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Copy of The Crucible Introduction
Transcript of Copy of The Crucible Introduction
by Arthur Miller
The Crucible is based on real-life occurrences from the Salem Witch Trials.
The Salem Witch Trials took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.
In that time period, people were forbidden to read anything other than the Bible. They weren't allowed to participate or indulge in anything enjoyable.
There were two keys to life...
Colonists in the 1600s lived in a...
combined state power and religious power
They were also afraid of...
the place where the devil resided
Wilderness was wild; untamed, hence it was the Devil's playground. The forest was viewed as an evil place.
Since Native Americans generally resided in wilderness, they were thought to be dangerous heathens.
"The Crucible" reflects the events of the Salem Witch Trials, but it is also a commentary on the Red Scare in 1950's America.
In the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy embarked on a "witch hunt" to search for people in the US that were engaging in "un-American," Communist activity. About 500 people were falsely accused, including Arthur Miller, the author of the play.
Arthur Miller swore until the day he died that "The Crucible" was not a commentary on the Red Scare, however, the similarities in theme and his relationship to the event are undeniable.
use of hints or clues to suggest events that will occur later in the story
hinted at through dialogue, descriptions, or the attitudes and reactions of the characters
author's opinion, stated or implied, toward a subject or the audience
can be revealed through choice of words and details
example: optimism, seriousness, bitterness, humorous
climate or feeling of the text; intended to evoke an emotion in the reader
contrast between what is expected, or what appears to be and what actually is
contrast between what is said and what is actually meant
a situation or event is the opposite of what is expected or intended
the audience or reader knows more than the characters know
comparison using "like" or "as"
implied comparison between two relatively unlike things
"The road was a ribbon of moonlight."
an extended metaphor where characters or events represent or symbolize ideas and concepts
brief reference to a person, event, or place (real or fictitious), or to a work of art
may be drawn from history, geography, religion, or literature
Reverend Parris' daughter; caught dancing and pretends to see spirits
Parris' Caribbean slave who teaches the girls about spirits; easy target to blame
works for the Proctors; emotionally weak
Parris' niece; very strong-willed and manipulative
local minister; materialistic and selfish
presiding judge over the witch trials
Deputy Gov. Danforth
law-abiding judge at the witch trials
Remember, in a theocracy, righteous and holy were the same thing...
Giles: elderly, but feisty farmer in Salem; famous for his tendency to file lawsuits
Martha: accused of witchcraft
wealthy landowners; hold grudges often; daughter Ruth is sole survivor of eight children
Francis: well-respected; head of household
Rebecca: kind-hearted; midwife to the Putnams; well-respected and very pious
Elizabeth: incapable of lying
John: well-respected in town; has a secret affair with Abigail Williams; doesn't agree with Rev. Parris' ideas of church
: main character; experiences the conflict in the story
: person/idea/force in conflict with main character
Man vs. Self
Man vs. Man
Man vs. Nature
Man vs. Society
Belief in God brought with it the belief that anything bad that happened was due either to the devil's work or to God's wrath as a punishment for sin.
Pre-destination: God chooses the "elect" (those who will gain salvation) and man can do nothing to change his own pre-ordained circumstances.
Their goal was to "purify" the church by eliminating stained-glass windows, organ music, incense, ornate clerical vestments, religious images and statues, and any ornamental embellishments. These were all seen as "frivolous" and unnecessary.
Ironically, despite the fact that the Puritans themselves were victims of intolerance in England, they were all too often intolerant of others and shamed them by publically whipping them or imprisoning them. Villagers were fined if they failed to attend church. If anybody refused to participate in the life of the community by not embracing the tenets of the strict Puritan lifestyle they were shunned or run out of town. For three generations the Puritans dominated the government, culture, ideology, and literature in Colonial America.
After WWI Communism began to spread. However, because we'd been allied with the Soviet Union we remained tight-lipped about it. After WWII, when we were no longer allied and Communism was entrenched in both the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, we became afraid of this system of government taking over the U.S. as well.
Because communism, as a form of government, is in direct opposition to the principles we uphold as a democratic, capitalist country.