This play is by Arthur Miller and was first written and performed in New York in 1953. It has been performed constantly around the world ever since and is probably the best-known play by this famous American writer. One of the questions we will ask about it is the reason for its continued popularity.
All information below refers to the Heinemann (1992) edition.
The reader of this play needs to know something about two worlds – or rather, two periods of American history – in order to understand the message of the play: the late 17th Century and the mid-Twentieth Century.
Using as your basis the Introduction to the play (Pages vii – xvii before the play begins), find out about these two periods. Remember, the Introduction is only your starting point for research; I am expecting new information not contained in the copy of the play that can be usefully shared with the rest of the class.
Use these research questions to guide your presentation. You will be given instructions as to who you will work with and what kind of presentation you will be expected to make.
Here are further links that will help with research.
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You will be expected to read an act each week for the 4 weeks of study. Below you will find various tasks that focus on each act, in addition to the questions in the ‘Keeping Track’ section of your copy of the play.
This is the longest act: it introduces the action and the characters. We will send some time on this act; it will also feature your first assessed activity. Make sure you have looked at the ‘Keeping Track’ questions!
Act I introduces the major characters. Some are ‘static’, some are ‘dynamic’. You will need to have opinions on these characters and evidence from the play to support your opinions, both in class and in the ‘Recipe’ activity.
For details of what the ‘Recipe’ is all about, see the document below. It will also be posted on Veracross.
Watch Veracross for dates.
Continue to follow the questions for Act 2 in the ‘Keeping Track’ section.
The purpose of a Diacritical Journal is to select quotes the highlight character; the analysis is your own interpretation of what these quotes reveal about the character.
The protagonist of this play is John Proctor and the main antagonist is Abigail Williams. Use the document below (print it out to keep in your notebook) to keep track of developments in their characters as the play progresses. Note evidence (quotes from the text) to support everything that you write down. You should have 5 to 7 quotes for each of them.
What you write down in your Diacritical Journal should help you to talk and write about the issues presented in the ‘Explorations’ section (Page 124 – 125) concerning John Proctor and Abigail Williams.
Continue to follow the questions for Act 3 in the ‘Keeping Track’ section.
Continue to follow the questions for Act 4 in the ‘Keeping Track’ section. Once we have finished summarising Act 4 we will go on to discussing the first of the themes: the struggle of the individual against society (see Page 128).
It is also now time to start work on your Character Recipe. Have a look at a selection of online recipes before you begin so that you can produce an accurate pastiche. Choose your character, and then begin following the instructions above.
Watch Veracross for details.
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You will have one or two class periods in which you may work on this; the rest of the work must be completed at home. Watch Veracross for dates.
Read the instructions below carefully if you have not taken part in a Socratic Seminar before.
This will also be an assessed activity. See the assessment criteria below.
Watch Veracross for date of seminar. You will have the previous lesson in which to prepare; all other preparation will be done at home.
The final essay will be given in class. Watch Veracross for dates. It will be one of those topics in the ‘Explorations’ section of your copy of the play. You will have the previous lesson in which to prepare in class.
For those who have a different edition of the play, here is the choice of essay topics that you will write.
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Further Reading (and Viewing)
That concludes our study of ‘The Crucible’. If you have any comments, please post them below.