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Copy of Introduction to The Crucible

Elements of Drama, Arthur Miller, McCarythism, & The Crucible

Jason McNamara

on 28 July 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Introduction to The Crucible

By Arthur Miller
The Crucible
a severe test or trial
Elements of Drama
What does "crucible" mean?
About the play...
-A play is divided into large units called acts.
-Acts are divided further into scenes.
-Dialogue: the conversation and speeches of the characters (played by actors)
-Stage directions: usually written in italics or brackets, these are notes in the play indicating sets, costuming, lighting, scenery, sound effects, and props.
-Tragedy: a play that shows the downfall or death of the protagonist.
-Soliloquy: a speech by a character alone on stage expressing private thoughts or feelings.
-Aside: a brief remark delivered by the character to express private thoughts while other characters are onstage.
Dramatic Conventions
Literary Elements
-External conflict – occurs between a character and an external force (society, nature, fate, or another person)
-Internal conflict – occurs within a character who is torn by his or her own competing values or desires.
-Biblical allusions – references to figures, stories, and settings from the Bible. Used in the play to help characters define, defend, or excuse their actions.
Literary Elements
Characterization – the art of revealing a character’s personality.
Direct – the author simply tells the reader what a character
is like.
Indirect – the character’s personality is revealed through the character’s thoughts, words, appearance; through other characters’ comments; or through other characters’ reactions.
Irony – a contrast between expectation and reality
Dramatic irony – a contradiction between what a character thinks and what the audience knows
Verbal irony – a contrast between what the character says and what is really meant
Situational irony – a situation in which actions have an effect which contrasts with what was intended or expected.
Exposition: sets the stage by introducing main characters, setting, and situation.
Conflict: a struggle between opposing forces.
Rising action: conflict is introduced and tension begins to grow.
Climax: the turning point or moment of greatest intensity.
Falling action: conflict diminishes
Resolution: the conflict ends.
Elements of a Plot
-Set in Salem, Massachusetts – a Puritan town - in the early 1600s.
-A historical fiction based on true events of the Salem witch trials.
-It is NOT an example of Puritan literature, but a social protest of events of the 1950s.
Now, let's review...
Themes of the Play
Hypocrisy – The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform.
Guilt – a feeling of remorse or regret
Revenge – the act of taking vengeance
Hysteria – fear characterized by irrationality
Misuse of Authority – using a position of power for personal benefit
Integrity - adherence to ethical principles.
Courage - bravery
-The Crucible, written in 1953, is a criticism of the post-war climate of McCarthyism – a period of hysteria promoted by Sen. Joe McCarthy during the Cold War in which hundreds of Americans were investigated, arrested, and blacklisted for alleged communism.
-In the play, Miller compares the hysteria of McCarthyism to the Salem Witch Trials.
Following its publication, Miller was investigated and called to testify before the House Un-American Committee.
-Although he had never joined the Communist party, he refused to testify against others.
-He was found guilty of contempt of court. This experience tested his integrity; it was his moral trial or crucible.
Arthur Miller and McCarthyism
Arthur Miller (1915-2005)
-wrote about common people pitted against the powerful and unyielding social forces
-Miller lived through bad times as well as good. During The Great Depression, his family's business went bankrupt, and he was forced to delay his enrollment at the University of Michigan for two years in order to help his family.
-He began writing dramas in college.
-Some of his other works include: Death of a Salesman, A View From the Bridge, and All My Sons
For more information...
Read pages 1116-1124 in your textbook
For more information about the Salem Witch Trials...
Full transcript