The Crucible

The Crucible by Arthur Miller


This page will hold countless resources that we will reference as we discuss Arthur Miller’s 1953 play, The Crucible.

Handouts/ Resources:


Background Information

Take notes in your journals as we discuss the following articles.

Which text showed a more comprehensive view of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts? Explain your answer with evidence from both texts (i.e.- the article & the video).

  • Vocabulary of Note:
    • overture=
      • Classical music= overture is played before the beginning of musical or opera. It introduces the musical themes. “Opening”
      • More general meaning= the first part or beginning of something
  • Take-aways:
    • The overture or exposition includes information we don’t get at the beginning of the play:
      • setting
      • historical context
      • playwright’s perspective on his subject
    • Miller provides historical background in the overture that compares Salem to two other, earlier colonies. Which ones?
    • What inferences can you make about Parris based on the stage directions?
    • Direct characterization vs. Indirect characterization
      • Direct= specific details about a character are stated directly
        • i.e.- stage directions
      • Indirect= readers have to infer what a character is like based on clues in the text.
        • i.e.- characters’ dialogue
        • i.e.- characters’ actions
  • Consider the following as we read:
    • How are the themes of the play relevant to contemporary American audiences?
    • How and why might the play appeal to readers and theater-goers on a global scale?


Act One:

Who is Erasmus?

Were you confused by Miller’s allusion to Erasmus (34). Check out this riveting discussion of Desiderius Erasmus’ life and works.


Harkness Discussion Act One (September 2, 2016)



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