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The Crucible Lesson Plan
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Teachers and professors: Get the most out of your time in the classroom when you use this lesson plan for Arthur Miller's The Crucible. In addition to providing guidance through the play's political terrain, this lesson plan addresses Miller's other important themes, including the meanings of morality. Examples of guided discussion and study questions from this lesson plan include the following:
- "So now they and their church found it necessary to deny any other sect its freedom, lest their New Jerusalem be defiled and corrupted by wrong and deceitful ideas." What is the irony in that statement from The Crucible? The Puritans came to this country for religious freedom; however, when they got here they persecuted others as they had been persecuted. They turned their colony into a place almost as bad as the place they had left.
- Explain how the witch-hunt years were a time of "general revenge." Being under such strict laws and commandments, the Puritans had to repress a lot of their anger and spirit of revenge towards their neighbors. When the witch hunts started, it was an excellent opportunity for them to "let their hair down" and get revenge on their neighbors for whatever petty squabbles they had been having.
- Identify Tituba, Abigail, Betty from The Crucible. Tituba was Parris' slave woman from Barbados. She went with the girls into the forest and was accused of conjuring spirits, accused of being a witch. Later, she confessed to being a witch to save her life. Abigail was Parris' niece. She lived with Parris because her own parents had been killed by Indians. Abigail was the main instigator of the witch hunt; she enjoyed the attention and tried to get revenge on several people in the village, particularly Elizabeth Proctor. She wanted to take Elizabeth's place as John Proctor's wife. Betty was Parris' daughter. In the opening scene, she has had some sort of a fit, and the only explanation the people of Salem can find for her condition is the presence of witchcraft in their village.
- Why does Mrs. Putnam believe there are witches in Salem? She has lost many babies in their first few days of life, and the child of her only successful childbirth (Ruth) is acting peculiar. Witchcraft is her answer to these strange events in The Crucible.
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