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The CrucibleHigher English Key facts FULL TITLEThe Crucible. AUTHORArthur Miller TYPE OF WORKTragedy allegory TIME AND PLACE WRITTEN.America early 1950s SETTING TIME 1692 SETTING PLACE Puritan Salem a small town in colonial Massachusetts PLOT For many hundreds of years throughoutEurope there was a belief in witchcraft At times.this belief developed into hysterical fear leading to campaigns of persecution againstsuspected witches A small town in New Englandsuccumbs to the hysteria of witchcraft whentwo young girls Abigail and Betty appear to be.bewitched and allegations are made againstmany innocent people At the same time JohnProctor struggles with his own guilty conscienceover his recent infidelity with Abigail Williams THE CRUCIBLE BY ARTHUR MILLER.Born on October 17 1915 on 112th Street in Manhattan Family was middle class and Jewish He went to grammar school inHarlem and high school in Brooklyn He got a job as a loader and shipping clerk and managed to pay his own way at theUniversity of Michigan where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1938 Miller was also a public figure In 1956 he appeared before the House Un American Activities Committee He refused toname people who were thought to be members of the Communist Party Because he refused to give the names of the.people at the meeting Miller was convicted of contempt of Congress in 1957 The Supreme Court reversed this in 1958 This political witch hunt known as McCarthyism after Joseph McCarthy inspired Miller to write The Crucible In 1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy of West Virginia began accusing people in the government of being or supporting Communists Fear broke out in the American public much like the fear that erupted in Salem once people were accused of witchcraft Miller wrote the play from the standpoint that people must not only be careful about how they react to situations but that.they also cannot avoid involvement in issues for that would mean to deny one s own personal responsibility in the humanMiller married three times and died early in 2005 Some of Miller s famous plays include Death of a Salesman 1949 All MySons The Crucible 1953 and A View From the Bridge Who were the Puritans Definition Refers to the movement for reform which occurred.within the Church of England between the time of Elizabeth andCharles II The Puritans wanted to rid the Church of any Catholic residueand build upon the ideas of John Calvin When Elizabeth died andCharles II dissolved parliament and any connection between.church and state he demanded that anyone be killed who didnot support the new Anglican Church Hence religiouspersecution began for the Puritans Left for the New World in 1620 and established theMassachusetts Bay Colony . The Puritan community was a theocracy a governmentwhich blends church and state The church s officialswere the government s officials Thus church and statewere not separate Because of the theocratic nature of the society moral laws.and state laws are one and the same sin and the status ofan individual s soul are matters of public concern There isno room for deviation from social norms since anyindividual whose private life doesn t conform to theestablished moral laws represents a threat not only to the.public good but also to the rule of God and true religion In Salem everything and everyone belongs to either Godor the Devil dissent is not merely unlawful it is associatedwith satanic activity This dichotomy functions as theunderlying logic behind the witch trials . Theological Beliefs Espoused by the PuritansThese beliefs originated in Calvinism Total depravity Humankind is totally sinful through thefall of Adam and utterly unable to work out their ownredemption . Unconditional election Predestination God isunder no obligation to save anyone He saves or elects those who he wills with no reference to good 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 haschosen have thenceforth full power to do the will of Godand the ability to live uprightly to the end The Puritan Dilemma. Puritanism required That a man devote his life to seeking salvation but told himhe was helpless to do anything evil That he rest his whole hope in Christ but taught him that Christwould 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 buttaught 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 theworld with but told him he must enjoy his work and his pleasuresonly as if it were absentmindedly with attention fixed on God Edmund S Morgan Historian Signs of Puritan Decay.1 Visible decay of godliness2 Manifestations of pride especiallyamong the rich3 Violations of the Sabbath4 Rise in contentious lawsuits.5 Sins of sex and alcohol on the6 Decay in business morality laborers underpaid lying etc7 Lack of desire to reformWitchcraft.For many hundreds of years throughout Europe there was a belief inwitchcraft At times this belief developed into hysterical fear leading tocampaigns of persecution against suspected witches Some of themmight have had a knowledge of herbal medicine or other folk remedies Superstitious people would assume they had magical powers or were in.league with the devil In a time of fear it would be easy to accuse someone you did not like andvery difficult for the accused to prove their innocence Some scholars became experts in witchcraft and believed they knew howto identify witches It was thought that witches were agents of the Devil.and that they could change their shape Many thousands of people accused of being witches were tortured andexecuted throughout the Middle Ages and up to the seventeenth century The authorities used the text from Exodus 22 18 to justify these killings Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live . This belief in witchcraft persisted among the English colonists inAmerica In 1692 there was an outbreak of accusations of witchcraftin Salem Massachusetts The colonists there were Puritans who followed a particular form ofProtestant Christianity and would tolerate no other They felt.surrounded by ungodly people and associated the forest with savagesand with evil Two young girls had been taking part in magical ceremonies Ministers doctors and magistrates were called in and soonaccusations were multiplying . Before the panic had burned itself out twenty people had beenexecuted one man was pressed to death by stones and about twohundred had been accused Later some of the witnesses and judges who had been involvedpublicly regretted what had taken place . The Salem Witch Trials 1692 Innocent prank caused mass hysteria during time of unrest Hysteria implies Puritans deep belief in supernatural Puritans cannot handle anything threatening the quest forperfection religious purity magic is out of place . Puritans brought pre existing ideas about women magic to Women evil sexual targets for Devil Am I a witch One of these people were accused andimprisoned for being a witch during the.Salem trials Can you guess which one Givereasons for your answer Dorcas Good She was Sarah Good s daughter 5 years old. Fond of snakes Sarah Good She was a homeless woman and begged door to She would mumble words under her breath ifpeople failed to give her alms . George Burroughs He was the second Salem Village minister He had five children He was widowed three times Giles Corey. He had a criminal record mostly for stolenfoods and tobacco 80 years old You re Accused It s the spring of 1692 in Salem Massachusetts You ve just been.accused by an afflicted girl of being a witch The reason for theaccusation against you might have been any from a long list ofpossibilities Perhaps you re reclusive talk to yourself or exhibit some other formof eccentric behavior Perhaps you were involved in a previous.dispute with the family of the afflicted girl Perhaps you don t go tochurch or go to the wrong church or sided with the wrong faction inrecent congregational strife within the Salem Village Church Perhapsyou speak French or are suspected with having aided the Wabanakis inthe recent Indian wars .Or perhaps you expressed support for a recently accused witch or worse yet accused the accusers of lying Whatever the reason you rein big trouble now What do you do Pick an option below Flee Salem Accuse Someone Else. Get pregnant Confess Go on trial Refuse to stand for trial Flee Salem Good idea if you can swing it Several accused witches did.escape from jail and survive the 1692 hysteria They included Philip andMary English John Alden Hezekiah Usher and Mrs Nathaniel Cary However all these accused persons had either money or influence thatmade their escape possible You don t have either Try your next Accuse Someone Else The theory here is that if you re afflicted by.witchcraft you can t be a witch yourself This theory even convincedsome daughters to testify against their own mothers It s not a bad idea if you have no conscience but sorry it s too late now You shouldhave thought of this idea a few days ago Now your accusation will looklike an obvious attempt to distract attention from your own guilt The.accusation of witchcraft has been made against you and you re stillgoing to have to deal with it Pick another option Get Pregnant This isn t as silly an idea as it sounds Pregnant women even ifconvicted of witchcraft would not be executed so long as they remainedpregnant The theory is that even if you deserve death the baby inside you.does not so the officials will put off your execution This was called reprieve for the belly Of course you still might be executed eventually but the hope is that the hysteria won t last another nine months One slightproblem however Who will you find in jail to impregnate you Sorry thisoption is not available Try another . Confess This route pioneered by accused witches Tituba and DeliveranceHobbs turned out to be a life saver Confessing witches weren t executed Instead they were kept apart from other prisoners to be called upon intrials when their testimony might be helpful to the prosecution ThePuritans believed that once a person made a full confession his or her fate.should be left in God s hands not man s Fifty five persons in the Salem areaconfessed to witchcraft in 1692 adding substantial credibility to the initialcharges of witchcraft made by the afflicted girls Do you really want to admitto being a witch Is this something you want on your resume If not tryanother option . Plead Innocent and Stand for Trial This is the approach that led tonineteen innocent persons being carted off to Gallows Hill during thesummer of 1692 If you plead innocent you ll have to face trial without alawyer and without the ability to call witnesses on your own behalf answer unanwerable questions If you re not a witch how do explain.the fact that these afflicted girls fall into fits the minute you enter theroom all before a court that unanimously believes in witchcraft andbelieves that you re guilty This approach looks hopeless You better tryanother option Refuse to Stand for Trial Octogenarian Giles Corey gave this option a try .Knowing the fate that awaited him if he stood for trial Giles refused toanswer the ritual question Will you be tried by your God and yourcountry that is a jury The penalty for refusing to answer was peineforte et dure an especially unpleasant way of going that involves pilingheavy stones on your body until you either agree to stand trial or are.crushed to death I don t think you want to go through with this Bettertry another option The Crucible is a play byArthur Miller whichexplores the Salem.Witch Trials A Crucible is a severe test It does not maintain authentic situations from the historical events However it does demonstrate how hysteria and blind faith can corruptindividuals even those with good intentions . The play is social commentary made byMiller in response to the McCarthy Un American witch hunt trials of the 1950 s The reason why we find ourselves in a position ofimpotency is not because the enemy has sent men to.invade our shores but rather because of the traitorousThe Crucible Higher English SETTING In this Act, the action moves from the private spheres of The Parris and Proctor residences to the meeting house or church, which is now being used as the â€˜highest court in the landâ€™ where everyoneâ€™s business is open to scrutiny and can be used against them, underlining the fact that the church and the state are the same thing in Puritan society.