2Historical EventsIn 1692, as members of the community began developing a mysterious illness, suspicions arose that witches were responsibleThe governor of the colony of Massachusetts began court proceedings
3Theories – What caused the hysteria Puritan zealotryMob mentalityContamination of rye grain (recent research) – ergot poisoning symptoms are seizures, itching, vomiting, partial loss of sight, hallucinations – due to the girls’ smaller size it effected them more
4Basic Beliefs-God decided the fate of all people before they were born. Nothing they did could change their destiny.Each person was responsible for his own good behavior.All Puritans had to carefully watch their own behavior and that of their neighbors. Sinners were punished severely.A person was always being tempted by the devil. For forgiveness a person must confess, repent, and pay penance. Confession must be open. Without confession the accused would face hanging.Control of the government by the Church.
5Historical ContextFear of Communist Influence – concern for security of the USSoviets dominated Eastern Europe & communists had taken over ChinaHouse Un-American Activities Committee – investigated communist influenceInvestigated communist influence in movie industry – propaganda filmsMany were friendly witnesses that testified on communist influencesHollywood Ten – believed hearings were unconstitutional & refused to testify
6Reader’s ContextThe Crucible cannot be interpreted in a strict allegorical senseThere were no witches or devil worshipers in Salem (according to research)There were Communists in the State Department (Alger Hiss) and spies working for the USSR (Rosenbergs)Miller’s Communist friends were often less innocent than the victims of the Salem witch trials, like the stalwart Rebecca Nurse or the tragic John Proctor.
7Arthur Miller ( )Father’s business failure during the Great Depression led him to write about themes related to social and political justiceFound the Salem Witch Trials interestingSaw the similarities with the HUACRefused to testify before the HUACMarried to Marilyn Monroe
8Studying a PlayA play is written to be performed. When you read any play, you should remember this, and try to visualize the actors and the stage in your head. If possible, go to see a live performance of the play.The playwright will usually include stage directions, often written in italics, to give the director information about how to stage the play.The stage directions will also give the actors guidance about how to play their characters.In this case, Miller also includes a great deal of background information about his characters and their roles in the history of Salem.
9Think about:Differences between moral law and secular law, and the implications of combining the twoDifferences between guilt by evidence as opposed to guile by association.How laws for the public good can be made to further personal interests of specific individualsThe role of individual power and status in establishing guilt or innocence
10Have you ever had to cover-up for doing something wrong? Act IHave you ever had to cover-up for doing something wrong?
11Opening SceneReverend Parris kneels in prayer in front of his daughter’s bed who is in an unresponsive state.Abigail denies that she and the girls engaged in witchcraft. She states that Betty merely fainted from shock when her father caught them dancing.Parris fears that his enemies will use the scandal to drive him out of his ministerial office.Thomas Putnam holds one of the play’s many simmering grudges. His brother-in-law was a candidate for the Salem ministry, but a small faction thwarted his relative’s aspirations.
12John ProctorProctor disdains hypocrisy, and many people resent him for exposing their foolishness.Proctor is uneasy with himself because he had conducted an extramarital affair with Abigail.Parris contends that Proctor does not have the right to defy his religious authority.Parris feels underappreciatedParris wants to assert his power
13Reverend Hale Man who has studied witchcraft extensively Hale questions Abigail about the dancing in the forest, but Abigail maintains that the dancing was not connected to witchcraftHale counsels her to open herself to God’s glory, and he asks if she has ever seen someone that she knows from Salem with the devil.The scene closes as Abigail and Betty, in feverish ecstasy, alternate in piling up names on the growing list.
14SalemMany of the former dangers that united the community in its early years have lessened, while interpersonal feuds and grudges over property, religious offices, and sexual behavior have begun to simmer beneath the theocratic surface.These tensions, combined with the paranoia about supernatural forces, pervade the town’s religious sensibility and provide the raw materials for the hysteria of the witch trials.On the surface, Parris appears to be an anxious, worried father. However, if we pay close attention to his language, we find indications that he is mainly worried about his reputation, not the welfare of his daughter and their friends.
15Guilt by AssociationThe idea of guilt by association is central to the events in The Crucible, as it is one of the many ways in which the private, moral behavior of citizens can be regulated.The individual is pressured to govern his or her private relationships according to public opinion and public law.To solidify one’s good name, it is necessary to publicly condemn the wrongdoing of others. In this way, guilt by association also reinforces the publicizing of private sins.
16Act IIHave you ever wanted to stand up against an injustice but didn’t do anything? What kept you from acting on your belief?
17The Proctors’ Home A private sanctuary Mary Warren is now an officer of the courtElizabeth wants Proctor to expose the liesProctor will not risk his affair becoming publicElizabeth is arrestedProctor asks Hale why the accuser is always considered innocent.Hale appears less and less certain of the accusations of witchcraft. Proctor tells Mary that she has to testify in court that she made the doll and put the needle in it. Mary declares that Abigail will kill her
18PowerAbigail and her troop have achieved an extremely unusual level of power and authority for young, unmarried girls in a Puritan community.They can destroy the lives of others with a mere accusation, and even the wealthy and influential are not safe.Proctor knows that he can bring down Abigail and end her reign of terror, but he fears for his good name if his hidden sin of adultery is revealed – the harshest judge is himself
19Reverend Hale Hale is undergoing an internal crisis. He clearly enjoyed being called to Salem because it made him feel like an expert.His pleasure in the trials comes from his privileged position of authority with respect to defining the guilty and the innocent.His surprise at hearing of Rebecca’s arrest and the warrant for Elizabeth’s arrest reveals that Hale is no longer in control of the proceedings.Power has passed into the hands of others, and as the craze spreads, Hale begins to doubt its essential justice.
20Have you ever been reluctant to take sides in a situation? Act IIIHave you ever been reluctant to take sides in a situation?
21Salem CourtroomGiles interrupts the proceedings by shouting that Putnam is only making a grab for more land.Proctor and Mary Warren enter the room. Mary testifies that she and the other girls were only pretending to be afflicted by witchcraftProctor confesses his affair with her and explains that Elizabeth fired her when she discovered it
22Reason for ContinuingDeputy Governor Danforth and Judge Hathorne do not want to admit publicly that they were deceived by a bunch of young women and girlsParris does not want the trials to end as a fraud because the scandal of having a lying daughter and niece would end his career in Salem.
23Power of the CourtThe power of the court to invade the private lives of citizens, and indicates the extent to which the court believes in guilt by association.In the witch trials, guilt need not be proven by hard evidence, and signing a deposition attesting to the good character of the accused is enough to put oneself under the same suspicion of guilt.During a bout of hysteria such as the witch trials, authority and power fall to those who can avoid questioning while forcing others to speak.
24Act IVWhen have you chosen to suffer the consequences of being truthful rather than hide behind dishonesty?
25Disorder in Salem Cows are wandering loose Crops are rotting in the fieldsOrphans are wandering without supervisionMany homes have fallen into neglect because their owners were in jail or had to attend the proceedingsEveryone lives in fear of being accused of witchcraft, and there are rumors of revolt in nearby Andover.
26John ProctorProctor asks Elizabeth if she thinks that he should confess.He says that he does not hold out, like Rebecca and Martha, because of religious conviction.He does so out of spite because he wants his persecutors to feel the weight of guilt for seeing him hanged when they know he is innocent.After wrestling with his conscience for a long time, Proctor agrees to confessProctor refuses to accuse others – will only speak to his own sinsProctor refuses to allow him to nail the paper with his name on the church door and, after arguing with the magistrates, tears the confession in two and renounces itHale and Parris plead with Elizabeth to remonstrate with Proctor, but she refuses to sway him from doing what he believes is just
27ConfessionProctor’s unwillingness to sign his name to the confession results in part from his desire not to dishonor his fellow prisoners’ decisions to stand firmProctor fixates on his name and on how it will be destroyed if he signs the confession.Proctor’s desire to preserve his good name earlier keeps him from testifying against Abigail, leading to disastrous consequences.He has finally come to a true understanding of what a good reputation means, and his defense of his name, in the form of not signing the confession, enables him to muster the courage to die heroically.His goodness and honesty, lost during his affair with Abigail, are recovered
28JustificationDanforth prioritizes a bizarre, abstract notion of equality over the tangible reality of potential innocence.Most important issue for the officials is the preservation of their reputations & the integrity of the court.As a theocratic institution, the court represents divine, as well as secular, justice.To admit to twelve mistaken hangings would be to question divine justice & the very foundations of the state and of human life.
30John Proctor John Proctor is a tormented individual. He believes his affair with Abigail irreparably damaged him in the eyes of God, his wife Elizabeth, and himself.His own inability to forgive himself merely intensifies his reaction to Elizabeth's lack of forgiveness.The fact that he must reveal his transgression torments Proctor.His best possession is his good name and the respect and integrity associated with it.Once he acknowledges his affair with Abigail, Proctor effectively brands himself an adulterer and loses his good name.Proctor's decision to tell the court about his affair ironically demonstrates his goodness.He willingly sacrifices his good name in order to protect his wife.Only through his public acknowledgment of the affair does Proctor regain his wife's trust.At the end of the play, Proctor refuses to slander himself by allowing the court to nail his false confession to the church door.This action further exemplifies Proctor's integrity.Although he wants to live, escaping death is not worth basing the remainder of his life on a lie.This realization, along with Elizabeth's forgiveness, enables Proctor to forgive himself and finally regain his good name and self-respect.
31Abigail Williams Abigail Williams is the vehicle that drives the play. She bears most of the responsibility for the girls meeting with Tituba in the woodsWhen Parris discovers them, she attempts to conceal her behavior because it will reveal her affair with Proctor if she confesses to casting a spell on Elizabeth Proctor.Abigail shifts the focus away from herself by accusing others of witchcraft.This desperate act of self-preservation soon becomes Abigail's avenue of power.Abigail is the exact opposite of Elizabeth.Abigail's willingness to discard Puritan social restrictions sets her apart from the other characters, and also leads to her downfall.Abigail is independent, believing that nothing is impossible or beyond her grasp.These admirable qualities often lead to creativity and a thirst for life; however, Abigail lacks a conscience to keep herself in check.She sees no folly in her affair with Proctor. In fact, Abigail resents Elizabeth because she prevents Abigail from being with Proctor.Abigail's fantasy reflects her age. She is a young girl daydreaming about the ideal male.
32Reverend HaleReverend Hale's faith and his belief in the individual divide him.His job is to diagnose witchcraft if it is present, and then provide a necessary cure through conversion or by removing the "infected" inhabitants from Salem.His good intentions and sincere desire to help the afflicted motivate him.Hale is also vulnerable.His zeal for discovering witchcraft allows others, particularly Abigail, to manipulate him.The amount of evidence for witchcraft when he arrives in Salem overwhelms him.The audience should not condemn Hale.Like Proctor, he falls — through his inaccurate judgments and convictions — but later attempts to correct his shortcomings.Hale is the only member of the court who questions the court's decisions.What he does not realize is that the lies he is urging would only reinforce the slanders the court has already committed. There would be no truth left.The action of the play severely tests Hale's faith and understanding.He must acknowledge that children have manipulated his own irrefutable beliefs, while also realizing that he has sent innocent people to their death.This knowledge is a heavy burden, but it changes Hale for the better.He questions his own faith and doctrine, he does not abandon religion altogether.
33ThemesThemes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.
34IntoleranceThe Crucible is set in a theocratic society, in which the church and the state are one, and the religion is a strict, austere form of Protestantism known as Puritanism.Because of the theocratic nature of the society, moral laws and state laws are one and the same: sin and the status of an individual’s soul are matters of public concern. There is no room for deviation from social norms, since any individual whose private life doesn’t conform to the established 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 God or the devil; dissent is not merely unlawful, it is associated with satanic activity. This dichotomy functions as the underlying logic behind the witch trials.The witch trials are the ultimate expression of intolerance (and hanging witches is the ultimate means of restoring the community’s purity); the trials brand all social deviants with the taint of devil-worship and thus necessitate their elimination from the community.
35Hysteria Fear of the devil allowed the witch trials to go on The role that hysteria can play in tearing apart a community. Hysteria supplants logic and enables people to believe that their neighbors, whom they have always considered upstanding people, are committing absurd and unbelievable crimes—communing with the devil, killing babies, and so on.The townsfolk accept and become active in the hysterical climate not only out of genuine religious piety but also because it gives them a chance to express repressed sentiments and to act on long-held grudges.Abigail – accuses Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft and has her sent to jail.Reverend Parris – strengthens his position within the village, albeit temporarily, by making scapegoats of people like Proctor who question his authority.Thomas Putnam – gains revenge on Francis Nurse by getting Rebecca, Francis’s virtuous wife, convicted of the supernatural murders of Ann Putnam’s babies.In the end, hysteria can thrive only because people benefit from it. It suspends the rules of daily life and allows the acting out of every dark desire and hateful urge under the cover of righteousness.
36ReputationReputation is tremendously important in theocratic Salem, where public and private moralities are one and the same.In an environment where reputation plays such an important role, the fear of guilt by association becomes particularly pernicious. Focused on maintaining public reputation, the townsfolk of Salem must fear that the sins of their friends and associates will taint their names.Various characters base their actions on the desire to protect their respective reputations.The reputation of each individual within the Salem community largely dictated his or her fate.The witch trials featured significant subversions of the dominant social structure by elevating to a position of power individuals whose reputation and status were otherwise lowly.
37Authority and DissentDanforth felt the law should be followed exactly, and that anyone who opposed the trials was trying to undermine him and his authority and the churchThere are many levels of authority within the world of the Crucible.Reverend Parris is the sole authoritative voice in Salem, as the minister and a graduate of Harvard College.He is supplanted by the arrival of Reverend Hale, who derives his authority from books and learning, which are then further supplanted in turn by the courts and its officials.Individualists like Proctor and Giles Corey rankle under these layers of authority – Proctor had long rejected Parris's preachings, and Corey made the authority of the law work for him as a constant plaintiff. But being an outlier is seen as dangerous in this society.Dissent against official authority is akin to being an anarchist at best and an agent of Satan at worst.Proctor and Corey are the two most modern figures in the play for their willingness to push back against the extreme authority of the courts. For this, however, they also suffer greatly.
38MartyrdomMiller addresses the question of whether a martyr must be a saint by having Proctor grapple with this very issue throughout the play.The early victims of the witch hunt are not seen as martyrs because even after death, they are considered undesired members of society.The execution of Rebecca Nurse is widely recognized as one of martyrdom, because she has lived a conspicuously upright life and thus walks to the gallows without protest.Proctor sees himself as the borderline case – a respected member of society but far from sinless. It is only by recognizing that he need not be as perfect as Goody Nurse that Proctor finally finds "his goodness" as a moral man.
39Community vs Individual Salem is a tight-knit community where there is no such thing as private business.Individual activities like church attendance or book reading or keeping poppets become admissible evidence in court.Miller speculates that the community of Salem sought to keep itself together by casting out undesirable individuals, and in so doing created the atmosphere necessary for the witch hunts.The court itself was an extension of this principle, desperately in search of external validity – Danforth cannot possibly exonerate some when others have already perished for the same crime.But for the accused, it is only the individual that matters.Proctor is left with nothing but his name and reputation.
40Naming NamesBy requiring the accused to name others in their confessions, a witch hunt like that in Salem or HUAC can take on the form of a pyramid scheme or chain letter.To avoid the effects of this curse, you must pass it on to five other people, and so forth. This "naming names" allowed the accusations to spread and spread, while also permitting the public airing of grievances and sins.As a member of the blacklist himself, Miller felt particularly strongly about the evil of fingering others to save oneself, and he expresses this idea by having several characters grapple with the requirement that they name names.Giles Corey is held in contempt – the charge that ultimately leads to his execution – for refusing to name the person who told him of Putnam's schemingProctor balks at the court's intention to question the 91 people who signed his declaration of the good character of the accused.But it is at the climax that this theme truly comes to the fore; as Proctor would rather die than accuse more innocent people.
41Sin and GuiltMiller identifies the witch hunt as an opportunity for the repressed members of Salem society to publicly proclaim both their own sins and the sins of others.Guilt has been bottled up at home in this community, and the airing of sins and grievances is a relief to those previously without an outlet for confession.Guilt motivates not only the witch hunts themselves, but also the behavior of several principal characters.Proctor is haunted by remorse over his infidelityWhile Reverend Hale works to undermine the court that he helped create as penance for his sins.The ultimate irony of the Salem witch hunts is not only that the sins of the trials quickly outpaced the original crime, but that there was no original crime to begin with. Indeed, the abstract concept of sin was made concrete through compounding avoidances of guilt.
42Self-InterestThey were looking out for their own lives and took whatever actions necessary to save themselves.In varying degrees, the instigators of the witch trials are working to serve their own self-interest.Abigail begins the hysteria when she finds it a convenient way to deflect attention from her own sins, and further points the accusations at Elizabeth to scheme her way into Proctor's arms.Tituba, the first charged, is also the first to confess when she realizes that a confession will save her life.Parris at first rankles against the witchcraft talk because it would undermine his reputation in the town, and later opposes the execution of prominent community members because their death would lead to popular uprising.Giles Corey died in the way he did because it was in his own interest – by not pleading and dying under the weighted rocks, he ensured that his property would pass to his sons rather than to the state.
43MotifsMotifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.
44EmpowermentThe witch trials empower several characters in the play who are previously marginalized in Salem society.Women occupy the lowest rung of male-dominated Salem and have few options in life. They work as servants for townsmen until they are old enough to be married off and have children of their own.Because the Puritans’ greatest fear is the defiance of God, Abigail’s accusations of witchcraft and devil-worship immediately command the attention of the court. By aligning herself, in the eyes of others, with God’s will, she gains power over society, as do the other girls in her pack, and her word becomes virtually unassailable, as do theirs.Tituba, whose status is lower than that of anyone else in the play by virtue of the fact that she is black, manages similarly to deflect blame from herself by accusing others.
45Accusations, Confessions, and Legal Proceedings Before the hysteria begins, we see Parris accuse Abigail of dishonoring him, and he then makes a series of accusations against his parishioners.Giles Corey and Proctor respond in kind, and Putnam soon joins in, creating a chorus of indictments even before Hale arrives.The entire witch trial system thrives on accusations, the only way that witches can be identified, and confessions, which provide the proof of the justice of the court proceedings.
47Fear, Self-InterestShows what happens when emotions control your logic and thinking. Hysteria will occur.Shows how people will accuse others in order to save themselves. This leads to a wild finger pointing.When you were accused of being a witch, in order to save yourself you could accuse other women. People in the town allowed their fear of witches and the devil to interfere with their rational thinking.
48Puritan EthicsThe church was very important in their daily life. The Puritans were very religious.They were scared of modern things destroying the old church.They believed in the devil and that you could make pacts with him. It was a horrible sin to lie.
49IntegrityJohn had to deal with the fact that he had an affair with Abigail and broke the trust between Elizabeth and him. He sinned, and the people of the town would have condemned him, if they knew.
51HonestyElizabeth cannot tell a lie says John Proctor, but she will lie to protect John. In some cases you have to lie. Hale agrees with this. He says "God damns a liar less than he that throws his life away for pride."
53Authority 1: Parris believes that the church is the authority of all people in the town. Since he is a Reverend, he considers himself an authoritative figure. He makes a comment that people are not following their obligations to the church. He thinks that if people do not live their lives as committed to the church, and according to what the church dictates, then they need to be questioned as to what their motives are.Authority 2: Parris again comments about the authority of the church. He demands that the people of Salem be obedient to the church and to him. He says that if they are not obedient, then they will burn in hell. He does not leave much room for people to live their lives other than by what the church dictates.Authority 3: Reverend Hale arrives and Parris says that his books are heavy. Hale responds by saying that the books are weighted with authority. This gives a little insight into the minds of not only Hale but others in the town as well. They think that the written word, whether it is in books, or written as the law, has such a heavy weight as an authoritative voice in the society. There should be little or no questioning as to the righteousness of the written word.
54Authority 4: When Proctor is questioned as to why he has not been to church in so long, he admits that he has ill feelings towards Parris and the way that Parris gives sermons. Proctor does not like authority, and since Parris talks as though he is an authority figure, Proctor has an issue with this. Proctor is very critical over representatives of authority.Authority 5: Hale speaks about the court as an authority over such matters as the witch-hunt. He says that the court knows what is best, and that he has seen the court preside over many such cases before. What Hale fails to understand is that just because a court has a command of the law does not mean that the court necessarily knows what is best. This is the same mistake that Danforth makes over and over again. He thinks that just because he presides over the law as a judge that he will make just decisions, as the law bids him to do. However, the end of the play shows that many innocent people are hung.Authority 6: Danforth is strict in terms of his authority in the court. And not only is he adamant about his own personal authority, he acts the same way about the authority of the institution of the court system. He thinks that the court is the highest authority in the land, and because he presides over it, he will not stand for people questioning the way he runs it. When anyone tries to speak out against how the court and Danforth are handling the witch-hunt, they find themselves accused of witchcraft.
55Authority 7: Proctor goes to the court with Mary Warren to attempt to tell Danforth that Abby is a fraud. Proctor finds himself being questioned as to what his motives are for being there and what his relations are with the church. Danforth makes Proctor say that he has not come to undermine the court. Danforth is so concerned that his authority is going to be attacked.Authority 8: Parris, the other figure of authority along with Danforth, yells that Proctor has only come to the court to try and overthrow it. Like Danforth, Parris is overly concerned that his and the church's authority will be undermined. Hale even speaks up in his anger at Danforth and Parris. Hale begins to see that they are taking their power of authority to unjust heights. They begin to consider every person's comment as an attack against the court.Authority 9: Giles is questioned as to the name of the person who told him about Putnam accusing people of witchcraft for the purpose of attaining their land. Giles refuses to give the name of the person because he knows that Danforth has gotten so out of hand with his power that he will surely throw that person in jail. And because Giles does not give the name, Danforth throws Giles in jail for contempt.Authority 10: Parris begs Danforth to postpone the executions because Parris is trying to get them to confess. Danforth says that there will be no postponement. Danforth knows that what has happened is not totally right and just, but to hold up this view of himself as an authority he continues to act in complete control over the situation. To postpone the deaths would be to possibly admit that he has made a mistake with the other twelve people who have already been hanged. This is something that he would not dare admit, for it would question the authority of himself as a judge, the court, and the church.
57Chaos 1: In this scene, one can get an idea of what starts to happen to a town when fear begins to take over. Without any strong sense of rationale, the people get hysterical. Mrs. Putnam, especially, goes overboard in her reaction to the situation when she declares that the Devil is falling down on the town. The town is terrified that their good Christian ways will be compromised with the advent of the Devil.Chaos 2: The people continue to argue and Proctor gets very angry with Reverend Parris. All Parris does is speak of damnation, hell, and the Devil in his sermons, and Proctor is annoyed with this. Parris, as well some others in the town, are fear-stricken that hell is upon them. Not only do they fear that hell is near, but they think that their own lives are at stake. This fear causes utter chaos to break out, as they begin to yell and scream at one another.Chaos 3: Parris speaks out against those that do not obey the church's authority. He says that those who do not follow their authority will burn in hell. He tries to instill fear into the people of the town so that they will blindly follow all he says to do and say. However, instead of people listening, this fear causes the town to break out in chaos and madness. They continue to argue and yell because they do not know what else to do.Chaos 4: Tituba and the girls are so afraid that they will be punished severely by the church that they start to give the names of people they "supposedly" saw with the Devil. In actuality, they may not have even seen any of these people with the Devil. But, it is their fear of the church's retribution that persuades them to give these names. And because they give these names, chaos in the town breaks out and all of the people are called in for questioning about whether or not they have made compacts with the Devil. This is essentially what causes the "witch-hunt."Chaos 5: Once the names of people even get mentioned, the town gets into a stir. Fourteen people have already been jailed, and the town is going crazy. Danforth promises that he will hang them if they do not confess to having had relations with the Devil. These people have no choice, and are 'between a rock and a hard place' because of the court. If they confess, then their names will be tarnished forever, and if they do not confess, they will die. It is madness and no one knows the truth.Chaos 6: Giles' wife, Martha Corey, and Francis' wife, Rebecca Nurse, have just been arrested. These two women are highly respected throughout the town. However, it only took the mentioning of their names for Danforth and other representatives of authority to think badly about them, and even goes so far as to arrest them. Many people know that these two women are church-going and have never done a thing wrong in their entire lives. This depicts the fear and chaos that has broken out in Salem. People are being arrested that should not be.
58Chaos 7: Proctor is outraged that his wife has been mentioned in the court as possibly having had relations with the Devil. He knows that Abigail is only trying to have revenge on her, for Abby wants to marry John Proctor. John says that the town has gone so crazy as to allow children like Abby to write the law. The court is basing their actions strictly on the children's arguments and John sees this as absurd.Chaos 8: Proctor claims that the girls are all lying about people being witches. Parris, in his outrage, keeps yelling that Proctor has come to overthrow the court. Parris cannot possibly hear that he might be wrong about all of the people who have been accused, so he must stick to his beliefs however wrong he may be. People die because of Parris' and Danforth's steadfast adherence to the law, even when it may be wrong.Chaos 9: Things in the court are still at the point where no one can even question the court's authority over the witch-hunt. When Proctor gives Danforth a list of names of people who are testifying that Rebecca, Martha, and Elizabeth are not witches, Danforth demands that they be brought in for questioning. It is sheer madness that no one can even speak one word without being thought a witch.Chaos 10: Giles refuses to give the name of the person who told him that Putnam is accusing people so that he can get their land. Danforth considers this contempt and arrests Giles, even though he did not do anything wrong. Danforth's fear starts to get the better of him and he reacts with a comment that depicts the ludicrousness of his rationale. He says that there is a plot to destroy Christ in this country and that is why he must conduct himself in the way that he is. He and the other members of the court are creating a society of chaos by themselves.Chaos 11: Mary Warren has just accused Proctor of being with the Devil. Danforth has Giles and Proctor taken away to jail. Hale is so outraged by the actions of the court that he gets up and quits the court. He now sees the insanity that has taken hold of Danforth, and Parris and can no longer be a part of convicting innocent people.Chaos 12: Hale pleads with Danforth to stop the executions, for to continue with them just for the sake of the law is not doing the right thing. Danforth refuses and says that they must hang. Hale tries to explain that Salem is in complete turmoil and that Danforth must see this. He says that orphans are out wandering the streets, cattle are wandering on the roads, crops are all rotting, and men are being tempted left and right. He tries to use this as a way to prove to Hale that things cannot get any worse for Salem, and that action must be taken to improve the state of things.
60Involvement 1: John Proctor refuses to have any further involvement in his affair with Abigail Williams. If he continues to have relations with her, then her being questioned about witchcraft may in some way implicate himself as having had relations with the Devil. He therefore tries to push her away from him when she tries to make him confess his love for her.Involvement 2: Proctor is angry over Parris' sermons and how he only preaches about hell and evil. Proctor dislikes it so much so that he has stopped going to church as often as he used to. This is looked upon as a lack of involvement in the church and the local community as well.Involvement 3: Proctor makes a comment about how he would like to join the party that is against authority. He does not like authority and does anything to avoid it. He even speaks out openly against it. He has much less involvement with the church and local community than others do specifically because he does not agree with what they have to say. Therefore, he openly denounces such things, and does as he pleases, even if that means staying away.Involvement 4: Elizabeth pleads with John to go into Salem and tell the court that Abby is a fraud. John is very reluctant to do so because he does not want to have any type of involvement with Abby or the witch-hunt. He does not agree with the authority of the court and what the court stands for, and would rather just stay away than even try to help the situation.Involvement 5: John finally agrees to go into Salem and tell the court that Abby is a fraud. However, this involvement is not voluntary. He really does not want to go, but he would rather go than listen to Elizabeth constantly bring up the affair he once had with Abby.Involvement 6: At this point, John can do little about his involvement with the witch-hunt. He is bound to become involved despite his constant efforts to hide from the issue. Elizabeth has just been "mentioned" in court, and this directly links John to the witch-hunt. No matter how much he wants to escape it now, he cannot. His involvement is inevitable.
61Involvement 7: John has no choice but to become involved, now that his wife has been accused. He takes the warrant for Elizabeth's arrest and rips it. This is a clear statement that says he will speak openly about what he thinks about the whole situation. His wife being arrested forces John to make some level of commitment to the society in which he lives, even if this means speaking out against that which the society stands for.Involvement 8: John acts as a man involved in his society here. Despite his desire to have Elizabeth's jail time delayed, he does not accept the offer Danforth makes because Proctor knows that his friends are in a similar situation to his own. And if he were to accept the offer, he would only be acting as a man who has concerns for himself, and not the well being of the society in which he lives. Proctor knows that what is happening is wrong, and he will not stand by and watch it happen.Involvement 9: Danforth says that a person has to make a decision on whether they are for the court or against it, as there is no middle road. If this is true, then he is saying that one has no choice but to become involved in the issues surrounding one's society. Either choice has implications that demand one be involved.Involvement 10: John openly confesses in court and in front of many people that he committed lechery with Abigail Williams. He does not care anymore that he will be looked upon negatively. He will not stand by with a closed mouth as injustice takes place. He would rather implicate himself and make sure that justice is served, than be quiet and watch as injustice occurs.Involvement 11: At the end of the play John must commit the ultimate act of involvement in one's society. John commits himself to his friends, himself, and the virtue of honesty by not confessing that he is a witch. To do so would be to lie, and this would also implicate his friends as being witches as well. He commits to society and decides to die an honest man, and also a man that got involved and stood for what was right.
63Revenge 1: Act Three Ann Putnam I want revenge against this society, and against Rebecca Nurse in particular. I’ll not have her judging me any more. Seven dead in childbirth! How can that be natural? It must be the Devil’s work.Revenge 2: Act Three Thomas Putnam I want revenge against this society, because they don’t appreciate and honor me properly. My candidate turned down for Minister of Salem, my father leaving most of his money to my stepbrother. It’s not fair!Revenge 3: Act Three Abigail Williams I want revenge against Elizabeth Proctor. She’s a sickly wife for John. He needs me, not her. How dare she dismiss me and ruin my reputation? I’ll show her whom John really loves.
65Love 1: John and Elizabeth “The Crucible” - Act Three At the heart of the play is the love between John and Elizabeth Proctor. Their love is tested to the limits during the story. Notice how John and Elizabeth are fully rounded characters, whereas Abigail is kept fairly one dimensional. Notice too how Abigail’s ‘love’ for John is based on her adolescent passions, rather than being the ‘true’ love that John and his wife share. At the end of the play, Elizabeth proves how deeply her love for John runs. She knows that he cannot live without his conscience and honor. She ‘allows’ him to die, despite the fact that she is carrying his unborn child.Love 2: Giles / Francis and Rebecca “The Crucible” - Act Three It is also clear that both the old men, Giles Corey and Francis Nurse, love their wives deeply. Theirs is a love that has only strengthened with the length of their marriages, and their journeys into old age together. Rebecca, too, shows a deep capacity for love, through the course of the play. In Act Three, Giles is deeply ashamed that his wife has been arrested, simply because he mentioned how much she loved books. He weeps in front of the court, because his love for her is so deep. In Act Four, Giles proves the depth of his love for his wife and family, by dying with tremendous courage
67Courage 1: The Women “The Crucible” - Act Four Elizabeth Proctor and Rebecca Nurse demonstrate courage throughout the story, remaining constant in their strength of character. From the very start, Elizabeth shows courage in her interactions with the men around her. Rebecca has no fears about standing up for what she sees as right. Mary Warren eventually finds the courage to stand up for what is right, and denounce Abigail as a liar. However, she lacks strength of character, and eventually wilts under the force of Abigail’s attack on her.Courage 2: The Men “The Crucible” - Act Four In the final act, we learn that Giles has paid a heavy price for his courage. His death seems almost an act of redemption for the words that he spoke against his wife earlier in the play. He dies in the most horrible circumstances, pressed to death with great stones. By remaining silent, he allows his sons to inherit his land. John only finds his courage right at the end of the play. He is a deeply flawed man, and all the more believable for it. Elizabeth knows that he will be unable to live with himself if his conscience is not clear. It is only when John realizes that he must denounce others to save himself that he finds the courage of his convictions and dies for them.
69SalemIn creating a work for the stage Miller made no attempt to represent the real, historical personalities of his characters: he developed them to meet the needs of the play.Indeed, in most cases the surviving records give no indication upon which he could draw.
70AbigailAbigail's age was increased from 12 to 17 to allow a relationship with Proctor, of which there is no historical hint.Abigail Williams is often called Rev. Parris' "niece" but in fact there is no genealogical evidence to prove their familial relationship. She is sometimes in the original texts referred to as his "kinfolk" however.Abigail Williams probably couldn't have laid her hands on 31 pounds in Samuel Parris' house, to run away with John Proctor, when Parris' annual salary was contracted at 66 pounds, only a third of which was paid in money. The rest was to be paid in foodstuffs and other supplies, but he even then, he had continual disputes with the parishioners about supplying him with much-needed firewood they owed him.
71The ProctorsJohn Proctor was 60 and Elizabeth, 41, was his third wife.Proctor was not a farmer but a tavern keeper. Living with them was their daughter aged 15, their son who was 17, and John's 33-year-old son from his first marriage.Everyone in the family was eventually accused of witchcraft.Elizabeth Proctor was indeed pregnant, during the trial, and did have a temporary stay of execution after convicted, which ultimately spared her life because it extended past the end of the period that the executions were taking place.
72The Parris FamilyBetty Parris' mother was not dead, but very much alive at the time. She died in 1696, four years after the events. Soon after the legal proceedings began, Betty was shuttled off to live in Salem Town with Stephen Sewall's family. Stephen was the clerk of the Court, brother of Judge Samuel Sewall.The Parris family also included two other children -- an older brother, Thomas (b. 1681), and a younger sister, Susannah (b. 1687) -- not just Betty and her relative Abigail, who was probably born around 1681.
73The AccusersThe first two girls to become afflicted were Betty Parris and Abigail Williams, not Ann Putnam, and they had violent, physical fits, not a sleep that they could not wake from."The afflicted" comprised not just a group of a dozen teenage girls -- there were men and adult women who were also "afflicted," including John Indian, Ann Putnam, Sr., and Sarah Bibber -- or anyone in Andover, where more people were accused than in Salem Village!
74The PutnamsThe Putnam's daughter was not named Ruth, but Ann, like her mother, probably changed by Miller so the audience wouldn't confuse the mother and the daughter. In reality, the mother was referred to as "Ann Putnam Senior" and the daughter as "Ann Putnam Junior."Ann/Ruth was not the only Putnam child out of eight to survive infancy. In 1692, the Putnams had six living children, Ann being the eldest, down to 1-year-old Timothy. Ann Putnam Sr. was pregnant during most of Ann Sr. and her sister, however did lose a fair number of infants, though certainly not all, and by comparison, the Nurse family lost remarkably few for the time.
75The AccusedRev. Parris claims to Giles Corey that he is a "graduate of Harvard" -- he did not in fact graduate from Harvard, although he had attended for a while and dropped out.Rebecca Nurse was hanged on July 19, John Proctor on August 19, and Martha Corey on September not all on the same day on the same gallows. And the only person executed who recited the Lord's Prayer on the gallows was Rev. George Burroughs -- which caused quite a stir since it was generally believed at the time that a witch could not say the Lord's Prayer without making a mistake. They also would not have been hanged while praying, since the condemned were always allowed their last words and prayers.The elderly George Jacobs was not accused of sending his spirit in through the window to lie on the Putnam's daughter -- in fact, it was usually quite the opposite case: women such as Bridget Bishop were accused of sending their spirits into men's bedrooms to lie on them. In that period, women were perceived as the lusty, sexual creatures whose allure men must guard against!
76Reverend HaleReverend Hale would not have signed any "death warrants," as he claims to have signed 17 in the play. That was not for the clergy to do. Both existing death warrants are signed by William Stoughton.
77ResolutionThe hysteria did not die out "as more and more people refused to save themselves by giving false confessions," as the epilogue of the movie states.The opposite was true: more and more people were giving false confessions and four women actually pled guilty to the charges. Some historians claim that this was because it became apparent that confession would save one from the noose, but there is evidence that the Court was planning to execute the confessors as well.What ended the trials was the intervention of Governor William Phips. Contrary to what Phips told the Crown in England, he was not off in Maine fighting the Indians in King William's War through that summer, since he attended governor's council meetings regularly that summer, which were also attended by the magistrates.But public opinion of the trials did take a turn. There were over two hundred people in prison when the general reprieve was given, but they were not released until they paid their prison fees.