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The Crucible The Crucible What‟s a Crucible • A vessel

VIEWS: 240 PAGES: 30

									The Crucible
           What‟s a Crucible?
• A vessel made of material that does not melt
  easily, used to melting materials at high
• A severe test or trial of patience or belief
  (searching, self-reflection);
• A place, time, or situation where powerful
  intellectual, social, economic, or political
  forces meet.
            Hmm…A Vessel?
• What is the vessel that does not melt easily?
• In Danforth‟s words: “Now, Mr. Proctor,
  before I decide whether I shall hear you or not,
  it is my duty to tell you this. We burn a hot fire
  here; it melts down all concealment.” (Page
• Was Danforth right?
               …Or a Trial?
• What‟s the trial? Think carefully…
• There‟s an external trial in the courthouse
• There‟s an internal trial: Who is John Proctor?
The Force is Strong in This One…
•   What kind of forces are meeting in Salem?
•   Revenge
•   Fear / Panic
•   Prejudice
•   Power
•   Religious
•   Status Quo
             Good Luck, John!
• Let‟s compare “Good Night, and Good Luck” with
  “The Crucible” for a moment.
• What forces are clashing in each story?
• Power, Politics, Prejudice, Status Quo
• What‟s the trial in “Good Night, and Good Luck”?
  Think carefully…
• Do you stand up to McCarthy?
• What‟s the vessel?
• A courtroom without protections, perhaps…
    So What Are We Looking For?
• The societies in “Good Night” and “The Crucible” both
  grappled with a multitude of problems that often stemmed
  from one or more of the Three Ps: Power, Prejudice, and
• Let‟s examine our ten themes with an eye towards each.
• For example, what effect does power have on each character‟s
  identity? Does prejudice dictate their character arc? Do they
  panic when placed in a difficult situation?
• Moreover, watch carefully for other parallels between the
  1950s and the 1690s – and between those eras and the present.
                   Quick Write!
• On a separate piece of paper, list some examples from your
  own experiences.
• For example: Have you ever faced prejudice for your age, your
  ethnicity, your gender, your sexuality, your faith, etc.?
• Have you ever felt fear of something unknown, or felt feared
  because someone didn‟t understand you?
• What power relations do you navigate each day? How often do
  you feel as though you completely control your actions?
• Have you ever been given a name that isn‟t yours – either out
  of affection, or hostility? Have you accepted the names other
  people give you? Do people call you different names based on
  how they treat you, or treat you based on what they call you?
            What‟s In a Name?
• You may have noticed that names, or identities, or
  reputations are at risk in both stories.
• One could argue that the stakes in “The Crucible” are
  higher – they‟re playing for keeps, so to speak.
• Yet Proctor willingly goes to hang after asking, “How
  may I live without my name?” (Page 143).
• Why is the loss of his name / identity / reputation
  such a problem?
• (Remember that “The Crucible” serves as an allegory
  to the Red Scare!)
         Names and Identities
• Re-read the character descriptions at the
  beginning of the play; you‟ll be surprised,
  particularly because you now know what
  eventually happens to these characters.
• Parris: Pages 3-4; Abigail: Pages 8-9;
  Ann/Thomas Putnam: Pages 10, 14-15;
  Mary Warren: Page 18; Proctor: Pages 20-21;
  The Nurses: Pages 25-26; Hale: Pages 33, 36;
  Giles: Pages 40-41.
                 Who is…?
•   Who is John Proctor?
•   Who is Judge Danforth?
•   Who is Reverend Hale?
•   Who is Giles Corey?
•   Who is Elizabeth Proctor?
•   Who is Parris? Putnam? Hathorne?
•   Who is Cheever? Who is Herrick?
          More Specifically…
• How is each character affected by, or
  responsive to, the themes you chose?
• These questions should be fairly easy for you
  to answer for the character you played; can
  you find evidence in your lines to support your
  opinions? Can you identify thematic
  relationships for a character you didn‟t play?
               Quick Write!
• On the back of your sheet of paper, explain
  how four of the themes we chose – both the
  ones you chose, and two others – relate to the
  character you played.
• Next, explain how two of those themes – one
  that you chose, and one you didn‟t – relate to
  another character.
         Conflicts in the Play
• Three types of conflicts:
  – Character vs. Character (Abigail vs. Proctor)
  – Character vs. Society (Proctor against
  – Character vs. Self (Proctor vs. Proctor)
       The Nature of Prejudice
•   Why do we feel prejudice?
•   Remember the “knife” example?
•   Prejudice means to “pre-judge”
•   Stems from a lack of knowledge
              Power, Proctor
• Look back at pages 20-21
• From Page 30 (Proctor: “Mr. Parris, you are
  the first minister ever did demand…”) to Page
  31 (Proctor: “I mean it solemnly, Rebecca; I
  do not like the smell of this „authority.‟”)
• Pages 136, 143, and 144
              Power, Putnam
• “This society will not be a bag to swing around
  your head, Mr. Putnam.” (Proctor, bottom of
  Page 27)
• “You cannot command Mr. Parris. We vote by
  name in this society, not by acreage.” (Proctor,
  Page 28)
                Power, Abigail
• Abigail tries to drink a charm that will kill Elizabeth;
  this helps start a chain of events that concludes with
  Proctor‟s death. (19)
• She feels powerless to keep Proctor
• Openly threatens Danforth (Page 108)
• “It‟s God‟s work I do” – Page 115 (Mary Warren also
  says this on Page 59, although she says “we” rather
  than “I.”)
• She gains absolute power – and is corrupted
  absolutely – but pays the price for it, and ends up a
  prostitute in Boston
 Power/Evil/Justice: The Salem Court
• We witness the destruction of loyalty in the pursuit of
  loyalty to Christ in “The Crucible,” or to the country
  in the 1950s.
• One‟s devotion to an idea or ideals took precedence
  over one‟s devotion to other people.
• We watch as Miller‟s characters are corrupted by the
  court; Mary goes wild, and Cheever takes his new
  duties far too seriously.
• Cheever is the ultimate traitor – the embodiment of
  power‟s corrupting influence. He refuses to challenge
  the court‟s abuses, and actively enables the court to
  continue persecuting the girls‟ enemies.
         Other Effects of the Court
• Our perception of Hale changes as he storms out of the court.
  He is no longer Proctor‟s antagonist.
• However, has Hale been corrupted by the court as well? Think
  about Act IV as you answer.
• Herrick also loses himself; he is introduced as “somewhat
  shamefaced” when Elizabeth is first taken to Salem, and he
  turns to hard drink by Act IV.
• However, John Proctor changes as well, and possibly for the
  better – he confesses his sins in open court, and rediscovers his
• Think “Crucible” – not just a melting down, but a burning
  away as well. When Danforth mentioned the destruction of
  “all concealment,” I don‟t think this is what he had in mind…
        Parallels: “Good Night”
• “Is every defense an attack upon the court?”
  (Hale, page 94)
• What happened to those who questioned the
  McCarthy court’s abuses in the 1950s?
• “We cannot blink it more. There is a
  prodigious fear of the court in the country-”
  Then there is a prodigious guilt in the
  country!” (Page 98)
               Allegorical Bliss
• “These are all covenanted Christians, sir.”
  “Then I am sure they may have nothing to fear. Mr.
  Cheever, have warrants drawn for all of these – arrest
  for examination.” (Page 94)
• “No uncorrupted man may fear this court, Mr. Hale!
  None! [to Giles] You are under arrest for contempt of
  this court.” (Page 98)
• Remember that Danforth accepts no depositions, and
  frowns on the presence of lawyers. Sound familiar?
       Parallels: “Good Luck”
• Edward R. Murrow
• How does he compare
  to Proctor?

• Don Hollenbeck
• How does he compare
  to Hale?
    The “Long Boring Passages”
• The opening pages of “The Crucible” feature
  very little dialogue. Miller chose to write
  extensively about the links between the period
  he lived in (the 1950s) and the period of the
  play (the 1690s).
• How do these paragraphs help us compare the
  Three Ps‟ effects in “Good Night, and Good
  Luck” with those in “The Crucible”?
• Re-read them, and be amazed!
Allegorical Nature of “The Crucible”
• An allegory uses symbolic settings,
  characters, and/or plots to achieve an
  – Discusses one thing while referring to another
  – Deals in parallels!
  – Examples: Theocracy (government by God’s
    law) in Salem vs. the McCarthyist courts
• We don’t just see parallels between the world in
  1692 and the world in the 1950s
• We also see characters who parallel other
  – A doppelganger is a character whose arc parallels
    that of another character, only in a different fashion
  – Examples: Cheever and Herrick (one eager to
    follow the court, the other reluctant); Abigail and
    Elizabeth (adulteress vs. wife, both loving Proctor);
    Abigail and Mary (both girls affected by Proctor, but
    one is strong and cunning while the other is weak
    and simple)
       To Review and Study:
• Think about the settings of the play –
  physical setting, temporal (time) setting,
  theological/societal setting (better
  understand the Puritans!)
• Think about the relationships between the
  characters, and how their actions are
  affected by them
       To Review and Study:
• Think about the natures of the characters,
  and how their actions are affected by
  them. Are they hypocrites? (Parris is
  supposed to preach simple values,
  whereas he lectures over and over about
  golden candlesticks.) Are they honorable?
  (Giles being pressed to death for his
       To Review and Study:
• You’ve defined the goals, desires, and
  motives for most of the characters by this
  point (or could do so if asked). How many
  of them get what they want – how many of
  them succeed? How many of them fail?
  (How do they succeed? If they fail, how do
  they contribute to the problems of the
  play? What specific actions or choices
  does each character make that helps the
  plot move along?)
            To Summarize:
•   Settings
•   Actions/Plots
•   Characters/Motives
•   Themes
•   Allegory/Parallels
•   Puritan Times – your Bradford,
    Rowlandson, and Edwards readings!

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