The Crucible - Characters, Themes, Context and Audience

Goes over some key aspects needed for the first section of the English Combined exam - The Crucible extract.

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  • The Crucible
    • Characters
      • Abigail
        • Mary warren
          • Fears Abigail greatly and struggles to turn against her. However fearing for her own life goes back. Weak character, wrapped up in hysteria.
        • manipulative, selfish, obsessive, blinded by love.
      • John
        • Protagonist, ups and downs but he is our martyr.
          • Dies to keep his reputation. Dies an honest man.
      • Elizabeth
        • Elizabeth is the truly honest character who is valued for this trait. Only lies to 'protect' her husband's reputation.
      • Hale
        • Parris
          • Wants to be able to trust and believe his daughter and niece. Later realises he's been deceived yet he is still a very selfish individual worrying only for his reputation.
        • honest, loyal, trusting, religious, believing, faithful.
          • Miller uses Hale to show the good in humanity - loyalty and honesty still remains and he is showing the American society (1950's) that there is nothing wrong with standing up for what you believe. Moral compass.
      • Danforth
        • Hathorne
        • Both believe that they are doing the right thing for the people of Salem by trusting these young, supposedly innocent girls.
          • Hathorne
          • End of Act 4 we can see that they now know trusting Abigail was wrong and that they may have wrongly convicted but to ensure the reputation of the court they will not even postpone the proceedings.
    • Themes
      • Witchcraft
      • Courage
      • Ideology
      • Hysteria
      • Betrayal
      • Truth/Honesty
    • Audience Reaction
      • Frustration
        • Throughout the trials and towards the accusations
      • Disbelief
        • Towards the outcome
      • Sympathy
        • For the Proctors and for all of those accused when we know they're innocent.
      • Hatred
        • For Abigail, the girls who so easily send innocent people to their death. Parris and Putnam for their selfish nature.
    • Context
      • 1950's Mccarthyism
        • Senator Joseph McCarthy blacklisted individuals suspected of being communist or Russian spies.
          • Ruined the lives of many, lost their jobs. Suspicions - rarely evidence.
          • Red Scare
          • Arthur Miller playwright during the 50s. Against Mccarthy.
            • Crucible is a sort of  extended  metaphor for the red scare.
              • Abigail is McCarthy
      • Salem Witch Trials
        • The basis for the Crucible
        • Witchcraft spread and many accused. 19 died.
        • Sense of dramatic irony as we know the outcome cannot be good.


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