The Crucible ACT 1 STUDY QUESTIONS. Record your answers on a. separate sheet of paper. You must answer in complete sentences.

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1 The Crucible ACT 1 STUDY QUESTIONS Record your answers on a 1. Early in the play, Rev. Parris is greatly concerned with his enemies, whom he fears will use Betty s mysterious illness against him. What does this show us about Parris? Would you say he s a good father? Give evidence to support your answer. 2. Why does Elizabeth Proctor only rarely come to church these days? separate sheet of paper. You must answer in complete sentences. 3. When Abigail relates her version of what happened in the forest, what lends credibility to her story? Does Parris believe her? Why is he interested if her name is entirely white in the village? 4. Abigail describes Elizabeth Proctor as a lying, cold, sniveling woman. What s ironic about this? 5. Ann Putnam says that her daughter, Ruth, has been acting strange this year. Describe Ruth s behaviors. Ann Putnam says this is evidence of dark forces pulling on her child, whose age we re not told but who is probably around 10 years old. What is a different, more likely explanation for Ruth s behaviors? 6. When a Bible psalm is sung, Betty Parris wails. Ann Putnam concludes that this shows the child has been touched by the Devil. Explain why this is a logical fallacy. What is the actual cause of Betty s wailing? 7. Describe Mercy Lewis. Describe Mary Warren. What does Abigail threaten to do to the girls if they tell about the casting of spells in the woods? Why is Abigail so dark? 8. Rebecca Nurse is able to quickly calm Betty when others could not comfort the girl. There are two different ways (one good, one not) of viewing Nurse s power here. Explain them both. 9. How many children and grandchildren does Rebecca Nurse have? How many does Ann Putnam have? Explain how people in Salem might view this as the hand of God working in the two women s lives. 10. What reason does John Proctor give for his reluctance to regularly attend church? What is another likely reason he hasn t been attending? 11. Mrs. Putnam says that there are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires! Explain what she means. 12. In his opening remarks, how does Hale establish his authority? 13. Explain how Tituba is in a no-win situation. How does Tituba defend herself? 14. Why, do you suppose, Tituba gives the names of Sarah Good and Goody Osburn? What does this move show us about Tituba? 15. How does Hale contribute to the emotional fever of the end of the act, when the girls begin naming individuals who were seen with the Devil?

2 The Crucible ACT 2 STUDY QUESTIONS 1. It s been seven months since the affair between John and Abigail ended, and tension continues to hang over John and Elizabeth s relationship. Give two examples from early in the scene where John appears to be trying to make peace and please his wife. 2. John says, It s winter in here yet. Explain the double-meaning of this line. 3. When they re speaking alone about Abigail, Elizabeth catches John in a lie. What s the lie? Why does this make her lose all faith in her husband? 4. Elizabeth suspects that her husband is not entirely over his warm feelings for Abigail. Is she right or wrong? Look back over the exchange between Abigail and John in Act 1 and give evidence to support your answer. 5. It s been eight days since Rev. Hale s arrival and 39 people have been arrested as suspected witches. Tonight, we learn that Goody Osburn has been convicted and will hang, yet Sarah Good, who confessed, will be spared and sent to jail instead of being hanged. What evidence led to Sarah Good s confession? 6. John says, The promise that a stallion gives a mare I gave [Abigail], yet Elizabeth knows that there is a promise made in any bed. What does Elizabeth understand about young women like Abigail that John does not? 7. Explain why golden candlesticks hurt John Proctor s prayer. 8. What s the irony of John s recitation of the Ten Commandments? 9. Looking back to Act 1, what role did Giles Corey play in the arrest of his own wife? 10. What extreme physical action does Abigail take in her efforts to frame Elizabeth Proctor? What does this show us about Abigail? 11. Give two examples of how Elizabeth hurts her own defense in this scene. 12. Write the simile that John uses when he talks about fighting to protect his wife. 13. Explain the no-win situation that Mary Warren now faces. 14. In what way could John view his wife s arrest as evidence of the hand of God? Which character would likely plant this idea in his head? When?

3 The Crucible ACT 3 STUDY QUESTIONS 1. Who holds more power, Danforth or Hathorne? How do you know this? 2. What motive does Danforth have to discount the testimony of Giles Corey, John Proctor, and Mary Warren? 3. Early in the act, Danforth says to Proctor, We burn a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment. In what way does this line serve as foreshadowing? 4. Before the scandal with Abigail comes to light, there s mounting evidence that reflects poorly on John Proctor. List three of John s actions that might sway Danforth against him. What is Hale s reaction to these things? 5. Who informs John of his wife s pregnancy? How does this news actually hurt the case that Proctor is trying to present to the court? 6. How many people have signed a declaration in support of Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey, and Elizabeth Proctor? What will happen to these people now? If you were accused of a crime today, would you be able to rally that number of people to stand and support you in court? What does this document show you about these three women? 7. How was the court of 1692 run differently than the way a court functions today? Give at least three important differences. 8. Why is Giles arrested? 9. What event has made Rev. Hale uneasy about the court s proceedings? 10. As things are heating up in the court, Rev. Parris lies as he attempts to defend Abigail and her friends. What is the lie that he tells the court? Why would he do this? 11. Mary Warren tells the judges that she could faint during the court proceedings, but cannot now. Why, do you suppose, this is so? What is the author s point here? 12. What s ironic about Elizabeth s lie? 13. John says that is own face is the face of Lucifer. Further, he says that Danforth s face is also the face of Lucifer. Explain what he means.

4 The Crucible ACT 4 STUDY QUESTIONS 1. About three months have passed since the end of Act 3. How has Herrick changed? 2. What happened with Abigail and Mercy? What does this show the court about the girls? Why doesn t the court immediately suspend the upcoming executions? 3. What has happened in Andover, a neighboring town? Why is this signficant? 4. What is the real reason Rev. Parris wants the court to delay today s executions? 5. Using Hale s description as your guide, explain in your own words what life is like now in Salem. 6. How did Giles Corey die? In what way did this comedic figure actually become heroic? 7. Privately, Elizabeth tells John, It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery. What does she mean? Is she right? 8. Throughout the play, John Proctor has struggled with his own identity, wanting to be morally upright yet knowing he is a sinner. Onto which side does the scale ultimately tip in his case? What action shows us this? (Hint: It s the moral climax of the play.) 9. As Proctor is taken off stage to face his execution, Elizabeth stands at the window and the new sun is pouring upon her face. Symbolically, what s interesting about this final image? 10. The title of this play is The Crucible. What is a crucible? (It s fine to look this up in a dictionary.) Explain how this word is an apt description for the events that we ve studied. I have given you my soul; leave me my name!

5 KEY Act 1 1. Early in the play, Rev. Parris is greatly concerned with his enemies, whom he fears will use Betty s mysterious illness against him. What does this show us about Parris? Would you say he s a good father? Give evidence to support your answer. From the beginning, we learn that Rev. Parris is an unpopular man. He s the religious leader in this town, yet the people don t all fall in line behind him. As the scene develops, we see that he is greedy and pompous, clearly having alienated many people in his congregation. He argues about firewood money while his daughter seems to be in a coma. He belittles the townspeople and boasts that they are lucky to have a Harvard-educated man such as himself to lead their town. He seems to be a good father, staying up all night praying for his daughter Betty. However, he seems foremost concerned with how this illness might poorly reflect on himself instead of finding a cure for Betty at any political cost. 2. Why does Elizabeth Proctor only rarely come to church these days? She tells people that she doesn t want to share a church pew with something soiled like Abigail Williams. Later in the scene, we realize that Elizabeth knows about the affair between Abigail and her husband John. Abigail is not the innocent she pretends to be. 3. When Abigail relates her version of what happened in the forest, what lends credibility to her story? Does Parris believe her? Why is he interested if her name is entirely white in the village? Tituba, the Parris family s slave, is from Barbados, a mysterious land, and Parris saw her chanting and swaying over the fire. Parris does not entirely believe his niece s story that the girls were merely singing and dancing because he saw that one of the girls was naked as she was running away. He also suspects that Abigail is not entirely honest with him because he s heard rumors in the town about her bad behavior. 4. Abigail describes Elizabeth Proctor as a lying, cold, sniveling woman. What s ironic about this? The truth is that Abigail is the liar. She s also cold as ice, accusing Tituba and the other innocent women of witchcraft at the end of the scene. She s also still sniveling for John Proctor s affections. She is exactly the things she accuses Elizabeth of being. 5. Ann Putnam says that her daughter, Ruth, has been acting strange this year. Describe Ruth s behaviors. Ann Putnam says this is evidence of dark forces pulling on her child, whose age we re not told but who is probably around 10 years old. What is a different, more likely explanation for Ruth s behaviors? Ruth has been moody and withdrawn from her mother, wanting to keep secrets. Ann sees this as evidence of dark spirits, but the truth is that such behavior is a natural part of early adolescence, as tweens no longer want to be completely dependent on their parents. Also, one can t help but think that Mrs. Putnam would be an overbearing mother, causing Ruth to want to shrink away from her. 6. When a Bible psalm is sung, Betty Parris wails. Ann Putnam concludes that this shows the child has been touched by the Devil. Explain why this is a logical fallacy. What is the actual cause of Betty s wailing? The psalm did not cause the wailing. It s merely a coincidence. Correlation is not causation, as we learn in science class. The true cause of Betty s wailing is that she s been laying there listening to her cousin and Mr. Proctor talk about their sinful affair. It s too much for the little girl to handle. 7. Describe Mercy Lewis. Describe Mary Warren. What does Abigail threaten to do to the girls if they tell about the casting of spells in the woods? Why is Abigail so dark? Mercy Lewis is the Putnams servant. She is fat, sly, and 18. She s the one Parris saw naked in the woods and she s the one who slapped Ruth Putnam hard to try to get her to awaken; this girl is trouble. Mary Warren, also 18, is the Proctors servant. She s meek and didn t do much in the woods last night except watch the others act wild. She s terrified they are going to get in trouble. If any of the girls contradict Abigail s story, she says she will sneak up to them while they are asleep and bring a pointy reckoning. This means she ll stab them to death. Abigail is dark because she witnessed the murder of her parents by Indians. She says she was in the bed with them when they were killed. Dark stuff, indeed. 8. Rebecca Nurse is able to quickly calm Betty when others could not comfort the girl. There are two different ways (one good, one not) of viewing Nurse s power here. Explain them both. Some people could view this as flattering toward Rebecca, showing that she has a nurturing, grandmotherly air about her. She s spent a lot of time with children and knows how to soothe them. Others, though, might be suspicious of the power she holds over Betty, leading to suspicions of witchcraft. 9. How many children and grandchildren does Rebecca Nurse have? How many does Ann Putnam have? Explain how people in Salem might view this as the hand of God working in the two women s lives. Rebecca has 11 children

6 and 26 grandchildren; Ann has only one living child and no grandchildren. Seven of Ann s children have died as infants. In Salem, this would be viewed by people as God rewarding the kind-hearted, generous Nurses and punishing the greedy, bitter Putnams. 10. What reason does John Proctor give for his reluctance to regularly attend church? What is another likely reason he hasn t been attending? He says that he doesn t like Parris sermons, which deal too much with hell/brimstone and pleas for more money. Another reason, of course, is that John wants to avoid Abigail, who regularly attends her uncle s sermons. 11. Mrs. Putnam says that there are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires! Explain what she means. She means that things are not always as they seem. Wheels within wheels refers to the fact that there are inner workings from the wheels inside that cause the wheels on the ouside to react in certain ways. There are many secrets and hidden motives at work in this town. 12. In his opening remarks, how does Hale establish his authority? He arrives with numerous large, heavy books that are weighted with authority. Books seem to be the ultimate authority on these issues, which is humorous since none of Hale s witchcraft knowledge can actually be scientifically proven. This line also makes us think of the book with the ultimate power in this theocracy, the Bible. 13. Explain how Tituba is in a no-win situation. How does Tituba defend herself? If Tituba doesn t confess, she ll be whipped to death. If she does confess, she ll be seen as an agent of God and her life will be spared but she will hurt others. She struggles with this a bit but ultimately chooses to defend herself by making up a false confession and casting suspicions on other people. 14. Why, do you suppose, Tituba gives the names of Sarah Good and Goody Osburn? What does this move show us about Tituba? Thomas Putnam already planted those names in Tituba s mind earlier in the scene when he mentioned them as failed midwives to Mrs. Putnam. Tituba is shrewd. She gives the group the names of the two people who were already suspected. She doesn t want to have to play a role in this horror, but she also knows she ll be killed if she doesn t give these men what they want to hear. She also takes the opportunity to hold a little power in her hands and scare her employer, Rev. Parris. It s clear that she s been treated poorly by Parris. 15. How does Hale contribute to the emotional fever of the end of the act, when the girls begin naming individuals who were seen with the Devil? Hale turns every accuser into a saintly figure. He also plants ideas in Tituba s mind, subtly telling her what he needs to hear from her. In a court today, we would call this leading a witness. He also uses a lot of pathos, stirring everyone up. An example of this is seen when he says that the Devil is out and preying on [Betty] like a beast upon the flesh of the pure lamb. This certainly increases the intensity of the moment. Act 2 1. It s been seven months since the affair between John and Abigail ended, and tension continues to hang over John and Elizabeth s relationship. Give two examples from early in the scene where John appears to be trying to make peace and please his wife. He seasons the rabbit stew with salt when she s not in the room to improve her cooking, but then compliments the dish even though it wasn t originally to his liking. He offers to buy a cow from George Jacobs, if that would make his wife happy. 2. John says, It s winter in here yet. Explain the double-meaning of this line. He means that his wife should cut some wildflowers and bring in bouquets to brighten up their home. He also means, though, that there s a frosty air between them. He doesn t feel much warmth from his wife. For example, when he goes to kiss her, she receives the kiss but does not kiss him back. 3. When they re speaking alone about Abigail, Elizabeth catches John in a lie. What s the lie? Why does this make her lose all faith in her husband? He told Elizabeth that other people were in the room when he spoke to Abigail eight days ago. This is not entirely true. Betty Parris was lying inert on the bed, but no one else was there. John and Abigail were, for all intents and purposes, alone together. Once Elizabeth hears that he spent time alone with Abigail, she feels hurt and betrayed, no longer willing to trust his word. 4. Elizabeth suspects that her husband is not entirely over his warm feelings for Abigail. Is she right or wrong? Look back over the exchange between Abigail and John in Act 1 and give evidence to support your answer. Students answers will vary and this question usually makes for a good class discussion. 5. It s been eight days since Rev. Hale s arrival and 39 people have been arrested as suspected witches. Tonight, we

7 learn that Goody Osburn has been convicted and will hang, yet Sarah Good, who confessed, will be spared and sent to jail instead of being hanged. What evidence led to Sarah Good s confession? Mary Warren said Sarah Good came and begged food from the Proctors home. When Mary turned her away without any food, Sarah Good was heard mumbling something, which Mary thought was a hex. In court, Sarah Good said she was only mumbling her Ten Commandments, yet she wasn t able to recite any of the Commandments when put on the spot in court. This was enough for the court to convict, but Sarah Good confessed then in a move to save her own life. Interesting, it turns out that she s also pregnant, and the court will not hang a pregnant woman so that the innocent child can be spared. This, of course, is a tool of foreshadowing for Elizabeth s case, but I don t mention this yet to the class. At the end of Act 3, we revisit this piece of information. 6. John says, The promise that a stallion gives a mare I gave [Abigail], yet Elizabeth knows that there is a promise made in any bed. What does Elizabeth understand about young women like Abigail that John does not? There is no such thing as a casual affair for an 18-year-old woman. Even if the young woman knows she can t be with the man, she ll still pine for him. Maybe this has changed in our modern world, but perhaps not as much as we think. It s very difficult for women to set aside all of the emotional things that come along with being in a physical relationship. Is this still a truth or a just an old stereotype? Students usually have interesting opinions about Elizabeth s line. 7. Explain why golden candlesticks hurt John Proctor s prayer. He sees them as a symbol of Rev. Parris greed. The residents of Salem are simple, hard-working people. They have no need for such luxuries, yet Parris demands them. The candlesticks show a disconnect between Parris and his people. They also, in John s mind, go against the teachings of the Bible. 8. What s the irony of John s recitation of the Ten Commandments? He forgets, Thou shalt not commit adultery, which, of course, is the one he s broken. Elizabeth has to be the one to help him remember. Oh! 9. Looking back to Act 1, what role did Giles Corey play in the arrest of his own wife? He mentioned his wife to Rev. Hale and said she was secretive about her late-night reading. He also couldn t remember his prayers when she was in the room. Giles is a bit of a goof, but he s unwittingly brought the spotlight of suspicion to his own wife, who has now been arrested. 10. What extreme physical action does Abigail take in her efforts to frame Elizabeth Proctor? What does this show us about Abigail? She sticks a 2-inch needle into her stomach so that it will look like Elizabeth s spirit has stabbed her. Abigail is so deeply in love with John Proctor that she s willing to go to murderous extremes to win him. She s also intense and completely devoted to the lies she is spinning. (If you read the Act 2, Sc. 2 deleted scene that comes in the appendix of some editions of the play, you ll see that Abigail seems to now believe her own lies. You could argue that she is delusional.) 11. Give two examples of how Elizabeth hurts her own defense in this scene. First, she tells Rev. Hale that she doesn t believe in witches, if people like Rebecca Nurse and herself could be accused. This goes against the teachings of the Bible and stuns Hale. Second, when she realizes that Abigail was aware of the needle tucked inside Mary Warren s poppet, she says, The girl is murder! She must be ripped out of the world! Both of these actions, although understandable to the audience, will hurt Elizabeth in the eyes of the court. 12. Write the simile that John uses when he talks about fighting to protect his wife. He tells her, I will fall like an ocean on that court! 13. Explain the no-win situation that Mary Warren now faces. If she tells the truth, it shows that Abigail is a murderous liar. Abigail and the other girls will rail against Mary, likely accusing her of witchcraft as well. If Mary continues to lie and sides with Abigail, she ll be part of the evil plot that is condemning innocent souls. Mary s dilemma parallels the once Tituba faced at the end of Act In what way could John view his wife s arrest as evidence of the hand of God? Which character would likely plant this idea in his head? When? John could view Elizabeth s arrest as a punishment for his affair/sin with Abigail. Hurting Elizabeth is a worse punishment than if he himself were hurt because of the layer of guilt that accompanies Elizabeth s arrest. Rev. Hale likely brings this guilty feeling to John s mind when Hale talks about some secret abomination or blasphemy that has brought God s wrath to Salem. Act 3 1. Who holds more power, Danforth or Hathorne? How do you know this? Danforth holds more power because he is

8 the Deputy Governor in this theocracy. Hathorne is the local judge from Salem. 2. What motive does Danforth have to discount the testimony of Giles Corey, John Proctor, and Mary Warren? It is insulting to him to suggest that he s been duped by teenaged girls. If this story is true, it shows that he is not as wise as he believes himself to be. He says that he s jailed 400 people and condemned 72 to die. Danforth is unwilling to believe that he s taken such action on false testimonies. Basically, his reputation is at stake. 3. Early in the act, Danforth says to Proctor, We burn a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment. In what way does this line serve as foreshadowing? Proctor s secret affair with Abigail will have to come to light in this court. Proctor will be exposed by the end of this act. 4. Before the scandal with Abigail comes to light, there s mounting evidence that reflects poorly on John Proctor. List three of John s actions that might sway Danforth against him. What is Hale s reaction to these things? 1. John ripped the court s warrant when Cheever delivered it. 2. John attends church only once a month and has been critical of Rev. Parris. 3. John plows his fields on Sunday, which is supposed to be a day given to worshipping God. Rev. Hale isn t swayed by this evidence that John Proctor is a sinner/agent of the Devil. Hale says these are all things a reasonable man would do; he wants harder evidence. Hale is beginning to see what Danforth is unwilling to acknowledge. 5. Who informs John of his wife s pregnancy? How does this news actually hurt the case that Proctor is trying to present to the court? Danforth is the one who tells John of Elizabeth s pregnancy. In Danforth s eyes, the pregnancy spares the life of Elizabeth, so John has no valid reason to continue his claim with the court. The fact that he wishes to proceed shows that he has a greater mission; he must want to overthrow the court. Therefore, Danforth views John s continuance of his case/message with suspicion. 6. How many people have signed a declaration in support of Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey, and Elizabeth Proctor? What will happen to these people now? If you were accused of a crime today, would you be able to rally that number of people to stand and support you in court? What does this document show you about these three women? A total of 91 people signed the letter stating that these are good Christian women. Now, all 91 of these people will be arrested and brought in for examination, as they are suspected of wanting to undermine the workings of the court. Answers to the personal part of the question will vary, but surely few of us would have that many people willing to defend our honor. The letter shows that all three women have exceptional moral character. 7. How was the court of 1692 run differently than the way a court functions today? Give at least three important differences. 1. Back then, you were presumed guilty and had to prove your innocence, an impossible thing to prove. Today, you are innocent until proven guilty, so the burden is on the prosecution, not the defense. 2. Today, everyone is given access to an attorney, whereas Danforth holds proceedings allowing a mere farmer to present an important argument. 3. Today, you need physical evidence and eyewitness testimony, whereas Danforth allows accusations and ridiculous spiritual stories to serve as hard evidence. 4. Today, every defense is not viewed as an attack on the court. A defense is your right. 8. Why is Giles arrested? He s arrested for contempt of court when he refuses to name the man who heard Putnam talking about his plans to grab the land of his neighbor, George Jacobs, once Jacobs is convicted of witchcraft. The prime witness to Jacobs crime is Putnam s own daughter, Ruth. Something is rotten in Salem. 9. What event has made Rev. Hale uneasy about the court s proceedings? This morning, he signed the conviction of Rebecca Nurse. Hale doubts that such a kind soul could commit the crimes of which she is accused. He is starting to see the reality of the situation and it s making him ill. 10. As things are heating up in the court, Rev. Parris lies as he attempts to defend Abigail and her friends. What is the lie that he tells the court? Why would he do this? He lies when he says that the girls were merely dancing and he never saw any of them naked in the woods. Parris is no longer interested in the truth or in justice; he feels he must back Abigail, as she is his niece and wields a lot of power in the town. As long as the court believes the girls, Parris thinks that he ll benefit from the cleansing of the town. 11. Mary Warren tells the judges that she could faint during the court proceedings, but cannot now. Why, do you suppose, this is so? What is the author s point here? When she was surrounded with her friends and feeling the emotion of the moment, it was so much easier to just mimic the others and go along with the show. Now that she s alone and in a spotlight of sorts, she s unable to perform for the men. Miller is showing us here that people will easily succumb to mob mentality and go along with the crowd, doing many things that they would never do alone or if they were singled out. This smacks of the well, everyone else is doing it justification that students use for cheating, or

9 speeding, or any number of illegal/immoral behaviors. Students, though, would never do those things if their parents or teachers were watching them. (If you teach Huckleberry Finn, I like to connect the discussion of this question to the Col. Sherburn incident from Twain s novel.) 12. What s ironic about Elizabeth s lie? She s never lied in her life, yet the first lie she ever tells results in the condemnation of both herself and her husband. Interestingly, Hale says that this was a natural lie to tell. She sinned by telling a lie, but it was for the greater good. Oh, what a mess! 13. John says that is own face is the face of Lucifer. Further, he says that Danforth s face is also the face of Lucifer. Explain what he means. Both of them are sinners. He lusted and committed adultery, so he will burn in hell. Danforth, though, is also a sinner because he is ignoring truth and leading an unjust court that is killing innocent people. Danforth, too, will burn in hell, John suggests here. Act 4 1. About three months have passed since the end of Act 3. How has Herrick changed? He used to be a quiet, respectful officer of the court. He quietly spoke in support of John Proctor s reputation in Act 3, but then quickly resumed his duties under Danforth s gaze. Now, he s drunk at work, sharing a drink with inmates, and jokes that he wants to go with the Devil, too. There s a sense that he s aware of the broken justice in the system where he works. 2. What happened with Abigail and Mercy? What does this show the court about the girls? Why doesn t the court immediately suspend the upcoming executions? Abigail stole 31 pounds from her uncle (about half of his annual salary) and ran away with Mercy, most likely boarding a ship. This shows the officials that the girls are dishonest criminals, yet Danforth refuses to suspend or delay the executions scheduled for today. Danforth reasons that any delay would show a weakening of the court s power. He also argues that many people have already been hung based on the workings of the court and to change course now would be unfair to those already dead. He uses twisted logic to justify the continuing of injustice. 3. What has happened in Andover, a neighboring town? Why is this signficant? In Andover, the people revolted and threw out the court. The witch trials are over there because the people had enough. There s been talk of a similar rebellion in Salem, though nothing has come of it yet. 4. What is the real reason Rev. Parris wants the court to delay today s executions? Someone left a daggar in his front door, and he feels threatened. He s worried that his own life is in danger. 5. Using Hale s description as your guide, explain in your own words what life is like now in Salem. Because so many people have been arrested, life is chaotic. Parentless children are being shuttled from house to house. Crops are rotting in the fields because farmers aren t there to tend to the earth. Cows are roaming aimlessly around town and people are arguing about who owns which cows. Every adult is terrified that he/she will be the next person named by the girls as a witch, so the tension is unbearable. Society is falling apart. 6. How did Giles Corey die? In what way did this comedic figure actually become heroic? Corey died when he was pressed to death with stones. He refused to give the name of the witness to the court, so he was killed for his contempt of the court. When he was being pressed to death, he was ordered again to give the name of the witness. Corey s only words were, More weight. He was heroic in his death. Also, he used his knowledge of the law to protect his property and ensure that it passed to his son. Even as he faced death, he did the right thing, for both the town and his family. 7. Privately, Elizabeth tells John, It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery. What does she mean? Is she right? She means that she wasn t a warm, loving wife, so it s not a surprise that John was attracted to Abigail s heat. She s taking the blame for the affair on herself. If she had been more confident in her husband s attraction to her, she would not have been so frigid. The answers to the second question will vary and always make for a compelling class discussion. 8. Throughout the play, John Proctor has struggled with his own identity, wanting to be morally upright yet knowing he is a sinner. Onto which side does the scale ultimately tip in his case? What action shows us this? (Hint: It s the moral climax of the play.) Ultimately, there s more good than bad in John Proctor. When he tears the signed false confession, he s symbolically declaring his true identity. He finally answers the question he s been struggling with throughout the entire play. Deep at his core, he is a good man. 9. As Proctor is taken off stage to face his execution, Elizabeth stands at the window and the new sun is pouring upon her face. Symbolically, what s interesting about this final image? Answers will vary, but this is a hopeful sign. The new sun shows that light, or truth, will prevail. We know from history that the witch hysteria will soon die out and today

10 we have a clear, true view of what happened in this troubled time. The sunlight basking Elizabeth s face could also be seen as God smiling down on those who are righteous. 10. The title of this play is The Crucible. What is a crucible? (It s fine to look this up in a dictionary.) Explain how this word is an apt description for the events that we ve studied. A crucible is a ceramic or metal container in which metals or other substances may be melted when subjected to very high temperatures. It is also used to describe a severe test or trial. The crucible of the Salem Witch Trials revealed the true nature of the individuals involved. It seems that we can only know what we are really made of at our core when all of the other impurities or distractions of the world are burned away. For John Proctor, the crucible revealed his moral center. All of us will be tested by hard times or trials in life. It is in those moments that it becomes clear who we really are. Students may have heard of these crucible moments described as trials by fire.

2. What advice does the doctor send back? That he can find no medical reason for her illness, and he should look for an unnatural reason.

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