Grade: Senior
Subject: Literature

#2329. The Crucible UPDATE

Literature, level: Senior
Posted Tue Aug 7 14:51:37 PDT 2001 by Kimmy Smith (
English I Links
Bell City High School, Bell City, LA USA
Materials Required: Copies of the Play and Access to the Internet
Activity Time: Totally up to the teacher, it is a 3 day unit

My Crucible Unit Plan

A pull down menu has been added for a few of the secondary links that are harder to find.

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The Crucible Created by Kim Smith Bell City High School Grade Level: 10 Subject: English II


TLW develop basic vocabulary.

{1-H3; 3-H1, 3; 7-H1}

TLW use context clues and structural analysis. (root words, prefixes, suffixes to determine meanings of unfamiliar words)

{1-H1; 4-H6}

TLW analyze complex literary elements. (plot, character, setting, theme, mood, tone, style, and point of view)

{1-H2, 5; 2-H5, 6; 3-H1-3; 6-H1-3; 7-H3}

TLW recognize and understand the use of symbolism and allusions in a literary selection.

{1-H2, 3; 2-H1, 4; 3-H1-3; 6-H2; 7-H1}

TLW determine main idea, relevant details, outcomes, and methods of development in a variety of written materials.

{1-H3, 5; 2-H6; 3-H1-3; 7-H1}

TLW relate what is read to personal experiences or feelings.

{1-H3, 4; 2-H6; 3-H1-3; 7-H2}

TLW distinguish between fact and opinion.

{1-H5; 7-H4}

TLW explain the characteristics that distinguish different literary forms. (fiction, drama, poetry, novels)

{4-H4; 6-H3, 4; 7-H2}

TLW use comprehension and reasoning strategies. (compare and contrast, generate inquiry, and make connections to other literature and history texts.)

{1-H3; 7-H1}

Day 1: Give terms, background, and conduct internet search handout.

Drama terms needed:

Allegory-underlying meaning may be moral, religious, political, or satire

Allusion-reference to a historical or fictional character, place, event, or to another work that the writer assumes the reader will recognize

Audience-people reading the story

Carpe Diem-seize the day

Censorship-suppressing or deleting portions of plays or other written works

Character-person in a literary work

Climax-crisis or turning point in the play

Conflict-struggle between opposing forces

Drama-literary work written in dialogue to be performed by actors

Genre-type of literary work

History Play-play centered on historical events

Mood-prevailing attitude in a literary work

Setting-time and place of the action

Vocabulary Needed for the Reading of the Play:




















Materials and Resources:

Copies of The Crucible

Dictionaries for vocabulary

Reference Materials

Access to the Internet

Unit plan background notes

Notes needed for the background information:


Cotton Mather created the hysteria that surrounded the Salem Witch Trials. Joseph Mcarthy created the 1950's "Red Scare" that surrounded the era in which Arthur Miller lived and wrote.

The Puritan Church encouraged confessions of sins as a way to forgiveness. McCarthy and HUAC encouraged the naming of names. To lie and confess in both situations was considered the road to salvation. The Hollywood 10 refused to confess. The Salem twenty were killed for refusing to sign a confession. Little was needed in either case to accuse and convict the people named in the "hearings." Most people were convicted on a person's statement.

Miller was called before the committee after being named. His case finally went before the Supreme Court.

The church in 1692 was the political center. Following WWII, the Cold War instilled a fear of Communism as an unseen danger as strong as the fear of witches had been in the Puritan era.

The theory and statement was that "Witches never did exist, then or now. Communists are real." McCarthy actually said some of the lines used in the Salem Witch Trials. Echoes of history repeating itself.

Miller used this play to try to keep history from repeating itself.

Orson Wells was blacklisted. McCarthy exploited the communist problem for political ends. Like Parris, he used the scare to cement his place in the political world.

The fear in Hollywood did not break free until 1960. "The Brave One" was written by a blacklisted writer, Dalton Trumbo, and addressed the plight of the downtrodden in a repressive government.

John Proctor tried to remain uninvolved until the witch hunters came physically knocking on his door. Many in Hollywood only became involved after being named in a secret meeting.

Proctor was guilty of a sin, but not the sin of witchcraft. He was guilty of adultery and not attending church. Both of these were used as evidence in his witch trial. Many during the witch trails confessed after food and sleep deprivation. Some felt that Mather instigated the trials, but others say he tried to stop them. There is little question where McCarthy stood on Communism. Cotton Mather was a minister of great political standing with as much power as a Senator.

Girls and adults got caught up in the frenzy of witchcraft. The Crucible deals with the idea that the "witch" hysteria was all to cover-up the realization that three girls were caught dancing and lied to protect themselves.

Witches were not burned, as portrayed in many situations; but were actually hanged. It was generally agreed that none of them had actually been witches at all.

Abigail Williams was only 11, but Arthur Miller boosted her age to 17. John Proctor was 60; Elizabeth was his third wife. She was pregnant at the time of her arrest and was given a temporary stay of execution. John was not really a farmer as he is in the play, but a tavern keeper. The entire family was eventually accused of witchcraft.

Tituba was actually married. Miller omitted this from the play. Parris did not graduate from Harvard, but he did attend the university. Miller also omitted Cotton Mather.

Most of the people who were executed, were killed for refusing to confess. Confession would have caused all the children to be disinherited.

In both reality and in the play, the families of the people who were executed or blacklisted were reimbursed for the mess the hysteria caused.

Day 1: Internet Search

Please use the following address to answer the questions below. You will need to read through each of the sites and look for specific answers.

The Crucible Links Needed

The information was taken from the sites as listed below:

The Crucible: Fact and Fiction

Why Did Arthur Miller Write The Crucible?

Parents' Guide to The Crucible

What actual historical event inspired Arthur Miller to write The Crucible?

What causes spurs a whole community into a blood-lust frenzy in Miller's tale?

In reality, how many children were in the Paris family? What were their names and ages?

The following people were hanged on what date: Rebecca Nurse was hanged _________________, John Proctor on ____________________, and Martha Corey on _______________________.

One of Miller's reasons for creating this play was that it was his way of trying to keep ___________________________________.

Christopher Bigsby, the author of the 1995 Introduction to The Crucible, describes Miller's motivation as this: "Miller seems to have written ____________________________________.

The 1957 version was produced in _____________ because people in the movie industry in the United States were afraid of being branded communists or communist sympathizers if they made the movie.

Who wrote the screenplay for the 1996 version?

The film raises three important moral issues. Name them.




How many people were imprisoned as a result of the witch trials? How many were executed? How many died in prison?

Who was the only person executed who was not hanged? How were they killed?

What crime was Arthur Miller convicted of that was later thrown out by the Supreme Court?

What does HUAC stand for?

Day 2: Read aloud and Answer the following questions and define the speakers and meanings of the following quotes.

Act I:

1.Why has Reverend Parris sent for a doctor as the play begins?

2.What advice does the doctor send back?

3.What does Parris question his niece Abigail about?

4.What is Parris' main concern?

5.What did Parris see in the woods the previous night?

6.What has Elizabeth Proctor said about Abigail?

7.Why does Abigail say she was dismissed by the Proctors?

8. What rumors have circulated the town about Betty Parris? What proof later occurs that "proves" that she is a witch?

9. Why did Mrs. Putnam contact Tituba?

10.Who does Abigail accuse of conjuring spirits at this point?

11.What does Betty Parris reveal about what happened in the woods?

12.What threat does Abigail make to the other girls?

13.What happened in the past between John Proctor and Abigail? How do each of them feel about it now?

14.What is the function of Rebecca Nurse in the play?

15.How does John Proctor feel about Reverend Parris?

16.What is the dispute between John Proctor and Thomas Putnam?

17.Why is Reverend Hale in Salem?

18.What does Giles Corey reveal to Reverend Hale?

19.When Abigail is questioned by Reverend Hale, who does she blame? What proof does she offer?

20.What ultimatum is Tituba given?

21.Who does Tituba accuse of being a witch?

22.Why does Abigail start accusing people at this point?

23.Why does Betty Parris start accusing people?

Quotations from Act I:

1. You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor.---page 19

2. But I will cut off my hand before I ever reach for you again.---page 23

3. There is a prodigious danger in the seeking out of loose spirits.---page28

4. You think that is god's work that you should never lose a child and I bury all but one?---page 28

Essay Topic for Pre-writing Activity:

One of the reasons Arthur Miller wrote this play was an historical event in American history. Not the witch trials of Salem, but the movement in the 1950's led by Senator Joe McCarthy to seek and identify members of the Communist Party that he felt were trying to overthrow the government. This movement ruined many innocent people because of its drive to seek what it thought to be the truth no matter who was hurt in the process. Write about this event. Use the Internet to search for topics. You may choose one of the blacklisted writers. Discuss the impact of the "Red Scare" on literature, movies, and history.

A list of Internet sites for the writers blacklisted are below:

Act II:

Day 3: Read aloud and Answer the following questions and define the speakers and meanings of the following quotes.

1.At the beginning of this act, John Proctor says, "It is winter in here yet." Why is this pertinent to what is going on?

2.Why has Mary Warren disobeyed her employers and gone to Salem?

3.What did Abigail Williams reveal to John Proctor? Elizabeth reminds him of this.

4.Why hasn't John told the court what he knows? What does Elizabeth attribute his not telling to?

5.What lie did John Proctor tell to Elizabeth which makes her more suspicious of him?

6.What news does Mary Warren reveal to John and Elizabeth about the trials?

7.How does Mary Warren behave towards her employers?

8.What does Mary Warren mean when she says, "I saved her life today!"?

9.What does Elizabeth realize when she finds out that she has been accused?

10.What does Elizabeth ask John to do?

11.Why does Reverend Hale visit the Proctors?

12.How does John Proctor respond to questions about why he has not been to church?

13.What does Reverend Hale ask Proctor to do?

14.Discuss the meaning of "Adultery, John." (page 67)

15.What information does John Proctor reveal to Reverend Hale?

16.What does Reverend Hale want John to do with this information?

17.Why does Elizabeth say that she doesn't believe in witches at this point?

18.What news does Giles Corey reveal to the Proctors and Reverend Hale?

19.What has Rebecca Nurse been accused of?

20.Why has Martha Corey been accused?

21.Why do Ezekial Cheever and Marshal Herrick arrive at the Proctor home?

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