The Crucible Themes Diagram

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The Crucible Themes Diagram
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The Crucible Summary & Lesson Plans

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Lesson Plans by Rebecca Ray

The Crucible is a play with many allegorical references. Written during the 1950s but set in the 1600s, Arthur Miller used the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts to represent the figurative witch hunt for communists in the United States,commonly known as the 'Red Scare'. Using actual court manuscripts and primary documents, Miller brings to life the people of Salem, and the atrocities the occurred there, in this heart-wrenching play.

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Crucible, The

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Identify and describe the themes in The Crucible

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  • Reverend Hale’s appearance in Salem was not a precursor to the hysteria, fear, and paranoia. However, the scrutiny he placed everyone under enhanced the fearful feelings of the community.
  • The real cause of the fear and paranoia comes from Abigail and the other young girls. To avoid punishment for dancing in the woods, drinking blood, and engaging in magic, they begin accusing everyone else. By being the accusers, not one is looking at them.
  • One victim accused of with witchcraft is Giles Corey. Like Proctor, he tries to explain to the court that many of the accusations are motivated by a neighbor's greed. Inevitably, he is charged with witchcraft and dies by having large stones placed on top of him. ​
  • Another member of the Salem community subjected to extreme prejudice is Rebecca Nurse. Although she is a model Christian, she is accused of witchcraft. With her incarceration, it makes Reverend Hale and the others look more closely at the fairness of the trials.
  • Throughout the play, Reverend Parris seems more concerned with his reputation than with what is happening in his parish. He is repeatedly accused of being greedy, yet does nothing to disprove this notion. ​
  • Conversely, Proctor's reputation is of little importance to him thourghout the play. Time and time again, he casts aside the rumors and lies of others. In the end, he martyrs himself. He would rather die than tell another lie, making him the last moral character.
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