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The Crucible

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on 25 November 2016

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Transcript of The Crucible

Original title: "The Crucible"

German title: "Hexenjagd"

Author: Arthur Miller

Year of release: 1953

Type of work: play

Genre: tragedy, drama

Main topic: Salem witch trails

4 Acts

Basic information
Main Characters
Once the servant of the Proctors -> got fired by Elizabeth
Affair with John Proctor, still loves him -> desires revenge on his wife
Smart, good liar, manipulative
Fears for her reputation
Orphan, unmarried -> low on the social ladder
Empowered by the authority in court
Villain of the play
: accuses others of witchcraft, 19 innocent people die

The Plot
Salem, Massachusetts
Reverend Parris catches the girls and the black slave Tituba dancing in the forest
by Arthur Miller
The Crucible
Basic information
The plot
Important Characters

Minister of Salem’s church
sees the girls dancing in the forest
Paranoid, pitties himself
Position and reputation in the Salem community is very important to him

Reverend Parris
Starts the fear of witchcraft in town when she becomes ill
Betty Parris
Group of young girls
All danced in the forest
Afraid of Abigail
Obey her without questioning
Imitate and follow everything she does -> give her more power

Wants to be re-elected as a senator
-> takes advantage of the nation’s fear of communists during the cold war

Media and government spread fear of a communist world domination and atomic war

Claims to have a list of 205 people in the State Department who were known members of the American Communist Party

"House Committee on Un-American Activities" (HUAC)
-> investigation against actors, authors, entertainers, labor unions, high politicians

1954: starts accusing members of the US army + presentation of the trials on TV
-> end of the support by government and public

Joseph McCarthy
Born November 14th 1908
Died May 2nd 1957

Parallels between the book and the context of McCarthyism
-Arthur Miller wrote the play in the 1950s
-got invited to court himself
Deputy Governor Danforth
Oversees the witchcraft trials
Likes to think of himself as fair minded
Believes that no innocent person should fear the court
He and Judge Hathorne are guided by God --> nobody will be punished unjustly
At the end, when it’s obvious that the society is disintegrating--> he refuses to see the role that the witchcraft trials and hangings have played in it
Judge Hathorne

Is the judge who presides over the Salem witch trials
He remains largely subservient to Deputy Governor Danforth
Applies the same tortured reasoning to charges of witchcraft
One of the wealthiest landowners in Salem
A vindictive, bitter man who holds longstanding grudges against many of the citizens of Salem
If he is executed, his land will be open for Putnam to purchase

Thomas Putnam
Rebecca Nurse
One of the most noble and well-respected citizens of Salem
Kindly and sane
Suggesting that Betty's illness is simply a product of being out too late in the cold
Charged with the supernatural murder of Putnam's children, who were each stillborn.
Clear martyr in the play, the most pure and saintly character hanged for witchery
Francis Nurse
The husband of Rebecca Nurse
A well-respected wealthy landowner in Salem
Joins Giles Corey and John Proctor in their challenge against the court when their respective wives are charged with witchcraft
Mrs. Ann Putnam
Wife of Thomas Putnam
Suspects that there is some paranormal reason for the stillborn deaths of seven of her children and blames Rebecca Nurse
Giles Corey
Irascible and combative old resident of Salem
His fate turns tragic when he unwittingly effects his wife's charge for witchcraft
Stands with Proctor in challenging the girls' accusations
Believes that Thomas Putnam is using charges of witchcraft to secure land
Refuses to name the person who heard Putnam declare these intentions--> is charged with contempt of court , dies when the court orders him to be weighted with stones to coerce him to admit the name
Martha Corey
Is accused of witchcraft after her husband states that she reads strange books, and that her reading keeps him from praying
She is arrested --> her husband regrets talking about the books, tells the court that he only said she read, not that she was into witchcraft
Has already been judged a witch and refuses to confess.
Parris' slave from Barbados
Was with the girls when they danced and attempted to conjure the spirits of Ann Putnam's dead children
The first person accused of witchcraft
Accuses others of witchery --> when she discovers that the easiest way to spare herself is to admit to the charges no matter their truth
What is islamophobia?
Islamophobia is a term for prejudice against, hatred towards, or fear of the religion of Islam, Muslims, or of ethnic groups perceived to be Muslim.

Comparison to the Crucible
The people of Salem are in fear of witches, they feel it is not holy and people will go to Hell for believing in them
People could not express their opinions openly because they would also get accused of witchcraft
The accused wanted a fair trial because they were not involved

Reverend John Hale
John Proctor
Elisabeth Proctor
He calls Reverend John Hale to examine the situation and reveal whether witchcraft was conducted
After questioning Abigail he is suspicious and when asking Tituba she admits to communing with the devil
A court is set up in town to trail those who are accused of witchcraft
His daughter Betty falls sick and there are rumors about witchcraft in town
Many town people are trialed
John Proctor, whose wife Elisabeth is accused of being a witch, and his servant Mary Warren try to convince the judges that Abigail, the main witness and leader of the group of girls, is lying
They fail as first Mary is accused of bewitching the girls and then blames Proctor who is eventually arrested for overthrowing the court and compacting with the devil
Reverend Hale now completely quits his practice as he believes Proctor
The story continues a few months later shortly before the executions
There are some riots in neighboring towns due to the trials
Abigail has left Salem without anyone knowing and stealing Parris' money
Hale together with Elisabeth try to convince Proctor and the other convicted to confess falsely in order to safe their lives
At first Proctor agrees but does not want to make it publicly and so in the end he is still executed as well as all the other that don't want to confess either
Echoes down the corridor
Parris was voted from office and left Salem
Abigail became a Prostitute in Boston
Elisabeth Proctor got married again
20 years later the government awarded compensations to the victims
Farms of victims were "hunted" and mostly were unoccupied for more than a century
The power of theocracy in Massachusetts was broken
"Tragic hero"
farmer in his mid thirties
Married to Elisabeth
Has two sons, a third child is on it's way at the end of the story
Had an affair with Abigail Williams
Hates hypocrisy but is a hypocrite himself
Respected and feared in town
Good but very proud men
His reputation is most important to him
--> costs his live in the end
Wife of John Proctor
Has two sons
Pregnant at the end of the story
Knows about the affair between John and Abigail
Firers Abigail because she is jealous
There is a tension in her relationship with John, but they still seem to be familiar with each other (Act II)
Still loves her husband and believes in his goodness and wants him to forgive himself
Passionate relationship, forgiveness (Act IV)
Marry Warren
17 years old
The Proctors servant
Lives on their farm
Part of Abigail's group of girls, but doesn't want to be part of it
Easily influenced
Attends the court trial and hearings in Salem
First agrees to testify against Abigail and help Proctor but when Abigail accuses her of being a witch she turns on Proctor and blames him falsely
Nearing forty
Minister from Beverly
Expert on witchcraft
Critical mind
Throughout the play he realizes that Abigail is lying and there is actually no witchcraft involved
He tries to safe those that are condemned but fails
Abigail Williams
1. What kind of government does Salem have in The Crucible?

2. What is Parris’s position in Salem?

3. Why did Elizabeth Proctor fire Abigail?

4. What does Mrs. Putnam blame on witchcraft?

5. In Act II, what does Mary Warren give to Elizabeth Proctor when
she returns home from the trials?

6. Which commandment does John Proctor forget when Reverend Hale quizzes him?

7. Who do Ezekiel Cheever and Herrick, the marshal, want to arrent at the Proctor’s home?

8. Why will Elizabeth not be hanged if she is found guilty?

9. When John Proctor is facing death, what does Hale urge him to do?

10. What does Abigail do at the end of the play?
Full transcript