THE CRUCIBLE

NOTES BY D. HERNANDEZ •

BY ARTHUR MILLER

Arthur Miller born in 1915 died in 2005 o Playwright o He won a Tony in '53 for this play. o With the fame and glory, it also stirred a lot of controversy (which he expected) • Red scare - Communism is occurring during this time o After WWII, this was a very large threat to the free world • Paranoia, hysteria, these movements and type of thinking can go totally out of control. • This was paralleling the "witch hunt" for communism • This is an allegory • People are extremists if you use the term "witch hunt" o Scapegoats • Puritans are self-serving not God-serving. • General McCarthy o Communist o In 1950, he gave a speech in which he claimed to have a list of 205 people in the state department who were communist sympathizers. o People became attentive and paranoid and hysterical o He enlisted the FBI so people really thought it was legitimate now. o Then people would be called into interrogation o He w as summoned as doing un-American activities o People were suspecting people of being spies o Crying "spy" = Crying "witch" o Many people's lives and reputations were ruined Blacklisted • o Then someone finally someone stepped back and said "wait a minute!" McCarthy went too far and accused people in high places who didn't • just sit He then died at 48 and kind of just faded away. This had been  the only thing keeping him going. o Arthur Miller was one who was questioned and refused to give names like Proctor • Witch trials o 60 accusations; 20 executions in Salem • Theocracy o Government ruled by religious beliefs o Church and state are together o The legal proceedings were using God as an excuse • Literary lisence o Abigail's age Abigail was actually younger (12 or 13) • Miller makes her at her mid teens to make her affair with Proctor more • beleivable and her wanting to eliminate Elizabeth as her competition as well. • Puritans o Originated in England

o They wanted to have a pure worship of God and they wanted to purify the church (basics) o They believe that man is evil and cant be rid of it but believe that there were chosen ones to be saved. No one knows who they are. You judge whether someone is "chosen" by observing their behavior. o The Puritans put all emphasis on the bible and interpret it literally. o Each Puritan had a responsibility to punish sinners for the good of their soul. o Public confession of sin was encouraged. o He or she who was a witch could be saved by those who turned them in. o Being a witch was both a sin and a crime since it was entering into a compact with the devil in exchange for supernatural powers. He gives you the power to endanger the community which also makes it crime. o The trials were held as early as 1648. They aren't the first but the most infamous. o In January of 1682, Parris found his daughter and her friends behaving strangely. They were checked by a "doctor". He said they were bewitched. They didn't have medical knowledge to determine otherwise. They were so paranoid about it that they went along with it. o They were in trouble and so they wanted to pass the blame. Abigail was a great manipulator and lead them. They blamed Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne and Tituba. • o Judge Hathorne Nathanial Hawthorne added the w in his name to try to block away the • fact that he was his ancestor. You should be innocent until proven guilty but all evidence is simply • gossip. The only was to avoid execution was to admit that you were a witch. • If you confessed you were saved. • There were others who went to the grave with their good name. • o Puritans believed that women were more evil and prone to sexual sin. Men were condemned but most of the condemnations and executions • were those of women There was a tie between witchcraft and sexuality • o Puritans has slaves and most came from the west Indies and they had traditions and rituals and they were easy targets because of this. o The main reason they came here was to get away from religious persecution and yet they were very intolerant to any non-Puritan who settled in their community. o Salem is a shortened name of Jerusalem. Puritans saw themselves like the Jews as the chosen people They were going to be establishing a new Jerusalem • o Modern doctors have come up with possible explanations for Abigail's behavior Ergot fungus • This was a fungus which may have possibly infected the grain  supply which could create hallucinogenic symptoms which might have more of an effect on adolescent girls o Siege mentality The Puritans felt "you're either with us or against us" • They came to a wilderness and the climate was harsh (especially in the • winter) and they had to deal with the Native Americans who attacked and raided them sometimes. The society was difficult to build.

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In 1675 there was a very bloody skirmish between the Puritans and the • Native Americans. It broke the Native American's power there. BUT 52 towns were attacks and 12 were destroyed. They also had fears of the wild animals . • After they build the church and the jail, one of the first things that they • built was the stockade around the town for protection Everyone must conform for protection. Individuality could cost lives. • The stakes are high • Puritan youth The puritans did have fun sometimes but that’s not the image we have • of them. Young girls would use the opportunity of accusation as a form of • power over adults. Children didn’t belong in Puritan society because they were considered • miniature adults. Children weren't fussed over and so they also want attention by their • actions. Crucible A container that can withstand a lot of heat • A place or occasion of severe trial or test • "trial by fire" - going through rough times resulting in a test of • character There are characters whose mettle is tested. Some rise to the occasion • (like Proctor) others do not

Act I: an Overture o Puritan efforts are, today, meaning you have a good work ethic o Setting A room: a chest, a chair, and a small table • Puritan living conditions are simple  Parris is wit h his daughter who in a coma of a sort • o Parris A man who is paranoid and always thinks everyone hates me. He • resents people who don't like him because he's a minister and whines that he deserves better. o Parris was not always a clergyman and used to be a businessman. That is how he came to have Tituba. He still has a goal of gaining stuff and money. o Abigail She is very beautiful • She is an Orphan who lives with her Uncle Parris since her parents • were killed by Indians. She, being an orphan, learned to manipulate from a young age • Miller directly states that she is a constant liar. • o Parris is distressed from what just happens and what will happen if anyone finds out. It would be embarrassing because he is the reverend. • o Abigail admits to dancing but says there was no witch craft o Parris has heard the rumors about Abby and Proctor and questions here innocence. o Abby used to be a servant in Proctor's house and Elizabeth dismissed her which fueled these rumors.

o Abby denounces the rumors to her uncle saying she was dismissed because Elizabeth hated her and is a horrible person. She is obsessed with Proctor and has a fantasy that if Elizabeth would • be gone, they'd live happily ever after. o Ms. Putnum Records showed that a good percentage of the accusations were made • by the Putnams She had a twisted soul. • She was miserable and so she wanted to take everyone down with her. • She's miserable because all of her children died in childbirth  except one (who was also in the forest) Her daughter Ruth was sent by her mother to the forest to ask Tituba if • someone put a curse on her to kill her babies. She knows she did something wrong  She is indirectly involved in "witchcraft"  Reverend Parris sent for Reverend Hale who is an "expert" on witchcraft. Mr. Putnam He is as bitter as his wife. • He was a man of many political issues. • He has a grudge against Parris since his brother ran for the position of • reverend and also hates anyone who didn't vote for his brother. He hates Proctor because he thinks that he stole his land. • o Most of the accusers lived where land was less and less fertile o Most of the accused lived where land was greater and more fertile Most of the accusers were supporters of Reverend Parris o Most of the accused were not supporters of Reverend Parris o "A lie can travel half-way around the world while truth is still putting on her shoes." -Mark Twain o "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" -Exodus Puritans interpret the bible literally • o Putnam and Parris They don't like each other • Putnam is sly and plays on Parris' paranoia • o Mary Warren She is just a servant but becomes a major player in the plot • She is a follower and not a leader and wants to "fit in" • She is a great target for Abby who is very intimidating • She becomes a members of Abby's "peeps" • Also, she is an inside scoop to the Proctor's household as their servant • o Betty comes out of her "trance" We learn that Abby did lie to her uncle. They were not just dancing. • Abby drank blood to put a charm on Elizabeth Proctor • Abby smacks her across the face and tells her to shut up. She • threatens them horribly. o John Proctor We meet him and learn that he is a non-conformist • He walks to the beat of a different drum and can't stand hypocrisy • He and Parris show animosity • He sees Abby and she is definitely coming on to him. ALSO it is not • like he is totally ignoring this o o

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He makes it clear that he thinks that what they did is over. HOWEVER • it seems that he is not totally over it. He DOES love his wife. His smile is widening later on • She is leading him on and he stops her but she still persists • He is not encouraging her but he is not discouraging her either • She begins insulting his wife • He pushes her away and says "Child" which takes her aback and is • hypocritically Parris blames him for not attending mass and he tells Parris that it is • because he hardly ever mentions God and is too materialistic Parris complains about his conditions under which he works. (he  even has a good salary, though) Parris says that there is a faction of the church against him and Proctor • says he will join it Rebecca Nurse She is like everyone's grandma • She is a do-gooder • She is a kindly old woman • She sits by the sick and dying • She is called in to see if she can do anything for Betty since she is such • a calming influence and is very logical and healing Mr. and Ms. Putnam don't like Goody Nurse because they claimed that • she had some of their land like Proctor. ALSO they were one of the families that voted for Parris ALSO Rebecca had many children and was the midwife from so many • of Ms. Putnam's childbirths. She blames and hates her for this. She is telling everyone to calm down and that Betty will be fine. She • tells them to send Dr. Hale away. She said that children do odd things for attention and such (she would know with so many) The mortality rate for babies was 50% • Giles Cory He is 83 years old • He likes to talk but is also an honest and good person of the • community Since he likes to talk, he right away puts the noose around his own • neck and his wife's He asks Hale a question considering him an educated man. He asked • him about his wife's reading strange books that she wasn't sharing with him Elizabeth Proctor She was sick for a while after her last childbirth and she believes that • this could be a reason for her infidelity Reverend Hale He arrives • He considers himself an authority of witchcraft • He is respected, admired, and feared • Later his confidence falters • Now that he comes around, their talk about witchcraft gets very • heated Grudges and accusations come out and everything is out of  hand In Parris' House Parris questions why the devil would be in a minister's house. •

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Hale says that the devil wants the best- not those who are  already bad in their soul. This makes no sense • No one is safe now- if you're good, you could be • possessed; if you're bad, you could already be possessed by spirits Even Reverend Hale's questioning of Betty is wrong. You are putting • suggestions in her mind. "Did someone afflict? It might not be a man or woman or beast?" "…beast?" Puritans believed that animals could be possessed.  On Halloween, black cats are associated with witches. Often  women lived longer than men and widows would often get cats because they were lonely. Sometimes cats were black. Coincidentally old women were oft accused and had black cats perchance. HENCE the association. Nothing really has happened much thus far to get the plot on a roll • At the end of Act 1, it heats up. • Abby admits to drinking blood and blames Tituba. This is where  the blame starts. She is the perfect scapegoat. Tituba pleads innocent. In real life, her master beat a confession  out of her. In the story, Tituba changes her answer quickly and blames another. She blames Sarah Good. Abby agrees and now Abby and Betty are starting to ramble off names. Her ultimate reason for taking this out to the ball game • is to take the thoughts of people off of her affair with Proctor. Act 2 We have not yet met the Proctors together • Elizabeth's wounds of the affair are still fresh • They aren’t exactly warm and tender and this is understandable • John Proctor adds some salt to her stew and tells her that it was • perfectly seasoned. This is a big deal because it shows that he doesn't want to  displease Elizabeth or accuse her of anything. He is always on his toes. It is winter- cold atmosphere • Communication is talking AT each other- not WITH each other. • They can't avoid the affair topic. • They speak about Mary Warren and you can not talk about her without • talking about Abby. Mary Warren • She's become a hot shot and is telling Mrs. Proctor what to do  and is always at court and does none of her housework and is Abby's right hand girl John tells his wife of his private conversation with Abby. She is • displeased, of course. Proctor is protecting Abby but also himself • Abby is getting all of the attention and is the big hot shot. People like • her- she gives them drama Proctor is naïve about Abby right now. He doesn't believe that she is • capable of the evil which she will soon display. His wife tries to warn him that he is underestimating her and  she is in fear of herself since Abby wants to destroy her. In Abby's mind, John is hers. Elizabeth is dead-on about Abby  but John will refuse to believe it. Mary Warren comes back from court and gives Elizabeth a doll • (poppet)

This should be suspicious  Associated with voodoo (put pins in it)  She tells them that someone accused Elizabeth of witchcraft but  she can't discuss it. They assume right away that it was Abby and Elizabeth did an "I  told you so" Sexuality This whole community- Puritans- were obsessed with sex  precisely because it was so forbidden. Elizabeth tell Proctor that she needs o go right up to Abby and  tell her she is a whore. Reverend Hale arrives Elizabeth was accused but they were good people.  He wants to see what kind of household they have and see if he  can find REAL evidence of witchcraft. He is kind of keeping an open mind.  BUT Proctor already has something against him.  The affair • He doesn't attend church • They have 3 children- only 2 are baptized because he • didn't want Parris to baptize him. Reverend Hale directly tells him that that is • wrong. When asked his commandments, Proctor didn't remember  "Adultery" He mentions that he knew about Abby and witchcraft but didn't  bring it up because he didn't think it would get this out of hand He also says that Elizabeth NEVER lies  Mr. Nurse and Mr. Corey come in with upsetting news  Their wives have been arrested • Here it starts • Accusations Rebecca  Rebecca Nurse was first tried and declared innocent • She was tried again and was guilty and hanged • Martha Corey  Charged for putting curses on pigs • Walcot's pigs • Gets spells from strange books • People are arriving The authorities come to Proctor's house as well  They are obviously there to arrest Elizabeth and the poppet  plays a big role They immediately ask for any poppet she may have and this  shows that Abby must have told them Mary Warren will do anything for Abby at this point  Abby was actually invited to visit other towns and she • and her friends were treated like royalty They find the poppet They find a needle under the dress in the doll  Mary may have had it there for safe keeping or, more likely,  Abby stuck it there.

Abby is willing to harm herself to get rid of Elizabeth.  Abby says that she got harmed because of Elizabeth's  "supernatural" powers Everyone believes her because she actually put a needle in her  side and pulled it out in front of her. John Proctor then rips of the warrant for his wife's arrest and  damned the deputy governor- that's NOT a good idea. Hale turns on the officer and calls him Pontius Pilot  He washes his hands clean of it • The arrest • Elizabeth is worried about the children and tells them not to tell  the children about witchcraft because it will frighten them but tell them that she went to see someone sick John promises that he will bring her back soon and calls Hale a  coward This is when Hale realizes that this is going to be getting out of  hand If Elizabeth has been taken away, the only person who may be  able to clear her name is Mary Warren Proctor demands Mary to come to court and tell all but she  doesn't want to charge Abby with murder. Proctor demands it harshly anyway and doesn't care if Abby will  even kill Mary! Mary tells Proctor that Abby would charge him with lechery  The whole point is that he was willing to sacrifice himself and  his good name for his wife's life. Hathorne and Danforth • Both men are complete merciless and not at all open to  listening to reason They both have the mentality of "with us or against us"  If you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t mind being tried  Justice is NOT blind in this court of law.  The innocent are not believed and you can not rise up in your  own defense and if someone rises for you, they are then pulled in If you are called before them, you're basically screwed  The charges against Giles' wife is now bigger because she is  also accused of bewitching children Mr. Corey is in court to plead in his wife's defense and so is Mr.  Nurse. Their wives have been unjustly accused • He is in a horrible state of mind since it was his comment • which triggered it. He is devastated Danforth  He is very self-righteous in his own power and position to • determine truth or lies. SO when he was told that the girls where lying to him, • he was really taken aback and could never admit this. He doesn't want to look like a fool • Mary Warren has been absent from court for a few days claiming that • she was sick She is afraid that when she goes to court she will be caught up  in Elizabeth's case and Abby's wrath

Proctor s says to Danforth that he has a document signed by  Mary Warren saying the girls never saw anything. HOWEVER Danforth won't accept it out of pride  Parris shows up and when this think is heating up, it is Parris'  chance to undermine Proctor's creditability He will fall to distractions and accusations like Abby • because if this comes out as truth, it will ruin him He is trying now to dissuade the judge • Everyone is against him.  Cheever comes up and again reminds them of how he • rips up the warrant and they are all saying that he has an ulterior motive to undermine the court Everyone is against him except Reverend Hale • Danforth tells Proctor that Elizabeth has sent a note saying that she • was pregnant Proctor says that if his wife is pregnant she must be because  she can not lie. The deal is that they will let her go and let her have the baby  and wait to kill her as long as this deposition never happened. Proctor is NOT bought as easily as this and says he can't accept  to that Corey, Nurse, and Proctor have ANOTHER document that they'd  like to show. In it over one hundred good people with good influences signed to the pure character of Elizabeth and Goody Nurse and do not believe that they are possessed by the devil. In good faith these men give it over BUT the judge Danforth  immediately asks to round up all the people. They had given them their word but Danforth doesn't care about their word. Mr. Corey accused Mr. Putnam of putting his daughter up to • deliberately accuse Mr. Jacobs of witchcraft. He is questioned why this would be  Corey tells them because of land  Danforth and Hathorne want to know how that is true  He tell them that an honest man told him who heard it directly  from him They ask for the name  He refuses because he was going to be arrested anyway  They turn around and is still arrested on charge of contempt of  court Marry Warren finally comes into court and declares that her friends are • lying and that she never saw Satan Now she must be questioned  They ask why she just changed her story and ask if Proctor has  threatened her. She says it is because she is now with God and wants to now tell the truth. She might have pulled through but then IN WALKS ABBY!  They tell Abby about it.  Abby denies this and calls Mary a liar  Abby is then asked why she would want to kill Proctor's wife and  then starts playing child. Parris butts in and starts making up lies on his own • agenda.

Back to Mary What is the explanation for their behavior? • Proctor says they were just acting • They ask Mary to then pretend and to do what she did • then She says she can't because she can't and because she is • on the spot and is not with all the other girls on it. Proctor can not stand it anymore and calls Abby a whore and  once that word comes out of a Puritan's mouth, it must be explained. The adultery must come out. He starts to tremble and says "I have known her." • They are shocked and ask under what circumstances • and are desperate for perverse details which is hypocrisy He goes into such detail for them because his • guilt is finally revealed and he would like to get it all off He tells them that he has just given them • her motive This is the spilling of his guts right now • They ask Abby if it is the truth and she acts offended and • threatens to leave the court She is even so brazen to tell off the deputy governor • Now there is only one person who can give the answer• Elizabeth When she is summoned, Abby and John must • have their backs turned to Elizabeth and can not have any kind of communication whatsoever She is summoned to the court and "the woman • who never lies" denies the lechery to try to save her husband's name She wanted to save him • She actually convicted him by accident • Proctor had previously spoke so much of • her reputation of honesty When she knows he confessed she • realizes what she did Reverend Hale comes into it  He states that he had always felt that Proctor was a true • man and Abby was false Abby acts up  She acts up when she knows she may be in trouble and • claims she sees a bird A familiar is a witch who is in disguise as an • animal She points the finger at Mary Warren • Mary is horrified because she knows the consequences • Whatever Abby says, the other girls say, too • Danforth starts questioning Mary and she is • overwhelmed because fundamentally, she is a weak child. Proctor tells them not to believe any of this and then • Mary points her finger towards Proctor and puts on her act So apparently, Proctor put spells on Mary to make her go • to court and sign the deposition, etc. 

Proctor is stupefied and turns to Hale as the only voice of • reason BUT Danforth says that he will have NOTHING from Reverend Hale in Proctor's defense. The men are arrested and Reverend Hale denounces it and  leaves Salem and quits the court. Proctor had said, Do what is good and you will be saved to Mary  but when she did, she was in harms way. The TRUTH will DAMN you! NO ONE will BELIEVE you! • ACT IV o Prison's effect is show in this act o Disease, hunger, filth, etc. o It drives you INSANE o There are effects such as PTSD o Danforth is angry at the guard because he let Hale in and was praying with those on death row and desperately trying to get them to confess. To Hale, life is more important than truth. Lies are worth it if it keeps • you alive. This is big for a Puritan minister to say because lying is a mortal  sin to them. He is also guilty about those he could not save and he does not want • any more blood on his hands. So there is partially a selfish reason o Reverend Parris is not doing so well Hathorne tells Danforth that he sometimes has a mad look on his face. • He thinks it is not good for the village to see him like this (on the edge of a nervous breakdown) Cheever blames the cows that wander free but it is not the  reason Life itself came to a halt. Nothing was normal for ANYONE in  Salem in these times. Life really fell apart in many ways because everyone was arrested and there was no work getting done. There is mental, physical, spiritual, and environmental  disturbance. o Parris comes in with news of Abby She stole all her uncle's money and she and Mercy Lewis got out of • town. She MUST have been planning this for a while • She left because there is no more purpose for her to stay around and • this could be detrimental to her welfare to stay around. People are beginning to rebel and question in and out of Salem. • If Abby is no longer riding the tide of popularity, and no longer has the • credibility that she had, she has to get out. Parris is still scared because it still starts with him and Abigail • This increases his paranoia and drives him off the edge.  o Parris requests to postpone the hangings. There is rebellion in Andover against the witch trials there • They must've been more liberal Puritans, but, perhaps, some feel that • they are close to rebellions like they had. Parris up there at the top of the list if they ever decide to get revenge • on those who started it all. Danforth is completely inflexible, though • Parris must desperately keep on trying to give him reasons to  do what he's asking.

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According to Parris, there's been a death threat against him  (recall his paranoia, though) He said that someone rigged his door with a dagger that • would come down when he went out. Has it being exaggerated, hallucinated, or did it actually • happen? Hale enters He is exhausted- emotionally, psychologically, physically • He can not make the people to confess • Hale asks Danforth to pardon them all and drop all charges and forget • about everything because he is the last person who can do anything. Yeah right!  Danforth answers that he's hang 10,000 if he had to (if they went • against the law) Misuse and abuse of power, extremist, etc.  He has done everything he could possibly do and he is pleading with • him desperately. Hale can not get Proctor to confess and the last resort is to get • Elizabeth to speak to him to try to get him to confess. Hale's argument is that God will not damn you for a lie when  your life is on the line Elizabeth promises that she will speak to him but she can bring  the horse to drink water but can't force him. This is also the last time that husband and wife will meet  This means they also realize that this is the chance to • reconcile their marriage on both sides. Acknowledgement of every feeling they ever had including love. They meet He will confess because he already committed adultery- he is already • ruined and feels that just another hit against him can't be worse. BUT both know it is not so • He has not confessed out of spite. • They start confessing and she admits that she kept a cold house and • Abby was right about her. Elizabeth had low self-esteem and thought so little of herself that she • would have felt that any man she would have married was cheating on her. It is so tender that John says that he wants his life and wants to spend • more of his life with her. The magistrates enter happily because he will confess • They needed him to sign a confession for the record • It is there forever and can not be denied  They want it written and signed and posted on the church.  It is meant to be a public example to those who won't • confess He is one of the leading citizens in the community • They start asking questions and ask if certain people were there. • He says that no one was there. He would give no names.  This upsets them  They say that if he does not sign his name, it is not a confession • He DOES sign it… BUT then he wants to take it with him. • They tell him that they must post it for the village. •

Proctor asks them to say and do whatever they want but they can not • take his name- they already took his soul- don't take the name They now feel that it is a false confession • Proctor again pushes him name as the only thing he has left. • Danforth is again suspicious since he will give up his freedom. • Elizabeth and Hale plead with him but he does not listen to them • Elizabeth asks them not to take her goodness from him  o Echoes down the corridor Abby turns up as a prostitute in Boston • The government awarded compensation to families of those victimized • many years later Elizabeth married again four years after Proctor's death • Farms of victims were left to ruin and superstitiously, no one would live • on them for many years. o This was a play about power- how it is maintained and challenged o This is a play about a community of people who LET this happen. EVERYONE was willing to sacrifice community, love, family, etc. for themselves. o Breaking charity and the bonds that hold a community together! Once those bonds fall apart, you have this kind of situation! o

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