The Crucible The Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism and Arthur Miller Who Really Moves the Ouija Board? The devil gives people powers The devil grants loyalty
if those with the powers harm others Historical Context A "witchcraft craze" rippled through Europe from the 1300s to the end of the
1600s. Tens of thousands of supposed witchesmostly womenwere executed. The Salem incident began after the European craze died down
Circumstances Surrounding the Accusations Many people moved to Essex county because of conflict w/ English rulers William and Mary Put a strain on resources in the county. Created factions- those who had lived in the county for some time, and refuges from Canada and neighboring
states Salem in the 1700s A Salem witch house Those Involved In 1692 Reverend Parris' daughter Elizabeth, age 9, and niece Abigail Williams, age 11,
started having "fits." a local doctor blamed the supernatural Reverend Samuel Parris Salem Village's first ordained minister in 1689 disliked because of his rigid ways and greedy nature
And More Become Involved Ann Putnam, age 11, experienced similar episodes Magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hawthorne became involved the girls blamed three women for afflicting them Tituba, the Parris' Caribbean slave Sarah Good, a homeless beggar Sarah Osborne, an elderly impoverished
woman The Hangings Bridget Bishop was the first woman hanged.despite her demand of innocence.
The Hysteria Continues Miller claims that more and more people stood up against those accusing, but the opposite is true more and more people were giving false confessions and four women actually pled guilty to the charges. some claim this was because it became apparent that confession would save one from the noose
there is evidence that the Court was planning to execute the confessors as well The Outcome 19 were hanged on Gallows Hill a 71-year-old man was pressed to death with heavy stones several people died in jail nearly 200 people, overall, had been accused of practicing "the Devil's
magic. Truth? Published in Science in 1976 by psychologist Linda Caporael blamed the abnormal habits of the accused on the fungus ergot, which can be found in rye, wheat and other cereal grasses. toxicologists say that eating ergot-contaminated foods can lead to muscle spasms, vomiting,
delusions and hallucinations the fungus thrives in warm and damp climates not too unlike the swampy meadows in Salem Village, where rye was the staple grain during the spring and summer months Passing of a Fad intervention of Governor William Phips led to the innocent being released (after paying a jail fee)
craze died down soon after Historical Inaccuracies Events in the play and movie are LOOSLY based on the Salem Witch Trials
Why Did Arthur Miller Write The Crucible? McCarthyism - 1940's and 1950's growing concern for communism. -Senator McCarthy begin a modern day witch hunt accusing more than 200 public figures of being card-carrying communists. -Most were writers, actors and
entertainers. Many had their passports taken away and lost work. -Created strong political tension. -Charlie Chapman, Arthur Miller among others Those Who Spoke Out Against Senator McCarthy -comedian Mort Sahl, and journalist Edward R. Murrow
strong criticisms of McCarthy are often cited as playing an important role in his eventual removal from power. Modern day witch hunt ends in 1954 Questions to Ponder constitutes true authority? Is it learning, holding high office in the state, the dictates of religious law as interpreted by officials of the established religion, the moral values and conscience of the individual, something else? Explain.
1. What 2.How does pride lead the people of Salem in their actions and decision making, or hold them back from following morals and/or logic? 3.Arthur Millers The Crucible is often viewed more as a tragedy of humanity and the individual within it rather than a true political allegory of McCarthyism and the Red Scare. In addition, Millers concern may be something far greater than Did witches really exist in Salem? It may be pointing out the true condition of humanity. What do you think?
4.Finally, focus particularly on the character of John Proctor. Does he ultimately make the right decision? Is it permissible to lie in order to save your life? Isnt a survivor also a hero? Doesnt Proctor have a duty to his wife and kids? 5.Can you think of any modern day witch hunts? Explain and compare to the events in The Crucible. 6.A crucible is a place or occasion of a true test or trial. Provide examples from the movie of events that support the concepts behind the title.
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