The Crucible (1953)

by Arthur Miller

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Click Me! Upcoming Project Due Date

Dark Romanticism Final Project

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Interesting Facts:

  • Playwright Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe were married from 1956-61.
  • Actor Daniel Day-Lews met Arthur Miller's daughter, Rebecca, during the filming of The Crucible in 1996, married the same year, have two sons, and are still married today.
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A Postmodern, Allegorical Play--Read during the Puritanism Literary Period?

Why? The Puritanism Literary Period is, frankly, a bit dry: amusing, at times, but definitely dry. So, where does this leave us? We will study a Postmodern play written in 1952, but set during our Puritanism Unit in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. Just to spice things up a bit. And you get to act. Right. Always good.

Ergot, and Witches, and Trials, Oh, My!"

Assignment Discovery: The Salem Witch Trails (1:25)

This is for my science fans out there--a scientific look as to what may have contributed to the girls "hysteria" and "witchcraft" during the trails":

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PART I: The Witches' Curse--Interactive WebQuest: Explore Salem (PBS)

Take this quick pre-reading interactive WebQuest to better understand the timeline of events before, during, and after the "Salem Witch Trials." Surprisingly, Miller preserved most of the characters' real names in the play; this interactive will help you to get a better feel for each character. A map of Salem is also shown to orient you with the area where these events occurred. Be sure to refer back to this site when needed during our reading. Have fun!

PART 2: The Witches' Curse: Background

Read the following (4) links to the PBS video "Secrets of the Dead: The Witches' Curse" for more historical context, and an interesting scientific spin as to what may have caused the "hysteria" and "witchcraft":

PART 3: The Witches' Curse: Clues and Evidence

PART 4: The Witches' Curse: Behavioral Psychologist Linnda Caporael Interview

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National Geographic's "Salem: Witchcraft Hysteria" Interactive WebQuest

This WebQuest never gets old. First, you learn the history of Salem, Massachusetts, and the events leading up to the "Salem Witch Hunt." Next, the protagonist, antagonist, and main characters are introduced. Then, you have to make a choice--but I won't give that one away. Enjoy!
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History Channel's "Salem Witch Trials" (1:08:03)

This video is comprehensive historical account of the historical, political, and psychological events leading up to the Salem Witch Trials. It's more than an hour long, but worth viewing in order to better understand the play's historical context:

Interesting Video--Now for Your Assignment:

  1. Watch the video--just over an hour running time
  2. Open a second window on your computer
  3. Type notes as you watch, but only the facts you didn't yet know
  4. Submit a 1+-page, typed, single-spaced notes on this video into my ANGEL drop box
  5. DUE: Friday, 08.20.2015
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Mini Writing Assignment #1: Allegory Journal

Miller wrote this play as an allegory, a story with both a surface and subtextual meaning, with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) Hearings, which many dubbed "Witch Hunts," in mind. Many of his friends and colleagues in Hollywood during the 1950s were accused by Senator Joseph McCarthy and others of being Communists, and were blackballed by Hollywood. Miller wrote this play in reaction to the injustice being committed by McCarthy and others.


  • Begin a Smore chart with (2) columns, one describing the "surface" meaning of this play, and the other describing the "subtextual" meaning--this second part is what makes this play an allegory. Very creative on Miller's part.
  • You will make continuous entries throughout the play.
  • Practice good MLA citation / "1-2-3 Rule" habits, using quote marks around direct quotes, and citing the Act, Scene, and line numbers where they are found in parenthesis. See our handouts for examples.

Mini Writing Assignment #2: Crucible Themes Diary

Aside from the allegorical nature of the play, there are several important themes from which it can be drawn. See if you can identify them as we read, and create a virtual page entitled "Themes within The Crucible," and explain them, citing at least one example of each from the text in MLA Style.
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Formative Assessment: Using the "Burn the Witch" Scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail to Help Identify Logical Fallacies in The Crucible

STEP #1--READ THE SCRIPT: Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "Burn the Witch" Scene

Following is the script for the above-mentioned scene. We are taking 2-day hiatus from The Crucible in order to better understand how the trails could have happened, and the logic, or lack, thereof, behind it:

STEP #2--WATCH THE VIDEO CLIP: MP&HG: "Burn the Witch" Scene (5:32)

Here is the scene we're going to analyze from MPHG. Watch it a few times, and figure out what they're saying that is incorrect, and why it is incorrect:


  • Review the most commonly-used logical fallacies on the following links.
  • Think about the film clip as you read through each fallacy.
  • Put an asterisk* next to the ones you think are being used.
  • HINT: It is helpful to open (3) windows simultaneously as you: 1) View the film clip; 2) Read through the fallacies; and 3) Read the "Burn the Witch" script.

Study my Logical Fallacies Flashcards on Imgur:

Additional Logical Fallacies sites--make your own flashcards on Imgur or FlipSnack:


Last step!

  1. Print your MP&HG "Burn the Witch" Script
  2. ANNOTATE the entire script, identifying which logical fallacies are used within this 5:32 scene (there are several different ones used)
  3. Submit your completely annotated script to my ANGEL drop box.
  4. DUE: MONDAY, 08.23.2015

Disclaimer: You may feel wickedly intelligent by the time you finish this assignment. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Did I mention that was my favorite assignment, ever?

Now that we're really smart, try to identify the logical fallacies within The Crucible's Salem Witch Trial Scenes--our next section!

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