The Crucible

The Crucible

Arthur Millers The Crucible Background Information The true story of the Salem witch trials Salem, Massachusetts, 1692 May of 1692, a small group of girls in Salem fell ill, claiming hallucinations

and seizures In Puritan New England, mysteries like this were considered the work of the Devil News spread of the illness, and people began to whisper about witches being the cause of the illness Self Preservation If the girls were caught lying about witches, they would have been

hanged for it In order to save their own necks, they began accusing other townspeople of being the witches They began by accusing the neer-do- wells of the town The drunks, the slaves, the people no one liked Shes a WITCH! Soon other residents took up the

cause, and began accusing people theyd carried grudges against or were jealous of If your neighbor was convicted of witchcraft, his land would go up for auction The theocratic Massachusetts government had to get involved, including trials for those accused of The Costs of Accusations

By September, over 150 people were in jail, awaiting trial During that time, many people lost their lives 19 people (and 2 dogs) were hanged One elderly man was pressed to death by stones He refused to cooperate with the court Five died in prison waiting for trial

Background Information Jump forward 150 years to Arthur Miller Early Life & Schooling Born in New York City in 1915 Family was financially well off until the stock market crashed in 1929 Seeing the Depression and the misery it caused had a big impact on the way he saw the world Dropped

out of high school Worked as a shipping clerk in an auto parts warehouse Persuaded University of Michigan to accept him for English, drama, and journalism Graduated 1938 Fame & Notoriety Wrote

over 50 different works Radio plays Novels Articles 17 plays Death of a Salesman earned him a Pulitzer Prize after opening in 1949 First piece to gain Miller international

fame Personal Life First marriage to Mary Slattery in 1940 Divorced her to marry Marilyn Monroe in 1956 after an affair Pushed him to

public attention Divorced in 1961 Background Info The Red Scare The Red Scare Senator Joseph McCarthy rose to power in the 1950s Propelled the US into a hunt for the

communists hiding in the US Conducted Senate hearings to flush out any suspected communists from the government and public life, including the arts More Fake Accusations Many people who were accused made false confessions in order to save themselves Many people also accused their friends in order to receive a lighter

sentence These false confessions made it seem like the US had a lot more communists than in reality The Communist Artists? The entertainment industry was very liberal Became a target and some were called to testify Those

who refused to incriminate their friends were placed on the Hollywood Blacklist Denied employment based on their communist sympathies Millers Testimony Called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 Never a member of the communist

party Advocated for equality among the classes and social justic for all Testified about his own experiences, but refused to discuss the work of his colleagues Blacklisted, but was eventually The Crucible and the Red Scare Written

in 1958 (during the Red Scare) Set in 1692 (during the Salem witch trials) Wanted to show how paranoia can negatively affect a society Highlighted how rational judgment is suspended through paranoia Showed that people who challenged the courts were suspected of Background Info

Literary Devices Literary Devices for this Unit Stage Directions Dramatic Exposition Dialogue Allusions Universal & Cultural Significance Irony Dramatic, Situational, and Verbal Allegory

Stage Directions Tells the actors and directors information about how to produce the play Where does the scene take place? What does the setting look like? How should the characters move and talk? Italicized in the book so you dont read them

aloud Examples There is a narrow window at the left TITUBA, already taking a step backward: My Betty Dramatic Exposition Conveys information for the director and/or the audience that is necessary to understand the plays purpose

Setting Characters Social or historical context No italics in the book, but not read aloud Example Dialogue The words directly spoken by

characters in a play These follow a characters name, which identifies who is doing the speaking No italics in the book, as these are read aloud Examples PARRIS: Out of here!

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