Salem witch trials

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Salem witch trials
Choose one of the following.

  1. Go to the National Geographic site Follow through the link “Experience the trials; will you survive?” If this subject frightens or offends you skip this site. If not follow through and then answer the following question in your journal: How did you as an accused witch or wizard feel as you dealt with the pressures of your accusation and imprisonment?

  2. Go to Follow the link “You’re Accused” Write a journal entry about which option you would have chosen and why.

  3. Translate the “Petitions of the Accused by John Proctor” in the journal.

Scavenger hunt

Google Salem witch trials FAQ’s

  1. Who stopped the witch trials?

  2. What was Spectral evidence?

  3. In which state is Salem?

  4. How many people died as a result of the trials?

  5. How did they die?

Go to

  1. Who is the “Man of Iron”?

  2. Why is he so called?

  3. What is the problem in the timeline of the Crucible by Arthur Miller?

  4. Find three names common to the Crucible (see link) and the list of the accused or afflicted.

Go to

  1. Who was the woman first accused of witchcraft?

  2. Who was the magistrate?

  3. What was the evidence presented against her?

#1 The Salem witch hunts had many victims with few viable options. Name the options that some of the accused took and explain their fate. What can you infer about the accusers, the magistrates, clergymen and most importantly the era?

#2 The hysteria of the Puritan era could be blamed on many factors. What are some of the factors (effects) and what do they say about Puritan life (causes) that could explain how this travesty occurred?
#3 The Crucible has been described as a “study of the mass hysteria and persecution which led to the tragic 1692 Salem witchcraft trials.” What did you find in yesterday’s research that would support this point?
#4 Name and identify the ages and genders of at least 7 of the accused. Make an inference about the group given the demographics that you find.

Arthur Miller background for the Crucible
Directions: Research /answer the following questions.

  1. What was his father’s occupation?

  2. In which city was he born and raised?

  3. What was the first major or area of study in college?

  4. In which genre did he primarily write? (novel, short story, poetry, plays)

  5. Despite his success with All My Sons, he worked in a factory. Why?

  6. Name a famous wife of Arthur Miller’s.

  7. When The Crucible premiered in Belgium he was unable to attend. Why?

  8. Where did he research the background for The Crucible?

  9. Why was he convicted of contempt by US Congress?

  10. How many times (TV,movies, play, radio) was The Crucible done?

  11. What was the most recent version?

  12. Besides All My Sons and the Crucible name two other plays written by Miller.

  13. Whom did Miller say that he looks to for inspiration?

Read the following literary criticism.

The Crucible (1953): Miller's next play, an imagined re-creation of the Salem witch trials of 1692, was inspired by obvious parallels to the persecutions of the McCarthy period. Miller had accidentally come upon a book of the Salem witch trials, Marion Starkey's The Devil in Massachusetts. For Miller the analogy to the hearings in Washington was clear, they were 'avowedly ritualistic' and insisted on 'public confession' by which 'moral guilt [...] could easily be made to disappear by ritual speech: intoning names of fellow sinners and recanting former beliefs'. When The Crucible appeared on Broadway it was inevitably attacked for its parallels with the Senate 'witch hunts', but has easily survived the passing of the historical conditions that brought it about, attesting to its universality and permanent validity.

Miller's refusal to co-operate with the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956, four years after writing the play, provided a rare case of life imitating art, and a telling contrast with the pusillanimous behaviour of many other artists and writers called before the Committee. As a result of his testimony, he was cited and subsequently convicted of contempt of Congress, but his conviction was later overturned on appeal. The Crucible is now considered by many to be Miller's finest work. The drama critic in the Times Literary Supplement wrote that 'Arthur Miller's play is so solidly constructed, so specific in historical reference, verbally so weighted with fully functional poetry that it imposes itself on cast and director alike', whilst John Simon in New York magazine, usually no friend to Miller, remarked that the play 'makes shrewd use of an absorbing and appalling chapter of our history [...] and it holds the stage with tooth and nail, as good plays must'.

Go to Senate Hearings McCarthy
Click on volume 5

Read pages 31-71 (not all pages are included)

Read over and determine the tone of the hearings; look at types of questions, attitude of the questioners.

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