Witch Hunt In The Crucible

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Witch Hunt In The Crucible

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The Crucible: The Halem Witch Trials

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John submits Mary's deposition, which declares that she was coerced to accuse people by Abigail. Abigail denies Mary's assertions that they are pretending, and stands by her story about the poppet. When challenged by Parris and Hathorne to 'pretend to be possessed', Mary is too afraid to comply. John attacks Abigail's character, revealing that she and the other girls were caught dancing naked in the woods by Rev. Parris on the night of Betty Parris' alleged 'bewitchment'. When Danforth begins to question Abigail, she claims that Mary has begun to bewitch her with a cold wind and John loses his temper, calling Abigail a whore. He confesses their affair, says Abigail was fired from his household over it and that Abigail is trying to murder Elizabeth so that she may "dance with me on my wife's grave.

Danforth brings Elizabeth in to confirm this story, beforehand forbidding anyone to tell her about John's testimony. Unaware of John's public confession, Elizabeth fears that Abigail has revealed the affair in order to discredit John and lies, saying that there was no affair, and that she fired Abigail out of wild suspicion. Hale begs Danforth to reconsider his judgement, now agreeing Abigail is "false", but to no avail; Danforth throws out this testimony based solely upon John's earlier assertion that Elizabeth would never tell a lie.

Confusion and hysteria begin to overtake the room. Abigail and the girls run about screaming, claiming Mary's spirit is attacking them in the form of a yellow bird, which nobody else is able to see. When Danforth tells the increasingly distraught Mary that he will sentence her to hang, she joins with the other girls and recants all her allegations against them, claiming John Proctor forced her to turn her against the others and that he harbors the devil. John, in despair and having given up all hope, declares that " God is dead ", and is arrested.

Furious, Reverend Hale denounces the proceedings and quits the court. Act Four takes place three months later in the town jail, early in the morning. Tituba, sharing a cell with Sarah Good, appears to have gone insane from all of the hysteria, hearing voices and now actually claiming to talk to Satan. Marshal Herrick, depressed at having arrested so many of his neighbors, has turned to alcoholism. Many villagers have been charged with witchcraft; most have confessed and been given lengthy prison terms and their property seized by the government; twelve have been hanged; seven more are to be hanged at sunrise for refusing to confess, including John Proctor, Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey.

Giles Corey was tortured to death by pressing as the court tried in vain to extract a plea; by holding out, Giles ensured that his sons would receive his land and possessions. The village has become dysfunctional with so many people in prison or dead, and with the arrival of news of rebellion against the courts in nearby Andover , whispers abound of an uprising in Salem. Abigail, fearful of the consequences, steals Parris's life savings and disappears on a ship to England with Mercy Lewis. Danforth and Hathorne have returned to Salem to meet with Parris, and are surprised to learn that Hale has returned and is meeting with the condemned. Parris, who has lost everything to Abigail, reports that he has received death threats. He begs Danforth to postpone the executions in order to secure confessions, hoping to avoid executing some of Salem's most highly regarded citizens.

Hale, deeply remorseful and blaming himself for the hysteria, has returned to counsel the condemned to falsely confess and avoid execution. He presses Danforth to pardon the remaining seven and put the entire affair behind them. Danforth refuses, stating that pardons or postponement would cast doubt on the veracity of previous confessions and hangings. Danforth and Hale summon Elizabeth and ask her to persuade John to confess. She is bitter towards Hale, both for doubting her earlier and for wanting John to give in and ruin his good name, but agrees to speak with her husband, if only to say goodbye.

She and John have a lengthy discussion, during which she commends him for holding out and not confessing. John says he is refusing to confess not out of religious conviction but through contempt for his accusers and the court. The two finally reconcile, with Elizabeth forgiving John and saddened by the thought that he cannot forgive himself and see his own goodness.

Knowing in his heart that it is the wrong thing for him to do, John agrees to falsely confess to engaging in witchcraft, deciding that he has no desire or right to be a martyr. Danforth, Hathorne, and a relieved Parris ask John to testify to the guilt of the other hold-outs and the executed. John refuses, saying he can only report on his own sins. Danforth is disappointed by this reluctance, but at the urging of Hale and Parris, allows John to sign a written confession, to be displayed on the church door as an example. John is wary, thinking his verbal confession is sufficient.

As they press him further John eventually signs, but refuses to hand the paper over, stating he does not want his family and especially his three sons to be stigmatized by the public confession. The men argue until Proctor renounces his confession entirely, ripping up the signed document. Danforth calls for the sheriff and John is led away, to be hanged. Facing an imminent rebellion, Putnam and Parris frantically run out to beg Proctor to confess. Hale, guilty over John's death, pleads with Elizabeth to talk John around but she refuses, stating John has "found his goodness". During the McCarthy era , German-Jewish novelist and playwright Lion Feuchtwanger became the target of suspicion as a left-wing intellectual during his exile in the US. In , Feuchtwanger wrote a play about the Salem witch trials , Wahn oder der Teufel in Boston Delusion, or The Devil in Boston , as an allegory for the persecution of communists, thus anticipating the theme of The Crucible by Arthur Miller; Wahn premiered in Germany in Original Broadway cast : [10] [11].

In June Miller recast the production, simplified the "pitiless sets of rude buildings" and added a scene. Marshall — Rev. In , the year the play debuted, Miller wrote, " The Crucible is taken from history. No character is in the play who did not take a similar role in Salem, Abigail Williams' age was increased from 11 or 12 [16] to 17, probably to add credence to the backstory of Proctor's affair with Abigail. John Proctor himself was 60 years old in , but portrayed as much younger in the play, for the same reason. Miller claimed, in A Note on the Historical Accuracy of this Play , [19] that "while there were several judges of almost equal authority, I have symbolized them all in Hathorne and Danforth".

Both men were subsequent Deputy Governors, but it was Stoughton who, alone among the judges, was a bachelor who never married [20] who ordered further deliberations after the jury initially acquitted Rebecca Nurse. He refused to ever acknowledge that the trials had been anything other than a success, and was infuriated when Governor Phips whose own wife, somehow, had been named as a possible witch ended the trials for good and released the prisoners. Danforth did not sit on the Court of Oyer and Terminer. In fact he is recorded as being critical of the conduct of the trials, and played a role in bringing them to an end.

In real life, the Putnams who both died in were survived by ten of their twelve children, including Ann Jr. Thomas Putnam's conduct during the witch trial hysteria has been amply documented to have been almost entirely due to financial motivations and score-settling, something the play only makes reference to after introducing the Putnams' fictional deceased offspring as part of the plot narrative. In the essay, "Journey to The Crucible ", Miller writes of visiting Salem and feeling like the only one interested in what really happened in Parris issued his first in a series of apologies on November 26, , and was removed from his position in The play's action takes place 70 years after the community arrived as settlers from Britain.

The people on whom the characters are based would have retained strong regional dialects from their home country. Miller gave all his characters the same colloquialisms, such as "Goody" or " Goodwife ", and drew on the rhythms and speech patterns of the King James Bible to achieve the effect of historical perspective he wanted. The word "crucible" is defined as a severe test or trial; alternately, a container in which metals or other substances are subjected to high temperatures. The characters whose moral standards prevail in the face of death, such as John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse , symbolically refuse to sacrifice their principles or to falsely confess. The play has been presented several times on television.

A production starred George C. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see The Crucible disambiguation. Original Broadway cast : [10] [11] In June Miller recast the production, simplified the "pitiless sets of rude buildings" and added a scene. Comparative Drama. JSTOR Critical companion to Arthur Miller: a literary reference to his life and work. New York: Infobase. This persecution of alleged subversives became known colloquially as "McCarthyism. McCarthy finally lost power in soon after proposing an investigation of the military to root out communists. President Eisenhower, who never liked McCarthy and had great respect for the military as a former commander, decided things had finally gone too far. He worked behind the scenes to discredit McCarthy.

He died soon after in , four years after the opening of The Crucible. Though the modern-day witch hunt philosophy carries his namesake, Joseph McCarthy was far from the only driving force behind the investigation of suspected communists during the Cold War. Another congressional group called the House UnAmerican Activities Committee played a similar and, some would argue, even more dramatic role at the same time. HUAC was a congressional committee originally established in with the primary goal of investigating communist and fascist organizations that had become active during the Great Depression.

Members of the committee were convinced that disloyal communists had managed to infiltrate the US government, educational system, and entertainment industry. Anyone deemed suspicious was issued a subpoena by the committee and subsequently questioned about their political activities and the activities of other potential subversives. People who refused to answer these questions or name any names were arrested for contempt of Congress and even sent to jail. Many were subsequently denied employment opportunities in their industries because they were universally "blacklisted" or shut out by employers who feared that hiring them would be a public relations nightmare.

How did McCarthy come up with his catalog of commies? He asked everyone in Congress if he could borrow a pen. The ones who said yes were on the list. He had become fascinated with the environment of paranoia and how it affected society as a whole. When he stumbled upon the story of the Salem witch trials, he finally came up with a way to express those themes on stage. The Crucible was also a reaction his personal disappointment at the decision of his friend, director Elia Kazan, to name some former colleagues as communists in in front of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. He was suspected not incorrectly of possessing close ties to the American Communist Party.

Miller did in fact write communist theater criticism and was a greater private supporter of communism than he portrayed himself to be at the time, but he never actually joined the party. When he appeared before HUAC, Miller refused to name anyone else who was involved in "subversive" political activities. Because he worked mainly in theater, he didn't have to worry as much about the effects Hollywood's unforgiving blacklist policy would have on his career. Miller was found in contempt of Congress for refusing to betray his peers, but the ruling was overturned two years later as HUAC lost power and relevance. Many professionals in the entertainment industry found themselves jobless in Hollywood after falling out of HUAC's good graces.

The government's influence on movies at this time was much greater than it is today. The abandonment of reason in the face of hysteria is a clear common theme. Miller writes, "There was magic all around; the politics of alien conspiracy soon dominated political discourse and bid fair to wipe out any other issue. As communist hysteria built, Miller was even more convinced that he wanted to write a play based on this form of collective insanity. He was especially fascinated by people who disagreed with the communist "witch hunt" but chose to keep their heads down and go along with it to avoid their own persecution.

He writes, "But by , when I began to think of writing about the hunt for Reds in America, I was motivated in some great part by the paralysis that had set in among many liberals who, despite their discomfort with the inquisitors' violations of civil rights, were fearful, and with good reason, of being identified as covert Communists if they should protest too strongly. For example, John Proctor hesitates to expose Abigail as a fraud because he fears repercussions from the court, and Parris is eager to turn on others to preserve his reputation. In another relevant quote, Miller writes, "The Soviet plot was the hub of a great wheel of causation ; the plot justified the crushing of all nuance, all the shadings that a realistic judgment of reality requires.

Danforth claims that there is "a moving plot to topple Christ in the country! Danforth also insists that "a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between" pg. The women were tried for witchcraft - Good and Osbourn claimed innocence, and Tituba confessed. Tituba's detailed confession included a claim that there were several undiscovered witches who wanted to destroy the community. This caused a witch-hunting rampage: 19 men and women were hanged, one man was pressed to death, and over more people were imprisoned, awaiting trial. On September 22, , the last eight alleged witches were hanged.

On October 8, , Governor Phipps ordered that spectral evidence when someone claimed to witness a person's spirit in a separate location from that same person's physical body could no longer be admitted in witchcraft trials. On October 29, Phipps prohibited further arrests and released many accused witches. The remaining alleged witches were pardoned by May The hangings of witches in were the last such hangings in America. Explain how a question represents key ideas in the field. Analyze connections among events and developments in broader historical contexts.

Use questions generated about individuals and groups to analyze why they, and the developments they shaped, are seen as historically significant. Analyze multiple factors that influenced the perspectives of people during different historical eras. Explain how and why perspectives of people have changed over time. Offer them the following instructions, and suggest that they distribute the reading evenly and return to discuss the questions after 10—15 minutes of reading. Instructors might also consider assigning this reading the night before as homework. Instructions for students: Just as the society around us shapes the way we think and act, so did it shape the people of Salem, Massachusetts in the s.

Look at the websites listed below, and, on a separate sheet of paper, answer the questions about life in Puritan New England. Note that many of the websites contain interactive images. Click on the images to open them, and mouse-over the image to discover more about it. The Puritans. The Puritan Idea of the Covenant. New Groups: A Great Migration. Working: "To 1 day work at my house". Beliefs: A City upon a Hill. Gender Roles: Beliefs and Gender Roles. Education: Print and Protestantism. Customs: Possessions Reveal Social Standing. Getting Things: Importing Status.

Child Life: Fleeting Mortality. Agriculture: Agriculture and Community. Public Space: The Meeting House. Once they have answered all of the questions, ask students to prepare a summary of what they learned to present to the class. Have everyone contribute to the overall discussion about Puritan values the same question begins each list , and then have students present their information to the class.

This should be no more than a few sentences highlighting the key concepts of the aspect of Puritan life that they researched. Ask students to access the following websites and answer the questions listed below. This can be done individually or with partners, and can also be given as a homework assignment. Ask students to read slowly and carefully, looking up words they do not understand and writing them down in their notebook.

Read the first five paragraphs of John Dane's Narrative, until you reach the following passage: "Then said my mother, " go where you will, God he will find you out. Finally, write the following names on slips of paper, and have students draw them from a hat. A convenient PDF with all the names is available for you to print out. Bridget Bishop; Rev. Find your assigned person on the website ' Important Persons in the Salem Court Records ' and write five sentences about him or her answering some of these questions, or similar questions that you come up with on your own:. Otherwise, you might use the website to guide your students' discussion of the term. You might ask students questions like: Who was the head of a Puritan household?

What was thought of women who stood out? What cues suggested signs of witchcraft? How do these cues fit within the Puritan worldview that you researched earlier? At this point, students should begin to reconstruct the history of "What Happened in Salem? Make sure students follow their individual's role, no matter how small or large, as best they can throughout the process. In combination with this Chronology via the Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive , have students separate into groups of four to create a timeline of the Salem Witch Trials.

Events on the timeline should each have one sentence attached to them, to assure that students read information about the events, rather than just finding them on the Chronology. The students can illustrate their timelines if there is time for them to do so. If some groups of students finish earlier than others, ask these students to access this petition for bail from accused witches. Ask students to click on the document and to try to read it.

What was it like reading this kind of document? What was the document about? What were some of the reasons that the accused witches cite for why they should be allowed to leave the prison? As students are completing the timeline or reading the primary source document, post signs on your walls - on one side of the classroom, post the words "I agree" and on the other side, post the words "I don't agree". Read a series of controversial statements, listed below, and have students stand somewhere between the "I agree" and "I disagree". They don't have to agree or disagree, they can stand in the middle, or closer to one side than the other, wherever on the spectrum they fit.

After each statement is read and students are standing in their spots based on levels of agreement, conduct a conversation from those places, so students can physically see where they are. Students may change physical positions if they change their minds based on discussion. If students move, they should be asked what convinced them to change their mind. Some of these questions might be best asked of the historical people the students have been tracking since Activity 2. Have the students role-play their historical person, answering some of the questions as the student might think their historical person would respond.

Make sure the students explain their rationale behind their decisions. Use the Salem Witch Trials as an opportunity to explore the concept of the multiplicity of explanations and causes there can be for one event. Ask students to brainstorm a list of reasons why they think the Salem Witch Trials might have happened, which you can then write on the board. Ask them to support their reasons based on evidence they've learned in their study of the event.

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