The Crucible Short Form

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Title: The Crucible

Author & Date: Arthur Miller 1953

Major Characters:

John Proctor - A local farmer who lives just outside town; Elizabeth Proctor’s husband. John hates hypocrisy. Nevertheless, he has a hidden sin; his affair with Abigail Williams; that proves his downfall. When the hysteria begins, he hesitates to expose Abigail as a fraud because he worries that his secret will be revealed and his good name ruined.

Abigail Williams - Reverend Parris’s niece. Abigail was once the servant for the Proctor household, but Elizabeth Proctor fired her after she discovered that Abigail was having an affair with her husband, John Proctor. Abigail is smart, wily, a good liar, and vindictive when crossed.

Reverend John Hale - A young minister reputed to be an expert on witchcraft. Reverend Hale is called in to Salem to examine Parris’s daughter Betty. Hale is a committed Christian and hater of witchcraft. His critical mind and intelligence save him from falling into blind fervor. His arrival sets the hysteria in motion, although he later regrets his actions and attempts to save the lives of those accused.

Minor Characters

Mary Warren - The servant in the Proctor household and a member of Abigail’s group of girls. She is a timid girl, easily influenced by those around her, who tried unsuccessfully to expose the hoax and ultimately recanted her confession.

Reverend Parris - The minister of Salem’s church. Reverend Parris is a paranoid, power-hungry, yet oddly self-pitying figure. Many of the townsfolk, especially John Proctor, dislike him, and Parris is very concerned with building his position in the community.

Settings:

The Church/Court House- All the trials happen in Salem and where the people of the town that are accused of being a witch and a follower of the devil are charged.

Salem- The town which the witch trails take place in the 1600's.

Plot: The crucible is play about the witch trials in Salem, it begins with us finding out about a young girl who is unable to move in her bed. The villagers suspect witchcraft but they do not know that the night before all the girls in the village sneaked out to the woods where they made a potion, with the help of black slave, Titchuba, to let them have the man they love. It was fine until one girl, Abigail, went too far and wished death on the wife of John Proctor. The girls went crazy, dancing and stripping but then Abigail's uncle walks in and finds them. This is the real reason the girl is unable to move, fear. The girls turn on the rest of the village and blame them for the witchcraft. To save themselves from punishment they blame others and many innocent people are hanged.

Symbols:

The Crucible- The title itself is a symbol. A crucible is a bowel type pot that withstands very high temperatures for melting various metals. The crucible represents the church and how they pulled the traitors in and tried to melt down all their integrity by tearing them down. The church is basically testing the purity or goodness of each person and although they may be taking the liars its what they see as pure.

Witch Trials- The witch trials represents the terror and hysteria in the community. It never occurred to the church that the whole thing could be a lie or some sort of story meant to gain attention. Because religion was so delicate and not always easy to believe the church would do anything to make the outside world without God seem scarier.

The Poppet- Mary Warren's poppet would symbolize the uneasiness of the community. A poppet was something that symbolized innocence and youth, however, because of one person's words the poppet becomes this evil thing that people begin to fear. Along with witchcraft was voodoo and these dolls were believed to be used to hurt and curse the people these dolls were made after.

The Noose (Hangings): The strongest of all symbols would probably be the noose. The gallows throughout this whole...
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