Crucible Characters

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  • 1. Building Context: Characters/characterization The Crucible MP1 American Literature
  • 2. Introducing the Characters of The Crucible
    • This will help you build context so you don’t dive into the Crucible cold!
    • When you become familiar with the characters, think about what they represent
      • What are their good and bad qualities?
  • 3. Meet John Proctor…
    • Proctor is the central character of the play.
    • He is a farmer in his thirties; outwardly, he appears a man of integrity and good sense.
      • He has a sound reputation within the community even if he is not liked by all of his neighbors.
      • However, he committed the sin of adultery, and feels like a fraud
  • 4. More on John
    • He lives in a strained relationship with his wife Elizabeth.
    • The true depth of their love, however, is revealed in the final act. It is in Act Four that Miller brings his character to his final moment of truth, where Proctor must look deep into his conscience and discover what is truly important to him: his 'name'.
    • Tied up in his concern for his own 'self', and integrity, is his concern for others. JOHN IS FLAWED, BUT NOBLE.
  • 5. The Things to Remember About John
    • John is flawed, but noble and courageous.
    • John represents the struggle of the individual against an unjust authority.
  • 6. Elizabeth Proctor
    • Elizabeth is married to John; she is a good, honest woman
    • Elizabeth first appears in Act 2, singing lullabies to her children
    • Atmosphere in the house tense with coming to terms with husband's adultery
      • She is accused of being cold by both Proctor and Abigail
      • But she recognizes Abigail's' intentions before Proctor
    • Her love and understanding for Proctor is evident in the last act, when she leaves him to decide whether to confess
  • 7. Abigail: Masterful Manipulator
    • Orphaned niece of Parris
    • Leads Salem citizen in frenzied witch hunt
    • Able to manipulate uncle, control other girls, and seduce Proctor
      • Elizabeth is only person she can't beguile, thus earning Abigail's abhorrence
      • Naming of witches gives her power, excitement, and revenge
      • Good at reading events and situation and acting accordingly
      • ABIGAIL REPRESENTS THOSE WHO CAN FUEL THE FLAME OF EVIL.
  • 8. Abigail
    • Rebels against Puritan oppression by seducing and dancing
    • Arrogance is her undoing—but only after significant damage
    • Does not appear in last act, underscoring that the play is ultimately about Proctor's destiny and conscience
  • 9. Danforth: Religious/Political Leader of Community
    • Represents authority of law and church within community
    • Serious about position and importance
      • Note his speech in Act 3
    • Determination to enforce law is unrelenting; inflexible and unemotional
  • 10. Danforth
    • Does not allow work of the court to be questioned
      • How is this dangerous?
      • Not interested in the individual
    • Allows horror of witch hunt to continue
      • Does he believe all that the girls allege or have events gone too far to stop without undermining his own authority?
        • Will not change course even though there are many innocent victims
  • 11. Reverend Hale
    • Hale enjoys the nature of his calling
    • Despite his assertion he will not necessarily find witchcraft, it is apparent he assumes it is present
    • Hale changes dramatically during the play, and comes to accept the responsibility of what he started
      • He tries to rectify wrongs, but it's impossible
  • 12. Dynamic vs. Static Characters
    • Dynamic characters change over the course of a play or novel; they learn from events and experiences
      • Hale is a DYNAMIC character
    • Static characters remain the same, and do not change
      • Danforth is a STATIC character
  • 13. Parris and Giles Corey
    • Parris
    • Unpopular in Salem
      • Greedy and selfish
      • Tears in opening scene not for his daughter but for his own reputation and down fall
      • Supports trial as long as own position is secure
      • His change in Act 4 occurs from threats to his life, NOT from guilt or compassion
  • 14. Giles Corey
    • Initially, a comic character
    • Procter deals with his argumentative nature in a good hearted way
    • Unwittingly implicates wife in witchcraft, and is arrested after refusing to name an informant
      • Eventually tortured in effort to extract a confession
  • 15. Rebecca Nurse
    • Elderly and respected Rebecca is one of the voices of good sense in the play
    • Hale has already heard of her good reputation before meeting her.
    • The conviction of Rebecca reveals how low the community at Salem has fallen
      • She goes to her death with dignity and acceptance.
  • 16. Mary Warden
    • Proctor's servant
    • Weak, easily influenced
    • Intimidated in court, easily "turned" by Abigail into testifying against Proctor
      • Represents how fear perpetuates wrong doing; she was too afraid to speak the truth and exonerate the Proctors
    • Illustrates how weak people are used by stronger people to perpetuate wrongdoing
  • 17. The Putnams
    • Bitter couple representing jealousy, small-mindedness, and greed
    • Ann Putnam sent daughter to conjure up spirits to begin with
    • Thomas Putnam sought to gain from the tragedies of others
  • 18. Elmo…. Is NOT a character in the Crucible
  • 19. The Crucible – The Movie Of course, in the movie version of The Crucible , Winona Ryder plays Evil Abby, and Daniel Day Lewis plays flawed, but good John Proctor