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The Crucible - Secondary Solutions

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The В Crucible В Literature Guide Developed by Kristen Bowers
for Secondary SolutionsВ®
ISBN 0-9772295-2-1
В© 2006 Secondary Solutions. All rights reserved.
A classroom teacher who has purchased this guide may photocopy the materials in this publication for his/her
classroom use only. Use or reproduction by a part of or an entire school or school system, by for-profit tutoring
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Table of Contents
The Crucible
About This Literature Guide ..................................................................................................................... 4
How to Use Our Literature Guides ........................................................................................................... 5
Standards Focus: Author Biography—Arthur Miller (1915-2005) ....................................................... 6
Standards Focus: Exploring Expository Writing—Arthur Miller Biography ................................... 7
Prior Knowledge Assessment Activity .................................................................................................... 8
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Part One: What Do You Know? .............................................................................................................................. 8
Part Two: What Does the Class Know? ................................................................................................................. 9
Standards Focus: Elements of Drama ..................................................................................................... 10
Literary Terms to Know ......................................................................................................................................... 10
Terminology to Know ............................................................................................................................... 11
Vocabulary List ........................................................................................................................................... 12
Exploring Expository Writing: Notes on the Historical Accuracy of The Crucible ........................ 13
Exploring Expository Writing: Notes on The New England Primer .................................................. 14
Historical Context: The Salem Witch-Hunt—Chronology of Events............................................... 15
Historical Context: Witchcraft in Puritan New England .................................................................... 16
Exploring Expository Writing/Historical Context: Puritan Religion and Beliefs .......................... 17
Historical Context: The Red Scare and McCarthy Trials.................................................................... 18
Standards Focus: Note-Taking and Summarizing ............................................................................... 19
Act One ......................................................................................................................................................... 20
Standards Focus: Note-Taking and Summarizing ............................................................................................. 20
Standards Focus: Characterization ....................................................................................................................... 21
Standards Focus: Character Relationships .......................................................................................................... 23
Assessment Preparation: Word Parts................................................................................................................... 24
Comprehension Check ........................................................................................................................................... 26
Act Two ........................................................................................................................................................ 27
Standards Focus: Note-taking and Summarizing .............................................................................................. 27
Standards Focus: Types of Conflict ...................................................................................................................... 28
Assessment Preparation: Vocabulary in Context ............................................................................................... 30
Comprehension Check ........................................................................................................................................... 32
Act Three ...................................................................................................................................................... 33
Standards Focus: Note-taking and Summarizing .............................................................................................. 33
Standards Focus: Irony ........................................................................................................................................... 34
Assessment Preparation: Word Roots ................................................................................................................. 35
Comprehension Check ........................................................................................................................................... 36
Act Four ........................................................................................................................................................ 37
Standards Focus: Note-taking and Summarizing .............................................................................................. 37
Standards Focus: Tragedy and the Tragic Hero ................................................................................................. 38
Assessment Preparation: Connotation/Denotation .......................................................................................... 39
Comprehension Check ........................................................................................................................................... 41
Act One Quiz ............................................................................................................................................... 42
Act One Vocabulary Quiz......................................................................................................................... 43
Act Two Quiz .............................................................................................................................................. 44
Act Two Vocabulary Quiz ........................................................................................................................ 45
Act Three Quiz ............................................................................................................................................ 46
Act Three Vocabulary Quiz ...................................................................................................................... 47
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Act Four Quiz .............................................................................................................................................. 48
Act Four Vocabulary Quiz ........................................................................................................................ 49
Final Exam ................................................................................................................................................... 50
Final Exam—Multiple Choice Version .................................................................................................. 54
Teacher Guide ............................................................................................................................................. 57
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Summary of the Play .............................................................................................................................................. 57
Vocabulary List with Definitions .......................................................................................................................... 59
Post-Reading Extension Activities and Alternative Assessment ..................................................................... 60
Essay and Writing Ideas ........................................................................................................................................ 61
Pre-Reading Ideas and Activities ......................................................................................................................... 62
Project Rubric........................................................................................................................................................... 63
Response to Literature Rubric ............................................................................................................................... 64
Answer Key ............................................................................................................................................................. 66
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The Crucible Literature Guide
About This Literature Guide
Secondary SolutionsВ® is the endeavor of a high school English teacher who could not seem to find
appropriate materials to help her students master the necessary concepts at the secondary level. She grew
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Before the innovation of Secondary SolutionsВ®, materials that could be purchased offered a reproducible
student workbook and a separate set of teacher materials at an additional cost. Other units provided the
teacher with student materials only, and very often, the content standards were ignored. Secondary
SolutionsВ® provides all the necessary materials for complete coverage of the literature units of study,
including author biographies, pre-reading activities, numerous and varied vocabulary and comprehension
activities, study-guide questions, graphic organizers, literary analysis and critical thinking activities,
essay-writing ideas, extension activities, quizzes, unit tests, alternative assessment, online teacher
assistance, and much, much more. Each guide is designed to address the unique learning styles and
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grade level of the learner, and include extensive coverage of the content standards. As an added bonus, all
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As a busy teacher, you don’t have time to waste reinventing the wheel. You want to get down to the
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Act One
Comprehension Check
As you read The Crucible, use the Note-Taking techniques described on page 19. To give you a complete and
comprehensive method of reading and understanding all aspects of the play, answer the following questions for Act
One. Write your answers in complete sentences.
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1. What is wrong with Betty Parris?
2. How does Tituba react to Betty’s condition?
3. What news does Susanna bring from the doctor?
4. What rumor is circulating about Betty?
5. How does Abigail initially defend the girls’ behavior in the woods?
6. Why is Reverend Parris so worried about his reputation?
7. What did Parris see in the woods?
8. What does Abigail claim is the reason she was discharged from the Proctor household?
9. In what condition is Ruth Putnam?
10. Briefly describe Thomas Putnam.
11. Why did Mrs. Putnam enlist Tituba’s help?
12. Why did Abigail drink blood?
13. How does Abigail threaten the other girls?
14. Briefly describe John Proctor.
15. What happens when John and Abigail are left alone?
16. What does Rebecca Nurse say about Betty and Ruth’s sickness?
17. Why is Reverend Parris dissatisfied with his job in Salem?
18. About what are Proctor and Putnam fighting?
19. Describe Reverend Hale. For what reason has he been called to Salem?
20. What is Giles Corey’s complaint about his wife?
21. Why does Tituba finally “confess”? What do you think of her actions? What do you think will
happen as a result?
22. Why do you think the girls begin their accusations when they could have just let Tituba take the
blame for everything?
23. What does the girls’ behavior tell you about the youth of Salem?
В©2006 Secondary Solutions
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Act Two
Standards Focus: Note-taking and Summarizing
Directions: Refer to the chart on page 19, “Note-Taking and Summarizing.” Use it to complete the following chart as
you read Act Two of the play.
Question
Predict
Connect
Summarize
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Reflect
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Act Two
Standards Focus: Types of Conflict
Conflict is a literary term indicating the struggle between two or more opposing forces. If conflict is
written well, it can create a feeling of suspense, tension, and intrigue. There are several types of conflict:
1) man versus man—struggle between two or more characters
2) man versus himself—struggle between a character and his conscience, morals, or physical
limitations
3) man versus nature—struggle between a character and a force of nature such as weather or
the environment
4) man versus society—struggle between a character and the rules, beliefs, or pressures of a
society or community
5) man versus fate—struggle between a character and the “forces” of the universe, such as God,
destiny, or chance happenings
In addition, conflict can be divided into external or internal conflicts. External conflicts are man versus
man, man versus nature, man versus society, and man versus fate. The internal conflict is man versus
himself.
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Directions: For each of the following quotes from Acts One and Two, decide who or what is involved in the conflict,
and which type of conflict is being represented (see 1-5 above). Then decide whether this conflict is a main or
subordinate conflict in the play. An example has been done for you.
Ex. Parris urges Abigail to tell him the truth about what happens in the woods: “It must come out—my
enemies will bring it out. Let me know what you done there. Abigail, do you understand that I have
many enemies?”
Opposing forces:
Type of conflict:
Parris versus certain members of the community
man versus society
Main or subordinate?:
subordinate
1. Abigail defends her name in the town: “She hates me, uncle, she must, for I would not be her slave.
It’s a bitter woman, a lying, cold, sniveling woman, and I will not work for such a woman!”
Opposing forces:
Type of conflict:
Main or subordinate?:
2. John Proctor rejects Abigail: “Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off
my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind. We never touched, Abby.”
Opposing forces:
Type of conflict:
Main or subordinate?:
Act Two
В©2006 Secondary Solutions
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Standards Focus: Types of Conflict
3. Giles comments on recent events: “Wherefore is everybody suing everybody else? Think on it now,
it’s a deep thing, and dark as a pit. I have been six time in court this year—“
Opposing forces:
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Type of conflict:
Main or subordinate?:
4. Parris and Putnam threaten to whip and hang Tituba, and she begs for her life: “No, no, don’t hang
Tituba! I tell him I don’t desire to work for him, sir.”
Opposing forces:
Type of conflict:
Main or subordinate?:
5. Proctor attempts to convince his wife: “Woman. I’ll not have your suspicion any more... I’ll not
have it!”
Opposing forces:
Type of conflict:
Main or subordinate?:
6. Proctor is plagued by guilt: “But I wilted, and, like a Christian, I confessed. Confessed! Some
dream I had must have mistaken you for God that day. But you’re not, you’re not, and let you
remember it! Let you look sometimes for the goodness in me, and judge me not.”
Opposing forces:
Type of conflict:
Main or subordinate?:
7. Hale questions Proctor: “I thought, sir, to put some questions as to the Christian character of this
house, if you’ll permit me.”
Opposing forces:
Type of conflict:
Main or subordinate?:
8. Elizabeth learns of Abigail’s charge: “Abigail were stabbed tonight; a needle were found stuck into
her belly—“
Opposing forces:
Type of conflict:
Main or subordinate?:
В©2006 Secondary Solutions
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Act Two
Assessment Preparation: Vocabulary in Context
Directions: Look up the definitions for each of the following vocabulary words. Then write a sentence using the
vocabulary word, showing that you understand the word’s meaning. Finally, answer the question that follows using
complete sentences and as much detail as possible.
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1. ameliorate
a. Definition:
b. Sentence:
c. Name three aspects of your life that you would like to ameliorate.
2. avid
a. Definition:
b. Sentence:
c. If someone was described as an avid sports fan, in what activities might he/she be involved?
3. blasphemy
a. Definition:
b. Sentence:
c. What kind of behavior might be considered blasphemous?
4. crone
a. Definition:
b. Sentence:
c. What kinds of questions or comments might a woman consider crones against her?
5. flailing
a. Definition:
b. Sentence:
c. If you saw a person running out of a building flailing his arms, what might you guess was
happening?
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The Crucible Literature Guide
6. indignant
a. Definition:
b. Sentence:
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c. Describe a situation in which you were indignant about something.
7. pallor
a. Definition:
b. Sentence:
What might cause a horrible pallor on someone’s face?
8. poppet
a. Definition:
b. Sentence:
Give details of what you think a poppet from the 1700’s might look like.
9. vengeance
a. Definition:
b. Sentence:
Describe a time when you wanted vengeance for something.
10. wily
a. Definition:
b. Sentence:
What kind of animal or person could be described as wily?
В©2006 Secondary Solutions
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Act Two
Comprehension Check
As you read The Crucible, use the Note-Taking techniques described on page 19. To give you a complete and
comprehensive method of reading and understanding all aspects of the play, answer the following questions for Act
Two. Write your answers using complete sentences.
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1. What is the mood at the beginning of Act Two? Why?
2. What do we learn about John and Elizabeth’s relationship at the beginning of the act?
3. What does Mary give Elizabeth?
4. What news does Mary Warren bring from court?
5. What does Elizabeth mean when she says: “Oh, the noose, the noose is up!”
6. What does Elizabeth want John to do in town? What will everyone find out if he does this?
7. Why has Reverend Hale come to the Proctor house?
8. To what is John referring when he says: “…it tells me that a minister may pray to God without he
have golden candlesticks upon the altar.”
9. What does Hale ask John to do? What happens?
10. What is ironic about this omission?
11. What news do Giles Corey and Frances Nurse tell John Proctor?
12. On what basis are they accused?
13. What is the significance of the poppet? How does this serve as “proof” for Elizabeth’s accusation?
14. What does John mean when he says “I’ll tell you what’s walking in Salem—vengeance is walking
in Salem”?
В©2006 Secondary Solutions
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Act Three
Standards Focus: Note-taking and Summarizing
Directions: Refer to the chart on page 19, “Note-Taking and Summarizing.” Use it to complete the following chart as
you read Act Three of the play.
Question
Predict
Connect
Summarize
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Reflect
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Act Three
Standards Focus: Irony
One of the most powerful elements of The Crucible is Miller’s use of irony. There are several examples of
irony in Act Three of The Crucible.
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Irony is an inconsistency between appearance and reality. There are several types of irony:
• Verbal irony is when a speaker or writer says one thing but actually means the opposite. For
example, when your mom walks into your filthy bedroom and says, “I see you’ve cleaned your
room!” Sarcasm is one type of verbal irony.
• Situational irony is when the outcome of a situation is inconsistent with what we expect would
logically or normally occur. An example of situational irony would be if a thief’s house was
broken into at the same time he was robbing someone’s house.
• Dramatic irony is when the audience or the reader is aware of something that a character does not
know. For example, when Romeo believes Juliet is dead, but the audience knows that she has only
been given a potion to sleep.
Directions: Answer the following questions using complete sentences.
1. What was John’s intention in publicly admitting his affair with Abigail? How is this ironic? What
type of irony is this?
2. What was Elizabeth’s intention when lying about John’s affair? What is ironic about Elizabeth’s
lie? What type of irony is this?
3. What is ironic about the beliefs of the Puritan community and the events of the play so far?
В©2006 Secondary Solutions
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Act Three Vocabulary Quiz
Directions: Match the following vocabulary words with the correct definition. Write the letter of the correct
definition on the line provided.
1. _______ abundant
a.
a hand tool used to make holes
2. _______ auger
b.
a person who brings a lawsuit against another
3. _______ deposition
c.
a room in a church where sacred objects are kept
4. _______ effrontery
d.
a way of walking; strutting
5. _______ gait
e.
a witness’s testimony given under oath
6. _______ imperceptible
f.
an excess amount
7. _______ incredulously
g.
cannot be perceived; tiny or insignificant
8. _______ plaintiff
h.
extreme anger; God’s punishment for sin
9. _______ vestry
i.
shameless or arrogant behavior
10. ______
j.
unbelievably
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wrath
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Act Four Quiz
Directions: Using the word list, complete the sentences so that they make sense and accurately tell the story in Act
Four. Note—words will only be used once, and you will not use every word.
Abigail
dagger
horses
name
pressed
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Barbados
deposition
hanged
pardoned
Rebecca
church
Elizabeth
jail
Parris
Sarah Good
confession
Giles
John
postponed
shovel
1. In the beginning of Act Four,
devil to take them to
2. Reverend
confess.
and
4.
were waiting for the
visited the condemned to
with them and to get them to
that
and
were wandering
stole Parris’s money and ran away.
5. Parris suggested to Danforth that the hangings should be
6.
house.
7.
cows
Hell
Mercy Lewis
pregnant
wife
.
3. There were so many people put in
the highroads.
courthouse
Hale
Mary Warren
pray
Tituba
saw a
on the ground when he opened the door to leave his
�s life was spared because she was
8. Hale begged Elizabeth to visit
in order to get a
9. Elizabeth told John that
10. John was eventually
В©2006 Secondary Solutions
for fear of riots.
.
.
was pressed to death.
because he would not let them “take” his
- 48 -
.
The Crucible Literature Guide
Act Four Vocabulary Quiz
Directions: Match the following vocabulary words with the correct definition. Write the letter of the correct
definition on the line provided.
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1. _______
agape
a. a formal accusation before a jury
2. _______
beguile
b. excessively thin or withered
3. _______
cleave
c. to cling to faithfully
4. _______
disputation
d. to charm or deceive
5. _______
excommunication
e. a hanging post; gallows
6. _______
gaunt
f.
7. _______
gibbet
g. mouth open in a state of amazement or wonder
8. _______
indictment
h. exclusion from a church or group
9. _______
reprieve
i.
a verbal disagreement; argument
10. _______
sibilance
j.
a hissing sound
В©2006 Secondary Solutions
stop or postpone; delay punishment
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The Crucible Literature Guide
The Crucible
Final Exam
Part A: Matching
Directions: Match the characters with the correct description, characteristic, or quote. Write the letter on the line
provided.
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1.
_____ Tituba
a. gave a poppet to Elizabeth
2.
_____ Reverend Parris
b. stole Parris’s money and ran away with Abigail
3.
_____ Abigail Williams
c. worried about his reputation and his enemies
4.
_____ Thomas Putnam
d. “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!”
5.
_____ Mercy Lewis
e. lost seven children during childbirth
6.
_____ Mary Warren
f. “Gah! I’d almost forgotten how strong you are, John Proctor!”
7.
_____ Betty Parris
g. would not postpone the executions for fear of appearing weak
8.
_____ John Proctor
h. “I’ve had no breakfast.”
9.
_____ Rebecca Nurse
i. a bitter and vengeful man who sparked many of the accusations
10. _____ Reverend Hale
j. was pressed to death
11. _____ Ann Putnam
k. “I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”
12. _____ Giles Corey
l. “Oh, how many times he bid me kill you, Mr. Parris!”
13. _____ Elizabeth Proctor
m. “I’ll fly to Mama. Let me fly!”
14. _____ Danforth
n. “Can you not see the blood on my head?”
15. _____ Frances Nurse
o. husband of woman convicted of killing babies
Part B: Multiple Choice
Directions: Write the letter of the best choice on the line provided.
_______ 16. What did Parris see in the woods?
a. Betty Parris drinking blood.
b. Abigail drinking blood.
c. Mercy Lewis dancing naked.
d. Abigail dancing naked.
_______ 17. What happened to Abigail’s parents?
a. They were hung for practicing witchcraft.
b. They were murdered by Indians.
c. They abandoned Abigail.
d. They were killed in a boating accident.
_______ 18. What do the people of Salem often argue about?
a. land ownership
b. the laws of the church
c. the government
d. the right way to raise children
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The Crucible Literature Guide
_______ 19. Who did Mary say sent her spirit out to choke her in court?
a. Elizabeth Proctor
b. Rebecca Nurse
c. Martha Corey
d. Ann Putnam
_______ 20. Whose faith was questioned because he plowed on Sunday?:
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a. Parris
b. Giles Corey
c. John Proctor
d. Thomas Putnam
_______ 21. John Proctor insisted that Elizabeth:
a. never went to church
b. was not baptized
c. read strange books
d. never lied
_______ 22. To prove she was telling the truth, Mary Warren was asked to:
a. show her “devil’s mark”
b. make a poppet
c. take the witness stand
d. pretend to faint
_______ 23. In the beginning of Act Four, Tituba and Sarah Good:
a. have gone insane
b. are waiting for the Devil
c. think they are going to Barbados
d. all of the above
_______ 24. Parris wanted to postpone the hangings because:
a. he was trying to save Rebecca Nurse
b. he was afraid of riots and retribution
c. he wanted everyone to confess
d. he wanted to re-try John Proctor
_______ 25. Elizabeth was not hanged because:
a. she confessed
b. she was found “not guilty”
b. she was pregnant
d. she was pressed to death
Part C: True/False
Directions: Write “True” if the statement is true, “False” if the statement is false. Be sure to write out the word true
or false so there is no confusion about your answer.
__________ 26. John Proctor took back his confession because he wanted to save his reputation.
__________ 27. The protagonist of the play is Reverend Hale.
__________ 28. The Crucible is considered a tragedy according to Aristotle’s definition.
__________ 29. The Crucible was written as a parallel to Hitler’s hunt for Jews during the Holocaust.
__________ 30. Abigail Williams is Elizabeth Proctor’s character foil.
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Part D: Vocabulary Matching
Directions: Match the following vocabulary words with its correct definition. Write the letter of the correct definition
on the line provided.
_______ 31. conjured
a. argument or disagreement
_______ 32. contention
b. purposely evil or malicious
_______ 33. deference
c. a sign
_______ 34. innate
d. a quality or characteristic you are born with
_______ 35. licentious
e. invoked unnatural or supernatural forces
_______ 36. manifestation
f. hitting or swinging violently
_______ 37. paradox
g. eager for; dedicated to
_______ 38. vindictive
h. respect towards another’s opinion or interests
_______ 39. flailing
i. a contradiction
_______ 40. avid
j. sexually immoral; lacking moral or ethical restraint
_______ 41. vengeance
a. a room for sacred objects
_______ 42. wily
b. cannot be perceived; tiny or insignificant
_______ 43. abundant
c. revenge; punishment in return for a wrongdoing
_______ 44. deposition
d. a person who brings a lawsuit against another
_______ 45. imperceptible
e. deceptively clever
_______ 46. incredulously
f. to charm or deceive
_______ 47. plaintiff
g. excessively thin or withered
_______ 48. vestry
h. an excess amount
_______ 49. beguile
i. a formal accusation
_______ 50. gaunt
j. unbelievably
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Part E: Short Response
Directions: Answer the following questions using complete sentences. Be sure to include as many details and examples
from the text as possible.
51.
Why do you think students across the United States read The Crucible? What is Arthur Miller’s
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lesson(s) or message within the play?
52. What do you think teenagers can learn from Miller’s message? Explain how this text and its themes
relate to the social issues and politics of today. Be sure your response relates and connects the era in which
the author wrote to your life and the current issues affecting your life today.
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The Crucible Literature Guide
The Crucible
Final Exam—Multiple Choice Version
Directions: On your answer sheet, fill in the bubble of the correct response.
1. Gave a poppet to Elizabeth:
a. Abigail
d. Betty
b. Mercy
e. none of these choices
c. Mary
2. Stole Parris’s money and ran away:
a. Abigail
d. Martha
b. Betty
e. none of these choices
c. Mary
3. Worried more about his reputation than his daughter’s affliction:
a. Parris
d. Danforth
b. Hale
e. none of these choices
c. Proctor
4. Said: “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!”
a. Parris
d. Danforth
b. Hale
e. none of these choices
c. Elizabeth
5. Lost seven children during childbirth:
a. Ann Putnam
d. Martha Corey
b. Rebecca Nurse
e. none of these choices
c. Mercy Lewis
6. Said: “Gah! I’d almost forgotten how strong you are, John Proctor!”
a. Ann Putnam
d. Martha Corey
b. Elizabeth Proctor
e. none of these choices
c. Mercy Lewis
7. Would not postpone the executions for fear of appearing weak:
a. Reverend Hale
d. John Putnam
b. Danforth
e. none of these choices
c. Giles Corey
8. Said: “I’ve had no breakfast.”
a. Martha Corey
d. John Proctor
b. Rebecca Nurse
e. none of these choices
c. Ann Putnam
9. A bitter and vengeful man who sparks many of the accusations:
a. Reverend Hale
d. Hathorne
b. Danforth
e. none of these choices
c. Thomas Putnam
10. Said: “I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”
a. Giles Corey
d. John Proctor
b. Frances Nurse
e. none of these choices
c. Hathorne
11. What did Parris see in the woods?
a. Betty Parris drinking blood.
d. Abigail dancing naked.
b. Abigail drinking blood.
e. none of these choices
c. Mercy Lewis dancing naked.
12. What happened to Abigail’s parents?
a. They were hung for practicing witchcraft.
d. They were killed in a boating accident.
b. They were murdered by Indians.
e. none of these choices
c. Abigail murdered them
13. What do the people of Salem often argue about?
a. land ownership
b. the laws of the church
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The Crucible Literature Guide
c. the government
e. none of these choices
d. the right way to raise children
14. Who did Mary say sent her spirit out to choke her in court?
a. Elizabeth Proctor
d. Ann Putnam
b. Rebecca Nurse
e. none of these choices
c. Martha Corey
17. John Proctor’s faith was questioned because he:
a. was a Quaker
d. didn’t get married in a church
b. stole land from Giles Corey
e. none of these choices
c. stole money from the Putnams
18. John Proctor said that his wife Elizabeth:
a. never went to church
d. never lied
b. was not baptized
e. none of these choices
c. read strange books
17. To prove she was telling the truth, Mary Warren was asked to:
a. show her “devil’s mark”
d. pretend to faint
b. make a poppet
e. none of these choices
c. take the witness stand
18. In the beginning of Act Four, Tituba and Sarah Good:
a. have gone insane
d. all of the above
b. are waiting for the Devil
e. none of these choices
c. think they are going to Barbados
19. Parris wanted to postpone the hangings because:
a. he was trying to save Rebecca Nurse
d. he wanted to re-try John Proctor
b. he was afraid of riots and retribution
e. none of these choices
c. he wanted everyone to confess
20. Elizabeth was not hanged because:
a. she confessed
d. she had already been pressed to death
b. she was found “not guilty”
e. none of these choices
c. she was pregnant
21. Everyone who was convicted of witchcraft:
a. was hanged
d. was a female
b. was pressed
e. none of these choices
c. confessed
22. The Crucible is a parallel of the Salem witch hunt and the:
a. Communist hunt and Red Scare
d. American Revolution
b. Andover witch trials
e. none of these choices
c. French Revolution
23. The Crucible is a tragedy according to the definition of:
a. Socrates
d. Homer
b. Plato
e. none of these choices
c. Aristotle
24. The tragic hero of the play is:
a. John Proctor
d. Aristotle
b. Reverend Hale
e. none of these choices
c. Reverend Parris
25. The Crucible is:
a. an exact re-creation of true events
d. based upon true events
b. completely fiction
e. none of these choices
c. a fable
Directions: Choose the letter of the correct vocabulary word according to the definition given.
26. argument or disagreement
a. abomination
c. avid
b. contention
d. vindictive
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The Crucible Literature Guide
27. purposely evil or malicious
a. paradox
b. deference
28. a sign
a. innate
b. licentious
29. a quality or characteristic you are born with
a. prodigious
b. innate
30. invoked unnatural or supernatural forces
a. conjured
b. contention
31. hitting or swinging violently
a. flailing
b. vengeance
32. a room for sacred objects
a. vestry
b. deposition
33. cannot be perceived; tiny or insignificant
a. incredulously
b. imperceptible
34. revenge; punishment in return for a wrongdoing
a. beguile
b. deposition
35. a person who brings a lawsuit against another
a. ameliorate
b. plaintiff
36. excessively thin or withered
a. beguile
b. wrath
37. to charm or deceive
a. indictment
b. reprieve
38. deceptively clever
a. wily
b. vengeance
39. unbelievably
a. paradox
b. wrath
40. to improve or make better
a. ameliorate
b. agape
c. vindictive
d. conjured
c. auger
d. manifestation
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c. avid
d. paradox
c. blasphemy
d. ameliorate
c. indignant
d. effrontery
c. abomination
d. wily
c. plaintiff
d. vestry
c. gaunt
d. vengeance
c. gaunt
d. contention
c. crone
d. gaunt
c. beguile
d. excommunication
c. deposition
d. effrontery
c. agape
d. incredulously
c. beguile
d. wrath
The Crucible Literature Guide
Teacher Guide
Summary of the Play
Arthur Miller's play The Crucible (1953) is an allegory for the Red Scare and Communist “witch-hunt” of the 1950s.
He derives a parallel of the events of the Salem witch-hunt of 1692 to the events in America in the 1950s, using these
historical events to attack and criticize these dark moments in our history when hysteria and fear prevailed over
reason and proof. Both events focused on exposing those who were seen as a threat to the society’s beliefs, and both
events caused irreparable damage to those involved. In the case of the Salem Witch Trials, 19 people were executed,
and many others died in jail while awaiting trial. Those who were found guilty in the McCarthy Trials were
blacklisted and suffered immeasurable damage to their reputations and careers.
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Act One
The play is set in Salem, Massachusetts in the spring of 1692, and begins in a small bedroom of the home of Reverend
Samuel Parris, who sits beside the bed of his daughter, Betty, a ten year old girl who is sick from unknown causes.
Abigail Williams, Reverend Parris’s niece, has brought Susanna Walcott to see Reverend Parris and Betty. Susanna
tells Parris that the doctor can find no natural causes for Betty’s sickness, and that they must look to “unnatural”
causes for the affliction. Parris tells Abigail that he saw the girls dancing in the woods, and orders Abigail to confess
to what the girls were doing, and to tell him the truth; Abigail tells Parris that the girls were merely dancing in the
woods. Parris explains to Abigail that he has a reputation to uphold in the town, and that he has many enemies who
would like to see him fall. Parris also asks Abigail why she was really fired from the Proctor household, and Abigail
claims that she would not let Elizabeth Proctor treat her like a slave.
Thomas and Ann Putnam and their servant girl, Mercy Lewis then come to see Betty, and the Putnams tell Parris that
their daughter Ruth is also ill. The Putnams are convinced it is the work of witchcraft. Abigail tells Mercy that Parris
saw Mercy running naked in the forest. Mary Warren, another one of the girls in the forest, comes to see Betty, and
Betty wakes up, clearly disturbed. They realize that all of them are in danger, and decide to get their stories straight
before they get into more trouble. Abigail threatens them all, saying that she will kill them if they ever tell what really
happened in the woods.
John Proctor enters, and all the girls except Abigail leave. It is now that we really learn about their relationship, and
the fact that Abigail still lusts after John. Abigail tells John that the incident in the woods had nothing to do with
witchcraft, and that they were just innocently playing. As they discuss the incidents, the townspeople gather to pray
and sing hymns for Betty. Giles Corey and Rebecca Nurse enter, and Rebecca insists the girls are fine, and their
illness has nothing to do with any witchcraft.
The Reverend John Hale, a supposed expert on detecting witchcraft, arrives in Salem. As Hale conducts his
investigation, Parris tells Hale that the girls were dancing in the woods, and Mrs. Putnam insists that the loss of her
seven children at childbirth was the result of witchcraft. Giles Corey tells Hale that his wife has been reading strange
books, and that when she reads, he has been unable to pray. As the interrogation into the matter continues, finally
Abigail begins to point the finger, afraid of the wrath she herself might receive. She tells Hale that Tituba, Parris’s
slave from Barbados made the girls conjure spirits and drink blood. After being threatened with death, Tituba admits
that she has spoken to the devil, and that he gave her orders to kill Parris; she also says that Sarah Good and Sarah
Osburn also worked with the devil. This opens a floodgate, and the girls begin to name the names of those who were
“with the devil.”
Act Two
Act Two begins eight days later, in the Proctor house. This is the first glimpse into the relationship between Elizabeth
and John Proctor, and we can tell that the relationship is rocky, and has been for a while now. Mary Warren, the
Proctor’s servant girl and recent official of the court enters, and gives Elizabeth a poppet that she made in court. Mary
tells them that thirty-nine people have been arrested; Goody Osburn is set to hang, Sarah Good confessed and has
been spared. Mary also claims that she saved Elizabeth's life—Elizabeth has been accused. John and Elizabeth realize
that Abigail wants Elizabeth dead, and Elizabeth pleads with John to go to Abigail and set everything straight
between them.
Mr. Hale arrives at the house and tells them that Elizabeth's name was mentioned in court and Rebecca Nurse was
charged with killing Ann Putnam’s babies. Hale questions Proctor on his faith, and demands that John repeat the Ten
Commandments. He begins to recite them, but ironically cannot remember “Thou shalt not commit adultery” until
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Elizabeth tells him. Proctor tells Hale that Parris found the girls dancing in the woods, and that their antics had
nothing to do with witchcraft.
Giles Corey and Francis Nurse enter, and announce that their wives were taken away. Ezekiel Cheever arrives to
charge Elizabeth, asking Elizabeth if she has any poppets in the house. Cheever notices the poppet that Mary gave
Elizabeth just minutes earlier, and upon examination, finds a needle in its stomach. Elizabeth denies any
wrongdoing, and explains that Mary gave her the poppet. Mary is called in to corroborate her story. Cheever
explains that a needle was found stabbed into Abigail’s belly just that evening, and the needle in the poppet is all the
proof they need to arrest Elizabeth for witchcraft. Proctor rips up the warrant for her arrest, and vows to fight for his
wife. He demands that Mary go to court and testify in Elizabeth’s favor. Afraid again of the wrath of Abigail, Mary
Warren cowers, sobbing that she cannot stand up to Abigail.
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Act Three
Act Three begins in the Salem meeting house, and Martha Corey, Giles Corey’s wife, is being questioned. Giles Corey
and Frances Nurse arrive, claiming that they have proof of the girls’ lies. Proctor and Mary Warren enter, and after
much prodding, Proctor makes Mary admit that everything was pretense. Deputy Governor Danforth tells Proctor
that his wife is pregnant. John was not aware of this, but says that if Elizabeth says so, it is the truth, since she will
never lie.
Proctor submits a deposition to Danforth signed by ninety-one citizens testifying to the character of Elizabeth,
Martha, and Rebecca. Parris suggests that everyone on the list be summoned “for questioning.” The dispute about
land comes up again as George Jacobs is accused. Giles insists on good authority that this is all a scheme headed by
Putnam to gain land from Jacobs. When questioned about his source of information, Giles refuses to divulge any
information. For this, he is arrested in contempt of court.
Mary Warren insists that the girls were lying; Abigail and the other girls enter the court and deny everything. The
court orders Mary to pretend to faint as she had once before, in order to prove that she is telling the truth. Mary
cannot do it. As Abigail is questioned, she pretends to feel a sharp, freezing wind on her. The other girls play along.
When Proctor recognizes what Abigail is up to, he tries to stop her by calling her a whore and admitting that they had
relations. The court doesn’t know whether to believe Proctor or not, so they bring in Elizabeth (who, according to
John, has never lied, and will not lie) to corroborate his story. In the attempt to save her husbands life, she denies the
affair. This backfires, and John’s reputation is further damaged.
Abigail then claims to see a yellow bird in the court, and claims that Mary Warren has sent out her spirits to harm
them. The girls again join in the charade. After the girls do not stop, Mary caves in and accuses John of working for
the Devil. All mayhem breaks out, as John denounces God and is arrested, and Reverend Hale quits the court.
Act Four
Act Four begins months later, in a Salem jail cell. Tituba and Sarah Good are in the jail, and have clearly gone insane,
insisting the Devil is coming to take them to Barbados. Parris arrives and tells Danforth that Abigail and Mercy Lewis
have taken all of his money and run away. He also tells Danforth about the riots in Andover, and asks Danforth to
postpone the hearings; Danforth refuses. Reverend Hale has been visiting the prisoners, hoping they will confess and
be saved. So far, no one will confess. Hale is concerned about John Proctor, and asks Elizabeth to convince him.
Elizabeth visits Proctor, who tells her that he is thinking of confessing, and asks her what she thinks about it. She is
deliberately evasive, telling him that it is his choice, and she will not judge him either way. Elizabeth tells John that
Giles Corey was pressed to death for refusing to name names. Proctor then tells Hathorne that he is guilty, but
Danforth insists that he must sign his confession so that it can be posted for all to read. John is also asked to name
others who consort with the Devil; John refuses. After much hesitation, John signs, but then immediately tears it up,
claiming that he must still have his “name.” Danforth orders Proctor to be hanged, and the act ends with John and
Rebecca walking to their death. The last line is Elizabeth’s, stating “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it
from him!”
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Vocabulary List with Definitions
Act One
1. abomination- an object of disgust, shame or dislike
2. conjured- invoked unnatural or supernatural forces
3. contention- disagreement; a claim made in debate
4. deference- respect towards another’s opinion or interests
5. innate- a quality or characteristic you are born with; something integral or important
6. licentious- sexually immoral; lacking moral or ethical restraint
7. manifestation- a sign; an indication of the existence of something
8. paradox- a statement or situation which is contradictory
9. prodigious-impressive in size or amount
10. vindictive- purposely hurtful or hateful
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Act Two
1. ameliorate- to improve or make better
2. avid- eager for; dedicated to
3. blasphemy- disrespect for God or other sacred things
4. crone- a derogatory term referring to a woman’s age or appearance
5. flailing- hitting or swinging violently
6. indignant- annoyance or anger over an unfairness towards someone or something
7. pallor- paleness in complexion
8. poppet- a ragdoll
9. vengeance- punishment in return for a wrongdoing
10. wily- clever; deceitful
Act Three
1. abundant- an excess amount
2. auger- a hand tool used to make holes
3. deposition- a witness’s testimony given under oath
4. effrontery- shameless or arrogant behavior
5. gait- a way of walking, trotting like a horse
6. imperceptible- unable to be perceived; tiny or insignificant
7. incredulously- unbelievably
8. plaintiff- a person who brings a lawsuit against another
9. vestry- a room in a church where sacred objects are kept
10. wrath- extreme anger; God’s punishment for sin
Act Four
1. agape- with mouth open in astonishment
2. beguile- to charm or deceive
3. cleave- to faithfully cling to
4. disputation- a verbal disagreement; argument
5. excommunication- exclusion from a church or group
6. gaunt- excessively thin or withered
7. gibbet- a hanging post; gallows
8. indictment- a formal accusation before a jury
9. reprieve- delay of punishment
10. sibilance- a hissing sound
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Post-Reading Extension Activities and Alternative Assessment
The following are suggested ideas and activities after reading The Crucible. You may choose to do none or as many
as you desire. These suggestions are designed to allow your students another option to express their understanding of
The Crucible and to further explore the themes and ideas presented in the text.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
Create an informative poster or brochure about Communism, including facts and statistics about the
famous leaders, politics, and philosophies.
Create an informative poster or brochure about Puritans, including facts and statistics about the
famous leaders, politics, and philosophies.
Create a newspaper of the day inside/outside the courtroom in Act Three. Include as many details of
the event as possible in the main article. Also include other newsworthy events, advertisements,
horoscopes, photos, gossip and advice columns and/or letters to the editor to enhance the project.
Create a poster or brochure on the life and work of Arthur Miller. Include information about major
events in his life, his major works, and how his life is related to his novels.
Create a cause and effect diagram, explaining how each event of the book caused other events to occur.
What might have happened had one of the events not occurred? Choose an event to change, and rewrite the events that occurred because of that change.
Create a board game which includes the following:
a. Game Cards (at least 20) which contain quotations from The Crucible
b. Game Pieces (at least 4 different ones) representing the characters in The Crucible
c. Game Board, complete with your art work, which relates to The Crucible
d. Typed directions on how to play the game, the object of the game, and how to win.
Create a children's book of the play, complete with color illustrations. Tell the story in simple words,
and be sure to make the writing large, like you would see in a children’s book. The story can be
written in modern or Old English.
Create Elizabeth’s or Abigail’s scrapbook of important events throughout the play. Be sure to include
pictures and an explanation or journal-like thoughts about each event. Try writing in Old English.
Perform a scene from The Crucible in front of the class. Be sure to dress as the character and use
appropriate props. Lines must be memorized!
Make an illustrated timeline of the events from The Crucible. Include every important event in the
order in which they occurred, along with a colorful drawing depicting the event. Your timeline
should include at least 10 events from the play.
Create a Power-Point presentation on the life and beliefs of the Puritans in America. Include at least
15 slides with animation, sounds, and photos.
Create a web page on the Puritans and the Salem Witch Trials. Include relevant links from your own
pages to web sites that give more information, photos, articles, etc.
Create a web page on Communism, the Red Scare, and the McCarthy Trials. Include facts, statistics,
links to relevant articles, photos, and other information.
Create a Power-Point presentation on Communism, the Red Scare, and the McCarthy Trials. Include
at least 15 slides with animation, sounds, and photos.
You are the director of a new stage or film version of The Crucible. Cast your characters using current
celebrities. Make a poster announcing your opening night, including the names and photos of your
stars and the parts they will play. Include an enticing summary of the performance, as well as dates,
times, and location(s) of your performances. On the back of your poster, include an explanation of
why you have chosen those actors, and how they fit their role.
Create a giant postcard from one of the characters in The Crucible. It can be a postcard written from
John to Elizabeth from jail, from Abigail to John from wherever she ran off to, from Elizabeth to John,
or from any other character you choose. Be sure to make it look like a real postcard, with a canceled
stamp, mailing address, return address, a note from the sender, a photo, and any other relevant
information.
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The Crucible Literature Guide
Essay and Writing Ideas
1. Little is known about what happened to the real Abigail Williams. There has been speculation that she
ended up a prostitute; others believe she moved to the West Indies. Write your theory about what has
happened in Abigail’s life in the twenty years since she ran away from Salem. Use creative details.
2. Write an original “lost” scene from The Crucible. Be sure to include where the scene would fit within
the play, and write the dialogue in the style the author wrote. Besides writing the scene, include one or
two paragraphs explaining why you believe this scene was necessary in the play.
3. Write a sequel to The Crucible. In play format, continue where the action left off in Act Four. Tie up any
loose ends Miller left at the end of Act Four.
4. Add another character to The Crucible. Explain who this character is, why he/she is necessary, how the
character influences the action of the play, and more.
5. Write a letter to a character of your choice from The Crucible. Ask questions, suggest alternative choices
he/she could have made, etc.
6. Write a full character analysis of Abigail, John, and Elizabeth. Analyze their motivations, desires,
relationships, physical and personality characteristics, etc. Then draw a picture showing what you
think each person looked like.
7. You are a psychologist, and your patient is a character of your choice from The Crucible. He or she has
come to you seeking advice. What questions would you ask your patient? What advice would you
give? Compose notes and/or a tape recording of your thoughts from 5 “sessions.” Also consider
dream analysis and role-playing exercises. Must have at least five full-page entries, including your
advice to your patient.
8. Compare/contrast the novel with the movie version of The Crucible. Note similarities and differences,
as well as your reaction to the philosophies in both the novel and the movie. Did you like one more
than the other? Why or why not? Explain.
9. Compare/contrast the novel with The Scarlet Letter (novel or movie). Note similarities and differences,
as well as your reaction to the philosophies in both novels. Did you like one more than the other? Why
or why not? Explain.
10. Write an alternate ending to the play. What would have happened if John had lived? What if Abigail
had never run away? What if Elizabeth had not been pregnant? What if Abigail had confessed? What
happens next? You choose from where the story changes and what happens to each character.
11. Compare and contrast the characters of Abigail and Elizabeth. Consider their personalities, motivations
and relationships. What kind of character is each woman? What motivates each of them? What kind of
relationship do they have with their families and the people around them? How are their views on life
similar or different?
12. Analyze the character of Reverend Hale. What is his role in the prosecution and deaths during the
witch-hunt? How does his role change? Is he to blame for their deaths? If so, explain. If not, who or
what is responsible for the tragedy? Explain your response.
13. How does Miller use the technique of irony in The Crucible? Give examples from the text to support
your response.
14. Conduct an interview with one of the characters from The Crucible. For those who died, the interview
can be when the character was alive, or after his or her death. Write at least 10 questions that will give
the character a chance to tell his or her story from his or her point of view. You may ask questions,
challenge a situation, express a complaint or make a suggestion.
15. Write an obituary for John Proctor. Be sure to include his important life accomplishments, as well as
information about how he died, and what services will be held.
16. Write a personal ad for Abigail. Be sure to give a physical description, likes/dislikes, favorites, what
type of person she is looking for in a mate, etc. Include a drawing or photo of what you think Abigail
looked like.
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The Crucible Literature Guide
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