Crucible Study Guide Questions Act 1

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1. "So now they and their church found it necessary to deny any other sect its freedom, lest their New Jerusalem be defiled and corrupted by wrong and deceitful ideas."

What is the irony in that statement?

The Puritans came to this country for religious freedom, but they then persecuted others for their religion which made the colony almost as bad as the place they had left

. Explain how the witch-hunt years were a time of "general revenge."

The Puritans were under such strict laws that when the witch hunts started, they didn't repress their anger anymore and got revenge for whatever squabbles they had.

Identify Tituba

Tituba was Parris' slave from Barbados and was accused of conjuring spirits and being a witch. She late confesses to being a witch to save her life.

Identify Betty

Betty was Parris' daughter. She had a fit and the only explanation is the presence of witchcraft.

Identify Abigail Williams

Abigail was Parris' niece. Her parents were killed by Indians so she lived with Parris. She was very involved in the witch hunt and got revenge on many people in the village; especially Elizabeth Proctor because she wanted to marry her husband.

4. Why does Mrs. Putnam believe there are witches in Salem?

Many of her babies have died and the only successful child (Ruth) was acting odd.

Why is Thomas Putnam bitter?

His candidate for minister was rejected and he could not break his father's will. He believed he was intellectually superior and was frustrated when he didn't get his way.

Parris says, "Oh Abigail, what proper payment for my charity! Now I am undone!" What does that mean?

Parris was having troubles before the story began and was trying to keep everything together. His niece's flirting with witchcraft would give his enemies more ammunition against him. He has taken her in and she has done something which could cause his ruin.

What is Mary's argument to Abby?

She wants her to tell the truth about what happened in the woods. Mary suspects if they lies continue, the punishment could be far worse than it would be now (spanking and reprimanding).

Describe Proctor

Proctor is a strong, fit, confident even-tempered man who is in his thirties. He is a farmer.

9. What happened between Abigail and John Proctor prior to the opening of the play?

They apparently had an affair.

10. What was the "sign" that Betty was bewitched?

She could not stand to hear the Lord's name

Identify Francis Nurse.

Francis was greatly respected by people from the village. He was calm and an arbitrator. Married to Rebecca Nurse

Identify Rebecca Nurse

Rebecca, his wife, was a good, kind, gentle woman who helped deliver some of the Puritan babies.

Explain the political relationship between the Putnam and Nurse Families.

The Putnams didn't like the Nurses because of some land disputes. Ann Putnam accused Rebecca of bewitching her newborn babies (saying she was responsible for deaths).

What did Rebecca do to Betty?

She stood over her and quieted her.

14. What is Rebecca's explanation of the girls' behavior?

She believes they made up the whole story for attention and in a few days the whole thing will be forgotten.

. "There are wheels within wheels in this village and fires within fires." Explain

There are many political and personal grudges held among the people of Salem.

16. What is Proctor's reason for his not regularly attending church?

He doesn't like Paris because he is too concerned with material wealth and doesn't talk about God enough (he only speaks of fire and brimstone).

What does Parris want?

The deed to his house and firewood in addition to his salary.

. Giles says, "Think on it now, it's a deep thing, and dark as a pit." To what is he referring literally and symbolically?

Literally he is talking about people not getting along. Symbolically, he is talking about their system of theocracy seems to be failing.

What do Putnam and Proctor argue about? What does this show?

They argue about lumber and the ownership of land. Putnam is a devious, land-grabbing man.

Who is Rev. John Hale, and why does he come to Salem?

He is an expert on witchcraft and comes to the town to help rid it of witches.

Hale says, "They [the books] must be [heavy]; they are weighted with authority." What is the significance of this remark?

The people put their faith in a book filled with information that is not well proven about the devil and witchcraft. This is similar to how they place their faith in the girls and the girls become weighted with authority although they (the girls) have information that is not substantiated. An analogy exists between their faith in the books and the faith in the Bible.

To what did Tituba confess? Why?

She confessed that she conjured spirits, met with the devil and signed his book because if she didn't confess she would have been hanged.

What do the girls do at the end of Act One?

They admit that they were bewitched and started naming people they had seen with the devil.

What is the setting of the book?

Salem, Massachusetts

What does Puritan mean?

Advocated a practice of Christianity that they considered to be in keeping with the that which Christ had intended. Every a spect of their life was seen in relation to God's will. Predestination was God's manner of identifying one's "calling."

What is Theocracy?

government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided

Who is the author of the book?

Arthur Miller

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