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The Crucible Coursework

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Introduction

The Crucible Coursework Arthur Miller's play, 'The Crucible', is based on the events leading up to and then the subsequent Salem Witch Trials. Before the play starts, the background story is that Samuel Parris, the local Reverend, was walking through the woods when he stumbled upon his niece, Abigail Williams, his daughter, Betty Parris, and other girls of the town dancing round a 'pot'. When Rev.Parris startles them, they all run off, but his daughter, Betty, seems to be afflicted by some kind of curse. That is where the play starts off. Miller wrote the play in an attempt to strike out at Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose anti-Communist hearings in 1953 included the concept of 'UnAmerican' activities. Miller was targeted for these kind of accusations, and so he wrote this play with McCarthy and 'unamerican' views in mind, but with the Salem Witch Trials as the setting. SUMMARY OF THE STORY ACT 1 This act begins with Parris praying for his daughter Betty, who is led in her bed, with some kind of apparent curse over her. Parris had stumbled upon Betty, his niece Abigail and other girls of the village dancing in the woods, in some kind of voodoo ritual, led by Parris' slave, Tituba. Betty had still not woken. Ann and Thomas Putnam arrive and claim that the Devil is present and has afflicted the girls. We are then informed that the Putnam's daughter, Ruth, is also afflicted. Witchcraft is first mentioned. The adults leave, and Abigail, Mercy Lewis and Mary Warren try to wake Betty. ...read more.

Middle

This is the evidence which proves that Parris is a static character, as throughout the play, his one motivation is self interest. Hale is the most dynamic character in the book, as proven by how he changes during the course of the witch trials. As Hale enters the story, the witch accusations are relatively new, and he is called in by Parris to sort out the situation, as he is a renowned 'witch hunter'. Hale then sparks off the town's cry of 'witch' by confronting Tituba, Parris' servant about alleged witch craft rituals in the forest. He gains a false confession off her, and then she begins to accuse various womenfolk of the town of witchcraft as well. This is when Hale begins to change. During the trials, Elizabeth Proctor, John Proctor's wife, is accused, and Hale begins to see that all is not well in Salem. Then, when John Proctor is accused, Hale realizes that the 'accursed' group of girls are, in fact, manipulating the court to save themselves. Hale tries with all his power to prove Proctor's innocence, but to no avail, and at the end of the play, Hale is a broken man, in realization that the townsfolk would not have died had it not been for him. For this reason, Hale is a dynamic character. Giles Corey is the hero of the play. Although not one of the most featured in the play, he is a static character as he sticks to his morals throughout the play, and he dies a martyr, pressed to death by boulders, in an attempt to make him confess. ...read more.

Conclusion

After both reading the book and then watching the film, I believe that the film was better. This is because everything is a lot clearer in the film. In the book, things happened very fast, and it was easy to get confused. Also, in the book, new characters were brought into the different scenarios without any introduction whatsoever, and so whilst reading I would often wonder who, for example, Herrick was. These 'smaller' characters were put into the play without a description. Although these characters didn't get a big introduction in the film, there was at least an explanation of why they were in Salem, and I could visually see what they looked like. The book, however, is that although the smaller characters don't have descriptions, the main characters do, and I was able to get some kind of history on the characters. The film did give things a more dramatic edge, and made things a lot easier to understand. For example, during scene in court, when Mary Warren accuses Proctor of aligning with the Devil, everything happens too fast in the book, and it was hard to follow exactly what was going on, whereas in the film, it was a lot easier to follow. The main problem with the film was that it was turned into a sort of 'Romance' Story. By this I mean that at the end of the book, Elizabeth and John part with nothing more than an embrace and a goodbye, whereas in the film, it is made to be more emotive and in my opinion made the film worse than it could be. In my opinion, 'The Crucible' is a good play, and I have enjoyed reading it. Charlie Hartley ...read more.

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