Introduction to the Puritans and The Crucible by dfhdhdhdhjr


									Introduction to the Puritans
               The Crucible

               Beach, Olson, & Smith
It is the expectation of this course that you will actively pursue
understanding of the historic and philosophical context into which
literature is born. Therefore, you will comprehend how literature
reflects our growing nation at each “pulse point” and influences
American attitudes even today.

Authors take license with history for the sake of storytelling and
presenting the theme on their personal agenda.

You will react to the content of the theme as well as the way the
author tells his/her story. So, when you sense boredom or feel
impatient with the writing, focus your attention on the message
and the context of the tale.
We begin with a play, set in colonial America.

Arthur Miller’s drama The Crucible has its feet in two eras of
time, Puritanical New England Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and
Cold War Washington of the 1950’s. Miller presents America’s
deepest past in order to make a modern point. He saw that, as
the saying goes, “Those who do not learn from history are
doomed to repeat it.”

Learning about the historical setting of the play will make
Miller’s contemporary application a deeper experience for you.
It will allow you to reflect on our own times and address
current, similar issues with more compassion and responsibility.
    Who were the Puritans?
   Definition: Refers to the movement for reform, which
    occurred within the Church of England between the time
    of Elizabeth and Charles II.

   The Puritans wanted to rid the Church of any Catholic
    residue and build upon the ideas of John Calvin. When
    Elizabeth died and Charles II dissolved parliament, and
    any connection between church and state, he demanded
    that anyone be killed who did not support the new
    Anglican Church. Hence, religious persecution began for
    the Puritans.

   Left for the new world in 1620 and established the
    Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Puritans, Pilgrims, & Planters
   Puritans: Varied group of religious reformers wanting
    change within the church

   Pilgrims: Version of Puritans, but they were
    separatists—wanted separation from the Church of
    England (e.g. Quakers)

   Planters: Cavaliers who still wanted to be part of
    England—continued to dress and act in English
The Puritan community was a theocracy, a
government which blends church and state. The
church’s officials were the government’s officials.
Thus, church and state were not separate.

The Puritans sought to “purify” the church. That is, by
stripping off the ceremony, pageantry and human
interpretation from the “corrupt” church, the Puritans
thus returned focus to the relationship between God
and Mankind. In many ways, it was an attempt to
create a utopian society.
Theological Beliefs Espoused by the Puritans
           These beliefs originated in Calvinism.
•   Total depravity: Humankind is totally sinful through
    the fall of Adam and utterly unable to work out their
    own redemption.
•   Unconditional election (Predestination): God is
    under no obligation to save anyone. He saves or
    “elects” those who he wills with no reference to
    good works.
•   Limited atonement: Christ died only for the elect.
•   Irresistible grace: God’s free grace is neither
    earned nor refused. Anyone who has it, has it.
•   Perseverance of saints: Those whom God has
    chosen have thenceforth full power to do the will of
    God and the ability to live uprightly to the end.
            The Puritan Dilemma
“Puritanism required:

•That a man devote his life to seeking salvation but told him
he was helpless to do anything evil.
• That he rest his whole hope in Christ but taught him that Christ
would utterly reject him unless before he was born, God had
foreordained his salvation.
•That man refrain from sin but told him he would sin anyhow.
•That he reform the world in the image of God’s holy kingdom but
taught him that the evil of the world was incurable and inevitable.
•That he work to the best of his ability at what ever task was set
before him and partake of the good things that God had filled the
world with but told him he must enjoy his work and his pleasures
only, as if it were, absentmindedly, with attention fixed on God.

                                    Edmund S. Morgan, Historian
      Myths about the Puritans
Myth 1: The Puritans forbid all sorts of sins (sex, alcohol,
  In truth: The Puritans believed in loving relationships,
      moderation, and avoidance of potentially sinful
      encounters. In general, they saw life as for work,
      rather than pleasure. However, they were not
      morose. They wore colored clothes, had games and
Myth 2: The Puritan government denied free speech
  and religious freedom
  In truth: While the Puritans believed that
      transgressions deserved immediate punishment,
      they allowed for discussion of ideas. Although
      women did not vote, they spoke through their
      husbands. Their theocracy was not imposed on
      those outside the community. For them, Faith
      was their rock.
Myth 3: Puritans were dogmatic and anti-intellectual.
  In truth: They taught all their children to read, started
      Harvard College, read philosophers, poets and
      dramatists of antiquity. They also were not threatened
      by scientific advances, experiment and logic. Puritans
      valued intellect. They believed in achievement.

Myth 4: Puritans burned witches and others at the stake.
  In truth: Although they executed individuals (25 in total),
  none were burned. One was tortured to death, five died in
  prison, and nineteen were hanged. They believed in a well-
  ordered society, a sort of religious athlete.
Myth 5: Puritans were self-righteous hypocrites.
  In truth: While some were, others were genuinely
  virtuous with the majority somewhere in the middle.
  There is no doubt, however, that the extremes could
  influence those in the middle, at least for a time.
    Salem Town vs. Salem Village
Salem Politics

   Economic Unrest caused many conflicts

   Salem Town: Modern; stylish; wealthy

   Salem Village: Fortunes diminished due to contesting of
    wills and division of land boundaries; farmers

   1689: Parris becomes reverend

   1691: Villagers vow to push Parris from town and stop
    contributing to his salary
The Salem Witch Trials, 1692
   Innocent prank caused mass hysteria during time of

   Hysteria implies Puritans deep belief in supernatural
     – Puritans cannot handle anything threatening the
       quest for perfection/religious purity (magic is out
       of place)

   Puritans brought pre-existing ideas about women &
    magic to colonies
     – Women = evil & sexual--targets for Devil
                      Signs of Puritan Decay

1.   Visible decay of godliness
2.   Manifestations of pride,especially among the rich
3.   Violations of the Sabbath
4.   Rise in contentious lawsuits
5.   Sins of sex and alcohol on the rise
6.   Decay in business morality – laborers underpaid, lying, etc
7.   Lack of desire to reform
                                                   The Crucible is a
                                                   play by Arthur
                                                   Miller which
A Crucible is a severe test.                       explores the Salem
                                                   Witch Trials.

It does not maintain authentic situations from the historical events.
However, it does demonstrate how hysteria and blind faith can
corrupt individuals, even those with good intentions.
The play is social commentary made by
Miller in response to the McCarthy
Un-American, witch hunt trials of the

               "The reason why we find ourselves in a
               position of impotency is not because the enemy
               has sent men to invade our shores, but rather
               because of the traitorous actions of those who
               have had all the benefits that the wealthiest
               nation on earth has had to offer - the finest
               homes, the finest college educations, and the
               finest jobs in Government we can give."

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