The Crucible As an Allegory

by Arthur Miller (1953)

Enrichment Resources - The Colonial / Crucible Unit

See the Fun Facts and links to videos, below, for a better understanding of both the Puritan Era (1690s), and the McCarthy Era (1950s).


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Crucible - Defined: How Do These Definitions Help in Creating the Allegorical Meaning of Miller's Play?

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Fun Facts:

  • Playwright Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe were married from 1956-61.
  • Actor Daniel Day-Lewis met Arthur Miller's daughter, Rebecca, during the filming of The Crucible in 1996. They were married the same year, have two sons, and are still married today.

The Crucible Is a Postmodern, Allegorical Play--So Why Read It During the Colonial 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 with friends and relatives, if you so choose. 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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Enrichment Resource: 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 a comprehensive account of the historical, political, and psychological events leading up to the Salem Witch Trials. While it is more than an hour long, it is worth viewing in order to better understand the play's historical, political, and psychological context:

NEXT--WATCH THE VIDEO CLIP: MP&tHG: "Witch Village" Scene (5:32)

Below is a link to the"Witch Village" scene that I'd like you to look view and analyze from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Watch it a few times, and then determine what the villagers are saying that is incorrect, and why it is incorrect--these are logical fallacies / errors in logic:

Did I mention this is one of my favorite films, ever?

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

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