The Crucible, By Arthur Miller, When History and Literature Collide

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  • 1. The Crucible By Arthur Miller . . . When History and Literature Collide
  • 2.The Crucible is . . . Puritanism + Witchcraft + McCarthyism + Arthur Miller
  • 3.What does “crucible” mean? a vessel or pot used for melting substances at a high degree of heat a severe test or trial a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development
  • 4.Reverend Parris Reverend/Pastor of the church in Salem Mid forties Thinks children should be seen, not heard… Wife died/he is a widower- He is the father of Betty and the uncle of Abigail Williams.  He believes that he is being persecuted Believes the townspeople do not respect his position as a man of God. Worried he will be blamed for the ‘problems’ in Salem
  • 5.Betty Parris Daughter of the Reverend Samuel Parris Her mother died when she was a baby 10 years old Raised by Tituba, their slave cousin to Abigail Williams.  Pretends to be ‘sick’ to avoid punishment She is afraid and goes along with her cousin, when Abigail threatens her.
  • 6.Abigail Williams Orphaned niece of Rev. Parris Cousin to Betty Works for the Proctor family –fired for sleeping with Mr. Proctor Has affair with John Proctor Still loves/desires John Proctor Leads “crying out” against witches during the trial Uses her power to rid herself of Elizabeth Proctor She is the leader of the girls. Seventeen years old Beautiful Deceitful – can’t be trusted
  • 7.Tituba Slave for the Parris’s In her forties Loves Betty like her own daughter She is a native of Barbados.  She casts spells and creates charms for the girls. Confesses to witchcraft and to “consorting with the Devil” to save herself when Abigail turns on her and in order to live! Names others as witches, due to pressure and fear.
  • 8.Mrs. Ann Putnam Wife of Thomas Putnam A twisted soul – haunted by her dreams Forty five years old Mother to Ruth, one of the ‘afflicted’ girls First plants the idea that the girls are bewitched All of her children except one have died, seven died, one lives, Ruth. Sent her daughter to Tituba to cast a spell to discover the supposed murderer of her children
  • 9. Thomas Putnam Vindictive, bitter villager who believes he has been wronged and cheated Fairly wealthy, owns a lot of land Late forties Father to Ruth Putnam Husband to Ann Putnam Leading village voice against the witches All but one of his children have died – he needs someone to blame He is accused of coercing his daughter to accuse people, for example, George Jacobs, in order to gain their forfeited land.
  • 10.John Proctor Husband to Elizabeth Proctor. A farmer in his middle thirties Good man with human frailties Often the voice of reason in the play He had an affair with Abigail when she worked in his household.  He knows the girls are pretending but cannot tell without revealing his affair with Abigail. Thinks Parris is a ‘fallen’ reverend Fighting with Mr. Putnam over land He refuses to admit to witchcraft. Accused of witchcraft Has three sons
  • 11.Elizabeth Proctor Wife of John Proctor Has three sons Probably in her early thirties??? She discovers the affair between her husband and Abigail Williams and fires Abigail.  She is Abigail's main target –Abigail wants her dead…so she can have John Proctor to herself. She loves her husband but doesn’t trust him. She feels responsible for driving her husband to infidelity.
  • 12.Rebecca Nurse Seventy two years old Wife of the respected Francis Nurse Needs a cane to walk Respected Midwife Exemplary Christian Has 11 children and 26 grandchildren Accused of being a witch Refuses to admit to witchcraft and is hanged/Won’t lie to save her life News of her arrest and execution shows how out of control the situation in Salem is.
  • 13.Reverend John Hale In his late 30s Intellectual Specialist/Expert/knowledgeable on witchcraft Completely believes in ‘unseen’ terrors, criminals etc like Lucifer, witches, incubi, etc. From Beverly, married, has two daughters Truly religious and believes in light, goodness etc.
  • 14.Giles Corey In his eighties Married to Martha Corey/3rd wife Has lots of children! Best friend of John Proctor Knows a lot about the law – has sued many neighbors… Thrown in jail for not ‘naming names!’ Inadvertently accuses his wife of witchcraft Pressed to death when he refuses to enter a plea to the charges (pleading guilty or conviction would have meant forfeiture of his land, leaving his sons with no inheritance) Dies for truth and honor. His last words were “more weight.”
  • 15.Mary Warren Works in the Proctor household, as a servant Eighteen-year-old girl An easily swayed, weak young girl who ‘plants’ the evidence of witchcraft on Elizabeth Abigail uses her to effectively accuse Elizabeth.  John Proctor takes Mary to the court to confess that the girls are only pretending.  She is not strong enough to fight Abigail and as soon as Abigail leads the other girls against her, Mary caves in and runs back to Abigail’s side by accusing Proctor himself.
  • 16.Deputy Governor Danforth He feels particularly strong that the girls telling the truth about being bewitched Sixties?? Feels superior and righteous He believes in the presence of the devil Feels his word and judgment is the highest law of the land Would gladly hang all people accused of witchcraft if he could
  • 17.Martha Corey Married to Giles Corey His third wife Reads “strange” books! Accused of witchcraft Will not confess and so forfeits her life Strong-willed Middle-aged
  • 18.Francis Nurse Married to Rebecca In his late 70s Lots of family Well-respected Owns a lot of land Feels guilty for the petition with 92 names that are going to be arrested…
  • 19.The Other Girls Susanna Walcott- One of the girls.  She is initially sent between Parris and Dr. Griggs to determine the cause of Betty's ailment. She is easily guided by Abigail. Mercy Lewis- Servant to the Putnam household.  She is a merciless girl who seems to delight in the girls' activities. 18 years old, sly… Ruth Putnam – Daughter to Mr. and Mrs. Putnam – acts ‘sick’ and accuses George Jacobs, a very old man in the community. It was said her father wanted George’s land.
  • 20.Random Pictures of ‘Puritans’
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