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Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

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Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

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  1. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible CAT NOTES

  2. Right page Essential Question: How did the mass hysteria of 1950s McCarthyism influence Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible? Student Questions

  3. Right page Essential Question: How did the mass hysteria of 1950s McCarthyism influence Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible? Student Questions Arthur Miller (1915-2005) • Plays share the theme of morality vs. pressures from society and family • Play closed b/c of comparison between Salem witch trials and McCarthy hearings • It criticizes moments in history when irrational fears and desire to blame society’s problems cloud reason and fact. • In 1940s Miller was involved in debates that criticized the modern American society – particularly inequalities in labor and race. • He was also associated with people targeted by HUAC • 1956 – summoned before HUAC but refused to implicate his friends. Convicted of contempt of Congress

  4. Right page Essential Question: How did the mass hysteria of 1950s McCarthyism influence Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible? Student Questions Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy and the Communist trials of the 1950s • Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957) claimed that the State Department had been infiltrated by Communists • Subpoenaed prominent entertainers (Orson Welles, Lucille Ball, Dashielle Hammett) before the HUAC, demanding “the naming of names.” • April 1954 McCarthy accused the Secretary of the Army of concealing foreign espionage activities. As a result, McCarthy’s power slowly declined.

  5. Left page • Student processing activity • What similarities do you see between McCarthyism and Puritan Salem (Overture)?

  6. Right page Essential Question: How did the mass hysteria of 1950s McCarthyism influence Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible? Student Questions Salem 1680 • First English settlement of Plymouth in 1620 • New Jerusalem or Salem in 1626 • Sought freedom from religious persecution and considered themselves God’s chosen people (exemplified by naming of their town) • Fervent hope they would be the generation and the people to usher in the final Kingdom of God • There was little time for pleasure, which was deemed frivolous and not permitted (sin). There was no room for free speech. • Failure to conform met with harsh penalties, including hanging. They persecuted those who did not conform to their beliefs (ironically).

  7. Right page Essential Question: How did the mass hysteria of 1950s McCarthyism influence Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible? Student Questions Plot Summary • John Proctor, a married man in his 30s, has an affair with Abigail Williams,17 years old. • After Abigail and her friends are caught “drinking charms” in the forest by Reverend Parris, they begin to show “signs of the devil.” • Rev. Hale comes to Salem to assess the girls and save them from the grips of the devil. • Abigail and the girls confess their sins, go back to God, and become the saviors of Salem as they are now able to point out “the Devil’s people.” • Accusations fly as more and more people, including the most respected in the town, are accused of witchcraft and doomed to hang. • Paradox: confess and be set free or face extreme punishment • The town of Salem becomes the center of mass hysteria as what began as a desperate attempt to avoid punishment turns into an opportunity for all to exact revenge and play out feelings of jealousy and sinful emotions.

  8. Left page • What might motivate the citizens of Salem to accuse others of witchcraft? • Consider current events in the media (politics, sports, entertainment) in which key figures have lied to the public. What might be their motivation for lying/skewing the truth?

  9. Right page Essential Question: How did the mass hysteria of 1950s McCarthyism influence Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible? Student Questions Literary Techniques • Authorial intrusion • Interrupts the action in order to give the audience extra information (often personal information or the audience’s current social experience) • EX: “But as we shall see, the steady manner he displays does not spring from an untroubled soul…These people had no ritual for the washing away of sins. It is another trait we inherited from them, and it has helped to discipline us as well as to breed hypocrisy among us.”

  10. Left page • EX: “But as we shall see, the steady manner [John Proctor] displays does not spring from an untroubled soul…These people [of Salem] had no ritual for the washing away of sins. It is another trait we inherited from them, and it has helped to discipline us as well as to breed hypocrisy among us.” Work with an elbow partner to answer the following questions: • What is Arthur Miler saying about American society and the way it “washes away [its] sins”? • How has this trait both helped and hurt modern society?

  11. Right page Essential Question: How did the mass hysteria of 1950s McCarthyism influence Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible? Student Questions Literary Techniques • Authorial intrusion continued • Offers a means of direct characterization • EX: “He was the kind of man – powerful of body, even tempered, and not easily led – who cannot support to partisans without drawing their deepest resentment.

  12. Left page • Considering what you know about the plot of the play and the actions of the characters, why is direct characterization an effective tool?

  13. Right page Essential Question: How did the mass hysteria of 1950s McCarthyism influence Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible? Student Questions Teacher Notes • Summary:DLIQ • What did we do? What did we learn? What was interesting? What questions do I still have? • Write in complete sentences and thoroughly answer today’s E.Q.