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					The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Act I
Focus Writing

DIRECTIONS: Respond to each focus as completely as you can. Be sure to use
specific evidence from the text to support your responses.


FOCUS #1
Why are the inhabitants of Salem Village so quick to suspect witchcraft as the
cause of Betty's condition?

FOCUS #2
What causes Tituba to be naming people she has supposedly seen with the Devil?

FOCUS #3
Why is it ironic that the Puritans so strongly opposed religious freedom in
the New World after leaving England in search of religious freedom for themselves?

What does this irony reveal about the nature of the Puritans?

FOCUS #4
What seems to be Miller's attitude toward the earliest Puritan settlers and
how is his attitude conveyed?

FOCUS #5
Miller draws a comparison between the contemporary age and the time in which
the Puritans lived. Why might he have viewed the contemporary age as
"insoluble and complicated"?

FOCUS #6
Miller states that "it is still impossible for man to organize his social life
without repressions." Do you agree with Miller's observation? Why or why not?

FOCUS #7
The real Abigail Williams was twelve or thirteen when the witchcraft hysteria
broke out. Why might Miller have altered her age?

FOCUS #8
Why might one of the villagers claim to have seen Betty flying "over
Ingersoll's barn"? What is revealed by the fact that Goody Putnam apparently
believes the villagers's story?
FOCUS #9
Why would Mercy Lewis and Goody Putnam interpret a sneeze as a sign of life?
What, if anything, does this reaction reveal about Puritan beliefs?

FOCUS #10
Do you think that Abigail's threats should be taken seriously? Why or why not? What does
Abigail mean when she says that she "will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder" the
other girls?

FOCUS #11
Why does Miller introduce the sound of the psalm at this point in the scene? What is the effect
of the juxtaposition of the psalm with the exchange between Abigail and Proctor?

FOCUS #12
What does Goody Putnam mean when she says that there "are wheels within wheels
in this village, and fires within fires"?

FOCUS #13
 Given what you have learned about Reverend Parris up to this point, do you think it is
accurate to describe him as one of the best souls? Why or why not?

FOCUS #14
Tituba escapes being hanged by confessing to witchcraft. Do you think most
people would be likely to falsely confess to witchcraft in order to escape
being executed?

What is wrong with a type of proceeding in which an admission of guilt is a
way in which the accused can escape severe punishment? What is likely to be
the outcome of such a proceeding?

FOCUS #15
What emotions do the events in Act I arouse in you? Why?

FOCUS #16
Which character do you find the most sympathetic? Why?

FOCUS #17
Which character do you find the least sympathetic? Why?
The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Act II
Focus Writing

DIRECTIONS: Respond to each focus as completely as you can. Be sure to use
specific evidence from the text to support your responses and to cite the page
number or numbers. Your responses should follow the guidelines for essays
(avoid personal pronouns, avoid contractions , , , )


FOCUS #1
Explore what the interactions between John and Elizabeth Proctor reveal about
the personalities of the two characters. What do the interactions reveal
about the state of the Proctors' marriage?

FOCUS #2
Given what you have learned about the Proctors' relationship, do you think
that Elizabeth has a right to be suspicious of John? Why or why not?

FOCUS #3
What does John Proctor's reaction to Elizabeth's suspicions reveal
about his character?

FOCUS #4
Miller does not offer the types of in-depth descriptions of Elizabeth that he
offers for many of the other characters. What are the possible reasons that
Miller might have chosen to omit such descriptions of Elizabeth? What might
Miller have said if he had included a description of Elizabeth?

FOCUS #5
Mary Warren says, "We must all love each other now, Goody Proctor." In
which ways might the situation have been different if all the characters did
in fact "love each other"?

FOCUS #6
Discuss your attitudes toward Mary Warren at this point in the play.
Which of her comments and actions have contributed most to shaping your attitude?

FOCUS #7
What is ironic about the fact that the court "will not hang [the accused] if
they confess"?

FOCUS #8
What is the reason why John Proctor blushes when Abigail passes by him in
church? On what do you base your answer?
FOCUS #9
Why might there be a "quality of deference, even of guilt, about [Hale's]
manner" at this point? What does this change in Reverend Hale's
demeanor suggest about his response to the events that have taken place since
Act I? Speculate about why Reverend Hale has come to visit the Proctors.

FOCUS #10
What does Reverend Parris's insistence on having golden candlesticks reveal
about his character?

FOCUS #11
Is John Proctor's dislike for Reverend Parris a valid reason for questioning
Proctor's religious devotion? Why or why not?

FOCUS #12
What is ironic about Proctor's forgetting the commandment concerning adultery?
 Why would John Proctor's inability to recite all of the commandments
contribute to Reverend Hale's suspicions about Elizabeth Proctor?

FOCUS #13
What is ironic about Giles Corey's suggestion that Ezekial Cheever will "burn
in Hell" for his role in the witchcraft proceedings?

FOCUS #14
Discuss Ezekial Cheever's apparent attitude toward his role as a clerk of the
court. How is his attitude revealed?

FOCUS #15
Discuss what this sequence of events reveals about Abigail's character.
If Abigail's accusations were to result in the hanging of Elizabeth Proctor,
would Abigail be guilty of murder? Why or why not?

FOCUS #16
What are your impressions of both Herrick and Cheever? How should these two
men be judged?

FOCUS #17
Do you agree with Proctor's opinion that Reverend Hale is "a coward"?
Why or why not?

FOCUS #18
What is your opinion of John Proctor at this point in the play? What is your
opinion of Elizabeth Proctor at this point in the play? Of Reverend Hale? Of
Abigail Williams?
The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Act III
Focus Writing

DIRECTIONS: On a separate sheet of paper, respond to each focus as completely
as you can. Be sure to use specific evidence from the text to support your
responses and remember to cite the page number or numbers of your references
or quotes. Your responses should follow the guidelines for essays (avoid
personal pronouns, avoid contractions , , , )



PRE-READING FOCUS
Do you think that people often act differently when they are in the midst of a
crowd than they do when they are by themselves? If so, why? How can you
apply your observations about crowd psychology to the behavior of the
characters in Miller's play?

FOCUS #1
The language used by Danforth seems different from that used by most of the
other characters in the play. How does the difference help to set Danforth
apart from the villagers and reinforce his position of authority?

FOCUS #2
Knowing what you do about the outcome of the Salem witch trials, do you think
that Danforth is guilty of murder? Why or why not?

FOCUS #3
In Act III, Parris begins to sweat. Is he disturbed by the possibility
that the accused witches might have been falsely convicted? Or is he afraid
of the effect that Mary Warren's revelations might have on him?

FOCUS #4
What does Danforth mean when he says, "We burn a hot fire here"? [NOTE:
Research the possible meanings of the word "crucible".]

FOCUS #5
Do you believe Danforth's declaration that he judges nothing? Why or
why not? What is ironic about this statement?

FOCUS #6
Parris states that "all innocent and Christian people are happy for the courts
in Salem". Is there any evidence from the play which shows Parris's statement
to be inaccurate?
FOCUS #7
Characterize the manner in which Danforth questions Mary Warren. Do
you imagine that questioning her in this manner is likely to cause her to
reconsider her decision to come forward with the truth? Why or why not?

FOCUS #8
Are Danforth, Hathorne, and Parris being objective in their questioning of
Mary Warren?

FOCUS #9
What does Proctor's decision to reveal his involvement with Abigail indicate
about his character? What are some of the possible implications of his revelation?

FOCUS #10
Is Elizabeth's characterization of her husband as a "good and righteous man"
 accurate?

FOCUS #11
Why does Elizabeth lie about her husband's actions? What does this reveal
about her character?

FOCUS #12
What is your reaction to the events that have taken place in Act III? What
emotion or emotions did the girls' behavior in the final scene evoke in you? Why?

				
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