Background to the Crucible

Just some notes on what life was like in Salem in 1692 and how this effected Miller to write the Crucible

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The Crucible
By Arthur Miller
Background
Settlers in Salem were Puritans ­ A group of English settlers came to America in 1626 and founded a
settlement in Massachusetts which was late named Salem in 1629.They were puritans and followed
the strict teachings of the bible. However they had broken away from the English church because
they found it too tolerant.
Salem society was a Theocracy - A theocracy
is a society ruled by people who believe they
are guided by god. The puritans believed the
idea of community was important and the
people in charge of Salem believe it is their
responsibility to make people confess their
sins and re-join the church.
Puritan Women and Children had a Raw Deal ­ Puritan children were seen as young adults and were
expected to go to church and work hard. They had few toys and they had to well behaved and avoid
emotional outbursts, they were punished if they missed behave. Women were seen as socially
inferior to men ­ they had less power and fewer choices than men.
Many Puritans believed the Devil was Out to Get Them ­ Life was tough for Puritans ­ there were
outbreaks of smallpox, attacks from Indians and their crops didn't grow. When something
unexplained occurred people often thought it was the devils work or that they had been cursed.
Some people believed witches worked for the devil. So if someone was accused of witchcraft they
were accused of being unchristian.

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The Crucible is based on the real Salem Witch Trials ­ In 1962 Abigail Williams and Betty Parris
claimed to be victims of witchcraft and accused the Salem women of being Witches. The people they
accused were easily believable for the villagers. Sarah Good was a beggar, Sarah Osburn rarely went
to church and Tituba was a black slave.…read more

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