The Crucible Act I

What Puritan primary fear is apparent in the philosophy, “In unity still lay the best promise of safety”? In this philosophy, if someone was different than the rest of the Puritans, it would mean that they were working with the devil somehow. The Puritans want to be a homogeneous community and a model to the rest of the world. The Puritans are the safest when everyone is the same.
Explain the significance of the forest to the Puritans. The significance of the forest to the Puritans is that they believe it to be a place full of evil. They do not want any of their kind to venture into the forest or they may be consumed with the Devil.
Explain the irony in the Puritans’ pilgrimage to Salem to escape persecution. The irony in the Puritans’ pilgrimage to Salem to escape persecution is that they started persecuting people for being “witches”. They persecuted anyone who was different, which is why they left England.
When Abigail enters, she is described as “a strikingly beautiful girl…with an endless capacity for dissembling.” What does the phrase an “endless capacity for dissembling” suggest? The phrase an “endless capacity for dissembling” suggests that Abigail is extremely manipulative. She has the power to dissemble people’s beliefs by lying to them.
Based on his words, what seems to be Parris’s motivation for inadvertently causing the hysteria? Based on his words, Parris’s motivation for inadvertently causing the hysteria is to keep his own reputation clean. As the minister, he needs to be clean in order to keep preaching to the rest of the Puritans. He believes that he cannot go before the congregation if he his child is involved with witchcraft.
Explain the relationship between Abigail and Goody (Elizabeth) Proctor. Elizabeth Proctor and Abigail have a pretty awful relationship. Elizabeth’s husband, John, cheated on her with Abigail while she was sick. When Elizabeth ultimately got better and found out, she kicked Abigail out of her house.
What are Putnam’s motivations for his actions in Salem? Putnam wants revenge on all of the other people in Salem. He thinks that they took land that was rightfully his, so he wants it back. He also wants to move up the social ladder and by having people drop out of society because they are using witchcraft would only increase is status.
Explain the dramatic irony when Parris says, “I know that you—you least of all, Thomas, would ever wish so disastrous a charge laid upon me.” This is a form of dramatic irony because the audience knows that Putnam actually really hates Parris. Parris believes that Putnam is a godly man who wouldn’t hurt anyone, but he obviously doesn’t know much about Putnam.
Explain briefly how Putnam coerces Parris to declare witchcraft. Putnam claims that in order to keep the clean reputation that Parris desires, he himself must declare witchcraft in Salem. By doing this, the rest of society will look up to Parris and still think of him as Salem’s true leader.
What does Betty’s information about dancing in the forest reveal about Abigail’s true motivation? Betty claims that Abigail drank a charm in order to kill Elizabeth Proctor so that she could be with the one who she claims is her love. This reveals that Abigail’s true motivation is to get back at Elizabeth Proctor for kicking her out and, ultimately, to get John Proctor back.
What does the threat of a “pointy reckoning” reveal about Abigail’s true nature? By using the threat of a “pointy reckoning”, Abigail is physically threatening the other girls with a dagger. She is vindictive and manipulative and pretty much just a nasty child.
Describe Mary Warren’s personality. Mary Warren is very naïve and she can be easily manipulated. She does not want to be involved with the witchcraft that is going, but she has found herself wrapped up in it anyway.
Contrast Proctor’s verbal excuse about why he has come to Parris’s house with what his actions indicate may be his true motivation for coming. It seems that Proctor came to Parris’s house in order to see what was going on and get Mary Warren to go back to work for his wife. However, he spends much of his time there with Abigail, talking about how they are no longer together. Proctor’s true motivation for coming may be to speak to Abigail and reinforce the idea that their relationship is finished.
Explain Proctor and Abigail’s relationship. Proctor and Abigail should not have been together. Their relationship was an affair that occurred while Elizabeth Proctor was sick. Once Elizabeth found out what John and Abigail were up to, she kicked Abigail out, but Abigail refuses to believe that the relationship is over and she still tries to seduce John.
Describe Rebecca Nurse physically and by reputation. Rebecca Nurse is 72, white-haired, and she uses a walking stick. People really liked her in Salem and it is said that the opinion of character is so high that no one dared to call her a witch.
In Proctor’s argument with Rev. Parris, the theme of authority arises. What are the two points of view? Rev. Parris believes that he is the ultimate authority in Salem since he is the minister. Proctor, however, believes that his heart and what he believes should be the final authority that everyone should follow.
Describe Giles Corey both physically and personally. Giles Corey is 83 but still very powerful. He seems very interested in the aspect of witchcraft; when speaking to Rev. Hale, he even acknowledges that his own wife might be a witch.
What is Rebecca’s solution to Betty’s and Ruth’s ailments, and why does this solution anger Ann Putnam? Rebecca claims that the children are just being children and they will soon wake up and come out of what they have done when they become tired. This solution angers Ann Putnam because Ruth is her only child since she’s had 7 miscarriages. Therefore, she takes Rebecca’s statement as an insult.
What is Reverend Hale’s motivation? Reverend Hale’s motivation is the pride which he gets from being a specialist. He really enjoys running errands like this, speculating about witchcraft. He is hoping that witchcraft is present so that he may be there in order to put a stop to it since he likes doing it so much.
In terms of indirect characterization, why is it significant that Hale recognizes one of the characters by reputation? It is significant that Hale recognizes Rebecca Nurse because he lives quite a bit away from Salem, so it would be very difficult to learn about the people in Salem. However, Hale says that Rebecca’s good soul precedes her and shows how her reputation is based on goodness and truthfulness.
What effect does Miller create by lowering the curtain for this act during the girls’ cries of witchcraft? Arthur Miller creates the idea that all of these people are suspects in this witch hunt by lowering the curtain for this act during the girls’ cries of witchcraft. He creates the idea of all of the people in Salem going to look for these people and find them in order to condemn for witchcraft.
What motivates Abby and Betty to begin denouncing everyone? Abby and Betty begin denouncing everyone because they don’t want to be condemned themselves. Abby begins the cries, and Betty soon follows in Abby’s footsteps.

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