tell you now that I will let her be kept another month; and she begin to show her natural signs, you shall have her living another year until she is delivered.
"You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs."
-John Proctor to Hale
had control of society
seen as superior
only males had respectable titles
Reverend John Hale
Deputy Governor Danforth
McCarthyism of the 1950s denounced thousands of Americans as "communist spies"
The House Committee on Un-American Activities
called people forth, particularly those connected to the film industry, to snitch on possibly communist members. Failure to reveal names resulted in blacklisting and being accused of contempt, symbolic of the hangings of the Witch trials.
The Committee in
The Crucible VS
the House Committee: forcing the confessions and incrimination of people both by themselves and those around them.
And so chaos ensued...
Men had more power
Ex.: All men in the jury vs. women accused of witchcraft
Either rivals or allies
Ex.: Abigail and the girls vs. other women
Respected each other even if they didn't like each other
Hello I'm Dumb
Victoria Benitez, Evelyn Cortus, Monica Burnett and Kassidy Zhang
Men were considered superior.
Tis I, Dumbeth Jerk
The 1692 Salem Witch Trials denouced women and men as the Devil's servants and witchery
Composed as a play
Acknowledges historical deviations
Characters built upon many people who lived during the witch hunts
conveys common struggle of a community facing hysteria and suspicion
shows how society can break down when people fear and panic
"I tell you what is said here, sir....and I tell you true, sir, I fear there will be riot here.“
-Parris to Danforth
Proctor represents the "tragic hero" character
Proctor's tragedy: found strength and good morality only at the end when faced with death
"He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!"
-Elizabeth about Proctor
The Yellow Bird