The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts

54kjxo8elako t
The place is Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, an enclave of rigid piety huddled on the edge of a wilderness. Its inhabitants believe unquestioningly in their own sanctity. But in Arthur Miller's edgy masterpiece, that very belief will have poisonous consequences when a vengeful teenager accuses a rival of witchcraft--and then when those accusations multiply to consume the entire village. First produced in 1953, at a time when America was convulsed by a new epidemic of witchhunting, The Crucible brilliantly explores the threshold between individual guilt and mass hysteria, personal spite and collective evil. It is a play that is not only relentlessly suspenseful and vastly moving but that compels readers to fathom their hearts and consciences in ways that only the greatest theater ever can. "A drama of emotional power and impact" -- New York Post
Curriculet Details
55 Questions
26 Annotations
3 Quizzes

In this 9th-10th grade digital curriculum, annotations include vocabulary development, character analysis, as well as references and prompts to highlight the development of the themes in the text. Interactive videos allow readers to explore the visual effect of the play and compare text to film. The Common Core aligned questions and answers address character development, themes, vocabulary, and plot structure. Our free online unit will increase student engagement with rich media annotations while supporting reading comprehension with questions and quizzes that are embedded directly into the book.

The curriculet is being added to your library

Introduction

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
"By the standards of our own time, if not of that, it was a minor event, a spasm of judicial violence that was concluded within a matter of months."Based on the context clues in the sentence, what is the meaning of the word minor?  
Did you know that you can define any word in the text or questions? Simply select the word and choose the "Define" option to read the definition. Try defining a word on this page. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Where do the rumors of witchcraft in Salem originate? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why doesn't Arthur Miller recognize the dramatic story that could be told about Salem when he first learns about the event? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Miller's approach to theater was to use the lives of individuals as ________________ 
The cast and audience of the Crucible had a moment of silence the night that the Rosenbergs were executed. The reason for this was because they saw a connection between the Salem executions and the Rosenberg executions. The Rosenbergs were convicted to being spies and giving forth information to the Soviet Union about the atomic bomb. To learn more about the Rosenberg executions click the link below. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Which theme or themes is/are addressed in The Crucible?  
"The longer I worked the more certain I felt that improbable as it might seem, there are moments when an individual conscience was all that could keep the world from falling apart." This ideology applies in our modern world as much as it did in Salem during the 1600's. Miller wants to make clear that there will always be the possibility that power will be abused and innocent people will be harmed as a result. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
What was the court of Salem really trying to prevent during the witch trials? 

ACT ONE - (AN OVERTURE)

The text describing the setting is written in italics. It is important to read setting descriptions in a script carefully to fully obtain a visual of a scene, as if you were watching it on stage. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Which character trait below can be used to describe Reverend Parris? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Which of the following do the people of Salem see as sinful? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
What is done to ensure that all citizens of Salem were conforming to the accepted values of the community? 
A "junta" is a council that makes decisions. Salem started out by having a royal government, then changed to a council power.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
What two things are necessary to maintain an organized community? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What does Susanna mean when she says that the doctor believes Parris's daughter, Betty, suffers from unnatural causes? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why are there rumors that the girls were participating in witchcraft? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
What does Reverend Parris mean when he asks his niece, Abigail, if her name is "white" in town? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why does Mrs. Goody Putnam ask how high Betty flew? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
How does Thomas Putnam feel towards the people in Salem? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why does Mrs. Putnam get in touch with Reverend Parris's slave, Tituba? 
Conflict is a problem that a character is having in a story. Characters can have internal conflict and external conflict. Reverend Parris is worried about people finding out that his own daughter, Betty, was caught in the forest doing things associated with witchcraft. Watch this video about conflict and decide whether Reverend Parris is having internal or external conflict. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6
What could happen to the girls if the town discovered the extent of what took place in the forest? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What internal conflict is John Proctor having in this story? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
The reader learns in this scene that John Proctor and Abigail have had an affair. What are John Proctor's current feelings about his relationship with Abigail? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What can the reader infer is the reason that Betty is so upset and is covering her ears? Cite evidence from the text to support your response. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
"There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires!"What is the meaning of this statement made by Mrs. Putnam?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What complaint do some people in Salem have about Reverend Parris? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What do some people think about Reverend Parris? 
Quakers, or Friends, were a new religious sect in the 1650's. Started in England by George Fox, the fundamental belief of this religious group was that Jesus is present in everyday life and that one should focus on worshiping Him. To learn more about the early Quakers, click the link below. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
What type of external conflict is evident among the citizens of Salem? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
What does Mr. Hale mean when he says that his books "are weighted with authority"? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Who is Mr. Hale referring to when he states, "We shall need hard study if it comes to tracking down the Old Boy"? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Why is Reverend Hale's opinion about witchcraft taken seriously by others? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.  
It is ironic that Mr. Hales said earlier that they don't have any room for superstitions, yet he now speaks about the existence of witches and wizards in a matter-of-fact way. In this case, Mr. Hale is not meaning to be ironic, but the playwright, Arthur Miller is using verbal irony to emphasize the beliefs of the time period. To learn more about verbal irony, watch the video below. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Why is it ironic that Mr. Giles is suggesting that his wife reads "strange books" about witchcraft?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Why does Abigail ask Tituba to make a charm? Cite evidence from the text to support your response. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why does Tituba suddenly change her story about having seen the Devil? 
In this conversation, you can see Reverend Parris and Mr. Hale pushing Tituba to say what they want her to say. As a result of her position as a slave and lack of power, she concedes.  
"Goody" is term used as a title for a lowly married woman. It is a shortened version of "goodwife." 
Quiz One 

ACT TWO

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What are John Proctor's feelings towards his wife, Elizabeth? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What can the reader infer from this conversation between John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why is John Proctor frustrated with his wife, Elizabeth? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
It is through Mary Warren's account of the trial that we start to see an emerging theme in this novel. Which theme below is evident through all of the confessions and strange events that are being described at the trial? 
This conversation with Mary Warren gives the reader insight into one of the important themes in this text. To learn more about emerging themes, click the link below. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why does Mary Warren now feel a sense of power over the Proctors?  
In this context, the word "base" means to be morally low or worthless. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why is it shocking that Rebecca is accused of witchcraft? 
Reverend Hale is using John Proctor's lack of attendance in church as evidence that someone in his family might be involved in witchcraft. 
It is ironic that adultery is the one commandment that John Proctor could not remember because it is the one he carries the most guilt over breaking. Watch the video below to learn more about situational irony. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why does Reverend Hale become outraged to discover that Elizabeth Proctor does not believe in witches? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.  
A "poppet" is a type of doll. Cheever is looking for dolls as evidence of voodoo being practiced in the house. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What does Abigail do to cause Elizabeth Proctor to be arrested? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.  
Pontius Pilate was the judge at the trial of Jesus who authorized his crucifixion. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
What does the simile, "I will fall like an ocean on that court!" referring to? 
Throughout the first two acts, it is clear that one's reputation is extremely important in a theocratic society. Abigail threatens to destroy John Proctor's reputation by exposing their affair. Other citizens are ruining the reputations of women by accusing them of witchcraft. Mary Warren is afraid that Abigail will ruin her reputation if she tells the court the truth about her. Reputation is another theme that is evident in this play. 

ACT THREE

It is clear that there is a reversal of roles among the citizens in Salem. Typically, young women are seen as lowly figures until they are married and bear children. Normally, their opinions would not matter to anyone. Now that Abigail and her group have aligned themselves with the Church, their word is taken at face-value and the word of others is completely ignored.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why doesn't the court care about the good reputations of the women they are accusing of witchcraft? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Why is it so wrong to disagree with the court in Salem? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Why does Giles know so much about the law? 
In this scene, we again see one of the characteristics of a theocratic society. Citizens in towns like Salem are expected to report everything they know about any other citizen in town. It was not proper to have a private life. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
"What more may you ask of me? Unless you doubt my probity?" Based on the context clues in the sentences above, what is the meaning of the word, probity? You can use the Define feature for assistance. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Why doesn't Abigail have a problem lying to the court?  
The manner of speech that Abigail uses while addressing the court shows that she is not intimidated by authority the way most women of this time period would be. Watch the video clip below to see the movie version of this court scene. (This annotation contains a video)
Elizabeth keeps looking toward John Proctor because she does not want to confess to his adulterous behavior and ruin his reputation. She does not know that he has already confessed.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why does Judge Danforth believe that John Proctor is lying about his relationship with Abigail?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What response does Abigail want to get out of Mary Warren by accusing her of sending a bird to attack Abigail?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Which character has recently decided that Abigail is lying? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Why does Mary Warren now lie to the court by saying that John Proctor coerced her to speak against Abigail? 
Quiz Two 

ACT FOUR

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
How is Reverend Parris feeling about the hanging of the prisoners? 
A "providence" is when someone gives divine care or direction. In this case, Reverend Hale is encouraging the remaining prisoners to confess. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why do Abigail and Mercy run away? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.  
To be "brought to God" means to make a confession. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why was Elizabeth Proctor spared from the hanging?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What reason does Reverend Hale use to try and get Elizabeth to convince John Proctor to confess? 
John Proctor says that he is not innocent. He feels that he is a terrible man and he has nothing to lose by lying again. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Why won't Elizabeth tell John Proctor what she wants him to do? Cite evidence from the text to support your response. 
John Proctor cannot bear to look at Rebecca as she witnesses him lying in his confession. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
How is John Proctor's confession different from those who have confessed before him? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Why is John Proctors name so important to him?  
Watch this video clip from the movie The Crucible to see John Proctor's confession.  (This annotation contains a video)

ECHOES DOWN THE CORRIDOR

Quiz Three