Ms. Pennell’s Big-Bad Study Guide to help you pass The Crucible or the severe test or trial that will be the examinations for this literary work of genius by Arthur Miller. By the way, that was your first vocabulary word (crucible – heat-resistant container in which metals are melted or fused at very high temperatures; thus a severe trial or test). Get ready to have your brain melted!! List of Characters
Reverend Parris -- vicious, shallow, cowardly, villainous, peacock of a man (former merchant in Barbados) using God as a pretense to extort whatever riches he can out of the already economically strained villagers in Salem. Betty Parris -- daughter to Reverend Parris, mother is dead. One of the afflicted girls. She suffers from a malediction that clears up when the adults leave the room. She is terrified of her vicious and manipulative cousin Abigail and her Puritan Minister father, Reverend Parris. Tituba – a slave purchased in Barbados to serve the Parris household. Tituba has no legal rights or standing in Salem Village and is, therefore, the easiest person to blame for witchcraft. The Puritans consider Tituba’s ability to speak to the dead shocking and scandalous, but communication with the dead is a basic part of many African religions. In many religions derived from African cultures, the dead are honored and considered to be able to provide wisdom and advice to the living. Voduon, or voodoo, is a folk religion from the West Indies, which developed from Roman Catholic beliefs mixed with African religious practices. In a voodoo ritual service, the priestess leads a gathering of people in song, drumming, dance, prayer, cooking, or animal sacrifice. As students read on, they will see that most of these details apply to the descriptions of what Tituba and the girls were doing in the woods. Ironically, a voodoo priestess is said to have the power to protect her followers from witchcraft. Abigail Williams -- gorgeous orphan, liar, and town harlot, niece of Reverend Parris, cousin to Betty, bedded Proctor and will stop at nothing to “dance on his wife’s grave with him.” Susanna Walcott -- servant girl to the Griggs, Mr. Griggs was the doctor in Salem Village. (Ann Putnam, Jr.) Ruth Putnam is daughter to Thomas and Ann Putnam. She testifies against George Jacobs, claiming that he sent his spirit to her in the night through her window. In the real trials, she is the only one of the girls to ever apologize to the congregation of her church for the evil she committed. By the time the witch hunt was over (the historical witch hunt), Ann had accused 62 people. In the coming years, she would have a difficult life. Both her parents died, leaving her to raise her nine brothers and sisters on her own. But she did something none of the other circle girls would do—publicly acknowledge her role in the trials. In 1706 she stood before the church as the pastor read her apology. Mrs. Ann Putnam -- voted most crazy by Ms. Pennell for having endured the deaths of seven babies (infant mortality rate in Puritan New England was extremely high due to harsh conditions and lack of medical knowledge). Ann is raging in her grief and looking for someone to blame for the deaths of her babies. It is all too easy to involve Tituba and her midwife Rebecca Nurse. She is jealous of Rebecca because she kept all of her children and was twenty-six times a grandmother. Mr. Thomas Putnam -- greedy son of wealthiest man in village, would-be manipulator and unsuccessful conniver, he is an embittered man who will stop at nothing – not even murder -- to gain more land. He is vengeful because he is thwarted by the town each time he tries to pull off one of his evil schemes. First, he tries to cheat his stepbrother out of his rightful inheritance. He follows this up with incarcerating George Burroughs for debts he has not incurred. He does this to try and steal George’s job from him as minister. He wants his brother-in-law to be given this title. Francis and Rebecca...
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