Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Act 4 Socratic Discussion Thread

Today we are going to have a discussion thread based on Act 4 of The Crucible. Answer my questions first and I want you to respond to at least 2 others, make comments, using textual support, and I always want you to end with a question-interpretative for right now.  I will move us to critical questions later.
I do not want one word responses; I expect formal writing and intelligent thought showing your discerning observations and analysis. Please keep in mind the ideological statements and central questions as a means of helping you to analyze further.  Depth is a must!

To start, please answer the following 3 of the 4 questions; you must answer number 4:

1.  Who is to blame for what happened?  Can the people of Salem's actions be excused by the cultural hysteria, or is it the individual's fault?  Find evidence to support both sides.

2.  As you read this act, what spoke to you the most or evoked the most emotion?  What quote was the most powerful and why?

3.  How does individual judgment play a role in this Act? Find one example and relay its significance.

4.  Think about the definition of an allegory; we know this text is an allegory for the time period during which Miller lived.-list 2-3 characters, events, or facets of setting that you think are allegorical from the play and what do they correspond to specifically?

When you finish, make sure you ask questions and begin responding to others. Textual support is mandatory! F5 refreshes the page; make sure to respond to different people; challenge one another, question each other; help each other to see the significance of the text.

124 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. 2. Tituba- We goin' Barbados, soon the Devil gits here with the feathers and the wings."

    She is lying to save her self from being hung. She is showing a flaw in the judicial system by saying this because she is falsely admit to a crime to save herself from being hung for not admitting it.

    3. Proctor immediately identifies that there are no witches and realizes that everyone is going to admit to it, once accused to save them selves from being hung. They will also implicate others so they are let off the hook. He admits to it falsely but says no one else was working with the devil, and by doing this he is writing his own death sentence but saving countless others.


    4. Danforth reminds of Joe McCarthy the man in charge of finding communists in America during the red scare in the post WW2 world. McCarthy would terrorize people in order to get them to admit and I believe they were both doing it for a reputation, so that even if they had accused a man who wasn't a witch or wasn't a communist they would get them to admit it to show that they weren't wrong. They were doing this because I think both of them wanted a career in politics at a higher level. I think for McCarthy he wanted to be the President.The Hollywood blacklist was an example of people not being able to get jobs in Hollywood because they had been accused of be a communist. This is like in the witchcraft trials when people would be hung because they had been accused of practising witchcraft.

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    1. Jacob-
      How would Proctor's confession save others when there be others who will not admit falsely? Does Proctor still judge himself? How is he striving with his soul?

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    2. Comp- I think he is saving others because it is a cycle. One person is accused and they accuse someone else, and then they accuse someone else and so on. Proctor stops this cycle by admitting it but not accusing anyone else. Now the only people they can go after were the ones accused before Proctor's testimony. Proctor still judges himself but allows himself some peace of mind knowing he helped others.

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  3. Why would public opinion change after the court proceedings?

    Why does Danforth want to post Proctor's confession to the door of the church?

    What did the end of this play show you? Why does Miller leave in such a powerful way?

    In a moral dilemma (when there are two unequal alternatives), how do you distinguish between what you believe and what is right?

    In what ways is your integrity challenged every day? What makes doing your own thing, in the face of opposition, so difficult?

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    1. @Comp:
      To answer your third question I think the end of the play shows the reader that life doesn’t always end with a “and they lived happily ever after”. Miller took out all the happy twists of the story like how the hero never dies or how in the end everything works out. I think one of the main reasons that Miller wrote this book is because he wanted to expose all the wrongs that were happening in America during the time he wrote this. During the actual time, they weren’t many happy endings. In real life innocent people were accused and faced the punishment for their supposed crimes. One of the most powerful quotes from the book in my opinion came from the second to last page, “I can. And there’s your first marvel, that I can. You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs” (Miller 144). I think through this quote Miller uses John Proctor as a symbol of America. First he thinks that America would have to believe that they have a problem, but that they can fix it. Next, they would have to find the good that is in America and make that more prominent than the bad. Lastly, they don’t have to make America perfect, just good enough that the bad no longer outweighs the good. In this one quote Miller suggest a way that America could have been fixed. In the end he has Proctor die though, and I think that was to show that if America isn’t fixed it can die. In the real world everything does not work itself out five minutes before the credits role. In order to get a happy period of time people need to put in effort and have the will to change and make the world better. “Happily ever after” is something earned, not given.

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    2. Comp, in response to your second question, Danforth wants to post Proctor's confession on the church door to prove the validity of the court and the trials. By Act four, many of the townspeople had lost faith in the court, and began to see the corruption of the trials. Danforth knows Proctor's power and reputation in the town and wants to use it to his advantage.

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    3. Comp, in response to your second question, Danforth wanted to post Proctor's confession on the church door to give proof of the things Proctor was saying, and of his confession. The people in Salem had somewhat started to believe that all these accusations were a bit crazy, and all of these confessions were fake. Danforth knew no one would believe him if he just simply said Proctor confess; he needed hard evidence. Posting on the church door was perfect too. Everyone in the town worships God and he knew that everyone would see Proctor's confession, and putting it up in the house of God validates it's purpose and meaning.

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  4. 1) I believe that everyone who took part in the trials were to blame. Although Abigail and the other children were the ones who started all of the chaos, everyone else chose to go along with it. They didn’t bother to look at the situations from both sides, religious and logical.


    2) “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name” (Miller 143)!
    Proctor really showed at the end how important it should be that we have a reputation and how everyone should honor their name by leaving it with good remembrances not bad ones.

    4) Abigail represents the desire for power and revenge over the people who are better than you. Everyone seeks to be essentially better than somebody else. They place themselves on a totem pole and seek to be on the top of it. I think this is why Abigail is implemented into the play, representing the search for power back when there was little organization and chaos.
    On the other hand, Proctor was there to kind of combat this chaos, attempting to restore the logic and order in the town of Salem. However, due to the heavy influence of religion on the people of Salem, it was very difficult to convince them to look at both sides.

    Interpretive: Should Proctor have put his name on the church door?

    Critical: Why do people often not look at both sides in a situation? Are most people not open minded?

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    1. Ryan-
      Did he put his name up on the door? What are you specifically asking?

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    2. Ryan, is do you think Proctor forgives himself at the end for what he did with Abigail and his wife?

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    3. Ryan-Why is Proctor's name so important to him? What does a name represent? What does this say about Proctor's individual integrity?

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    4. Comp- Proctor crumpled and tore the paper that stated his confession, causing him to hang. If he had posted his confession of the church door, he would have not been hanged, but his reputation would have been spoiled, correct?

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    5. Ryan, yes he might not have been hung, but I am pretty sure he can sink no lower in the people's eyes. Recall, if you will that he confessed himself a lecher, and the bible, which is a rather important book during this time period, clearly states that all sins are to be counted equal. He already has spoiled his reputation.

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    6. Ryan, Comp and Katherine- How is Proctors decision to tear up the confession an act of refining his name in the community? Proctor decides to perform the action that genuinely matters which is to leave with dignity and to not lie simply to save himself. John Proctor’s decision at conclusion of this novel revealed through this statement, unveils his exit as one that is candidly heroic. His character is one that is considered to be a tragic heroic for he had the willingness to confess to his sin, yet had the dignity to make amends for it by choosing the path of honesty. Can this in a way be used to make up for his affair?

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  5. 1. Though it would be easy to blame solely the accusers, such as the girls for the events in Salem, but many are responsible. Firstly, Abigail and the girls are obviously responsible for the hysteria. They were the roots of this madness. Just as Proctor spoke, “‘I’ll tell you what’s walking in Salem -- vengeance is walking in Salem”. (Act II. 73). Abigail’s desire for John Proctor began this personal vengeance. Then others, like the Putnam’s are just as responsible for seeing the opportunity to wage their personal wars. They were allowed to express the hatred for their neighbors that had harbored due to the strictness of their society. Also, though the victims are to blame. Those unlike Cheever who died with the last words of, “more weight”, who did not stand their moral ground are to blame. The religious leaders are too, of equal blame, instead of searching for the truth they would rather settle for a lie that confirmed their beliefs and what they preached in the pulpit. If all of those accused had refused to confess to witchcraft, the suspicions would have not had grounds. It boils down to the morally weak, those who allowed temptation, revenge, anger, to govern their actions.

    2. The most powerful quote in Act 4 would be Hale’ s last desperate line, “Woman plead with him! Woman! It is pride, it is vanity. Be his helper! What profit him to bleed? Shall the dust praise him? Shall the worms declare his truth? Go to him, take his shame away!” (Act IV. 134). This reveals all the “trials” have caused. A man who once hunted the Devil which such conviction now cries for pardon of those condemned. Elizabeth serves as the moral conscience in this act. It is she who puts forth the most prominent arguments for Proctor accepting his own death, despite her wish for her husband to live. It could be looked upon that Elizabeth was cold, not reaching out to save her husband in his last moments of life but it shows that she had accepted that her wanted to stand by his morals and die with his dignity. It reveals how John, in a moment of weakness almost allowed himself to crumble under the relentless court, but he stood, even when giving confession and refused to name others names. With that act, and tearing up his confession later, he overthrows any of his previous sins.

    4. In the final Act, when John gives his confession, he refuses to name any other collaborators with the Devil, Danforth: “Did you ever see anyone with the devil?‘”, Proctor: “I did not.” (Act IV. 130). During the 1950’s and the House Committee on Un-American Activities, many others we placed in the same role as Proctor, and they too paid a price for it. Proctor did not name others and in return he was hanged for such an action; those who were put on trial for being Communists were asked the same question. Refusal to name others resulted in the destruction of careers and lives. McCarthy himself reminds me of Abigail Williams. Like Abigail, McCarthy blindly accused people for their own personal gain, and others followed. McCarthy wanted attention and power, and with the hysteria and fear others followed and believed him; just like the girls.

    a. Did the refusal to confess create guilt in those who falsely confessed?
    b. How do personal motives allow us to blind ourselves to the destruction we cause?

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    1. I think it is interesting what you said in your response to the second question, when you say what you believe the most powerful quote is. I think that it is a very powerful quote indeed, but I would ask you this. Do you think Hale was correct to ask them all to lie? Should he be trying to convince them to go against God's word and pretend that they did something?

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    2. Its not that they should have lied and simply surrendered. It is what Hale pleads reveal. It shows that this holy man is begging Proctor to go against one of the ten commandments. It is not that he is correct, it's quite the opposite. It shows the toll the trials have taken. The utter hypocrisy and hysteria challenged what he believed. It caused him to become so helpless, possibly faithless, that he called out for them to sin to save themselves from something he once fought to do.

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    3. Hannah, in response to your second question, we see what we choose to see. Especially when there is a goal in mind. Because we are the ones causing destruction, we are less likely to view it for what it is. In our minds, there is a reason for the destruction; however, that might not be evident to everyone.

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    4. Hannah, personal motives determine the destruction created by an individual. All decisions are made through a balance of personal motives and the estimated consequences of external forces. Destruction occurs when those personal motivations were acted upon with no regard to the consequences. Despite people's efforts to distance themselves from the destruction they caused, the personal motivation are obvious and are capable of surfacing again.

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  6. 1. Who is to blame for what happened? Can the people of Salem's actions be excused by the cultural hysteria, or is it the individual's fault? Find evidence to support both sides.

    I think people were idiots. Honestly, I think they are all to blame for being idiots except for the people who did not believe in witchcraft. If these people truly thought children were incapable of lying, at first that would be okay. Sure, I would never succumb to believing it in the first place, but how can people be so blind? When in act three, Mary Warren is telling the true story, Danforth tells her on page 102 "I will tell you this-you are either lying now or you were lying in the court, and in either case you have committed perjury and you will go to jail for it." If that is the case, is not Danforth accusing a child of lying? At this point, someone must have realized that the children were not incapable of lying. At this point, they ought to have less trust in the other children. That is when they went wrong. Whoever still felt sure about the children's innocence after that is to blame.

    2. As you read this act, what spoke to you the most or evoked the most emotion? What quote was the most powerful and why?

    I thought it was interesting that during John's "confession" he sought, like everyone else in the town, to save himself from the noose. I was angry at him. I wanted to throw the book across the room and I may have done so had it belonged to me. But I was forced to read on and upon reaching page forty, learned that he indeed wanted to evade the noose, but he would not sacrifice his friends or anyone else in order to do so. In the end, he sacrificed himself to avoid condemning those who were already doomed. It did not matter to him that Martha Corey and Mary Easty would hang no matter what he said, perhaps have already been hung. He would not add another name to the list. His story, whether claiming the were witches or not could not have changed their fate in the slightest, yet he would not save himself by blackening the names of the accused. I hope that made sense.

    4. Think about the definition of an allegory; we know this text is an allegory for the time period during which Miller lived.-list 2-3 characters, events, or facets of setting that you think are allegorical from the play and what do they correspond to specifically?

    An allegorical character in this play was definitely Reverend Parris. He is supposed to be the Godly church dude of the town. He is the reverend, he is supposed to be a symbol of good christian character (whether others actually see him that way or not.) However, it is he who has someone in his household who danced, which is a sin, and he is terrified to reveal it. Therefore, he has resorts to desperate measures- blacken every one else's name to distract from his own- a filibuster if you will. This is an allegory because everyone in the town has a "niece who have danced" and everyone in town knows about someone else's "niece who have danced" and everyone in town is afraid of who will tell about their "niece who have danced". I think, we can call that niece sin. This is a perfect opportunity for these people to get what they want. They will cry witch on anyone who may know about a sin they have done- if they hang for witchery, the one who caught them will be held in honor and the sin that they knew of will die with them. It is exactly what Parris thinks, and it is reflected through the entire trials. Another allegory is Abigail Williams. Who cares who dies, as long as she get's Proctor? The rest of the town agrees- Who cares who dies, as long as I get my land, who cares, as long as my children are avenged, what does it matter, I'll be acclaimed as a hero, what's the big deal, I shall protect my secret! The whole town is trying to accomplish something, Abigail Williams is trying to accomplish something, it is very allegorical, yes?

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    1. Katherine- who are you comparing Parris, and Abigail to. I think the question asks choose three characters or scenes that were similar and purposely similar to people and actions of the 1950's during the Red Scare.

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    2. After reading your response to the first question, I have to ask if you think that before page 102, the girls were to blame, but after page 102, the civilians who continued to believe the girls were at fault? And should the people of Salem not be responsible for the witch craze before that point because of their beliefs (that children are incapable of lying)? Is their ignorance to the truth, that a child can lie, an excuse for not stopping the witch hunt early on? Can one use their personal or religious beliefs as an excuse for their ignorance? Is this also a justified reason for not stopping horrible events like what happened in Salem?

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  7. 1. I feel that everyone who took part is to blame. Even Hale is to blame for helping to start the hysteria, even though he changed his stance at the end. I believe the girls are to blame for continuing it, but at the bottom of it is Tituba and Hale. Hale's questions and the threat of whipping and death from others were what caused Tituba to falsely cry out "Goody Good...and Goody Osburn." Once she had confessed that led to the girls becoming involved to clear their names. As the trials increased, the accusations went from just saving their lives to blaming others and getting vengeance. In their town, people would either lie to save their lives and possibly gain something in the town, going against the puritan belief, or say they had no part and saving their name and staying true to what they believed. At the end, Proctor didn't want to die and will confess but he does not want the whole town to know about because he wants to save the good in his name, "Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life...Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang!...I have given you my soul; leave me my name."

    3. Judgement plays a huge role in this whole book. Not only do people judging other people but people judging themselves. This happens a lot with Proctor. In the quote above he doesn't want other people to judge him for what he has done. Earlier in the book Proctor is discussing with Elizabeth about what he has done with Abigail, "Proctor: Let you look sometimes for the goodness in me, and judge me not. Elizabeth: I do not judge you John. The magistrate sits in your heart the judges you." This explains the whole character of Proctor and how his judgement affects himself and what he does in the play, including his confession of lechery and signing the paper.

    4. The craze that happened in this play can be used as an allegory to the Red Scare when Arthur Miller was living. All the proceedings and questions we used to a similar effect. They weren't as much questions as they were accusations and the only way to not get blacklisted or killed was to confess. In both of these situations, society needs someone to confess, to blame, so they can have their scapegoat to relieve some of their societal pressure and worry.

    Int: Why did Danforth and the others think it so important to show John's signature of confession to the town?

    Crit: How would the story have changed if John had spoken out earlier against the trials and the girls?

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    1. A.J.-
      Can you give any specifics as to how the proceedings and accusations were used as a similar effect. You make a good point but what specifically in the text is allegorical?

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    2. Parris during the questioning of Tituba says, "You will confess yourself or I will take you out and whip you to your death, Tituba." (Miller 44).

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    3. The Judges wanted something concrete like a piece of paper with ink on it not just more blabbering and gossiping.

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    4. A.J.-Interpretive Question Response
      Generally, Proctor had an image to uphold throughout the entire play. People just expected him to be a good Puritan. The people in power possibly found enjoyment and a sense of power from knowing that because of them, Proctor weakened and confessed to witchcraft even though he was innocent. They drove such fear into him that he allowed himself to be another piece of their game, he fell weak under their power. I think they wanted to hang his name on the church door because it was pride and they brought down a mighty man. Additionally, they need legal proof for the village that Proctor confessed. Miller supports this when Danforth says in response to Proctor's inquiry of why his name must be nailed to the church door, "Why, for the instruction of the village, Mister; this we shall post on the church door!" (Miller IV, 139).

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  8. Critical question: Is it possible to act against your moral believes for an extended period of time, or rather, can you do something you don't think is right on more than one occasion?

    Interpretive: Did the characters in this act believe what they were doing was right?

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    1. Obviously many did since they died because they wouldn't give in to false confession. They died knowing that they would condemn themselves if they lied, since lying was a sin. It also depends on how you look at the word "right". It holds so much connotation. In this case, right seemed to be working on behalf of everyone's own self-interest sadly enough.

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    2. I think most of the characters in this act believed what they was right. Hale realized the mistakes he made in signing the deaths of many of the accused. Also he came back to try to save John Proctor and the others because he felt bad about what he had done. Proctor realizes he is doing the right thing at the end and stick to hi beliefs. And of Danforth always thinks he's right; even at the end he wouldn't change his word and what he thought to be right. However I think Parris started to see the madness he created. And Elizabeth truly confessed herself to John and they made peace with each other. so I do think most characters at the end believed what they were doing was right; and for good reason.

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  9. 1. Throughout the story, it is evident that a central source is to be blamed for what happened. However, it is debatable on who is exactly to blame, whether it was the witches, the people of Salem, the court or the deleterious impact of fear itself. Despite all of these variables, I personally hold the opinion that the people, especially the court of Salem is to blame for manifesting fear. Fear itself is an element that is only a problem when brought attention to. In act four this element of man made fear is quite apparent as the court pressures Proctor to admit to witchcraft. The community of Salem implements spiritual wrongdoing and its consequences not only with the higher power, but especially within the society of Salem as it correlates with material significances. This contradictory between private religious matters between individuals themselves and its incorporation with public concerns creates a sense of fear, one that is inevitable in this society. Proctor is one of the primary characters who distinguishes this defined line as he states: “I have confessed myself! Is there no good penitence but it be public? God does not need my name nailed upon the church!”(Miller, Act IV, 132). This quotation stated by Proctor indicates the extent of punishment and guilt as well as materialism in the community of Salem. Despite this society being a theocracy, the idea of having information publicly viewed makes the claim all the better, as it reveals the wrongdoing of an individual seen as an open display. It is as if the people of Salem do not necessarily have a caring for the spiritual effect of the sin committed by the individual, but more so its reaction among the community. Hale and Danforth insist that Proctor make this claim official on a tangible document as it appears to be that they are striving to make a claim about themselves and their proficiency in finding, yet another member of witch craft. Proctor, however is making a point about his sins and how God, whether or not it is “nailed upon the church” sees his wrongdoing and has already made his decision of Proctors destination. These two various perspectives shows Salem in a different light, with its moral principles a little offset, one that cares about an individuals public relationship with God. One can see how these two contradictory forces collide to create a sense of anxiousness over an individual desire and its anticipated reaction within the community. It is for this reason that many argue that fear is to be blamed for this incident, the collision of religion and government, however it is the people themselves that instigate this fear.

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  10. 2. As I read this act, a specific character evoked emotion within me that I was moved by. Proctor truly spoke out to me in this scene as he faced him moral dilemma. Proctor demonstrates his resistance to confess when he states:

    “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”(Miller, Act IV, 133)

    This heroic statement is made by Proctor at the end of the play as he is debating on whether to confess to Hale and Danforth to witchcraft, or to deny the charges and be punished as an honest man. The men have eagerly urged him to confess to witchcraft, but his resistance to doing so shows a special kind of character, one that is unique and has not been seen in Salem. Proctor states “How may I live without my name?”, displaying the importance of reputation in Salem, one might see how could alter his decision. Early in the story plot Proctor was conscious of this, as he did not confess about his affair with Abigail, striving to prevent a damaged prestige. However, Proctor comes to realize of the ultimate meaning of having a polished repute in the community lies within the boldness of his actions. He asks to keep his reputation for it is all he has left after his confession. Proctor decides to perform the action that genuinely matters which is to leave with dignity and to not lie simply to save himself. John Proctor’s decision at conclusion of this novel revealed through this statement, unveils his exit as one that is candidly heroic. His character is one that is considered to be a tragic heroic for he had the willingness to confess to his sin, yet had the dignity to make amends for it by choosing the path of honesty.
    This genuinely touched me as I was moved by his decision, and his realization at the conclusion. This instigated me to think why is the public display of the sins of others in Salem so important to its members? This relates to the central question of how do many individuals at times care more about the judgment of those whose opinion doesn’t necessarily matter over a higher power?

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    1. To answer your first question, Yasmin, I think that because of humans tendency to want to be superior, we want to know that there are people that are inferior to us. Humans also crave knowledge. We are curious creatures so we want to be in everyone's business and if being in their business means we could also be proven right then even more reason for us to interfere and get to know everything.

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    2. Yasmin, in response to your last question, doesn't the opinion of a higher power technically functions as the opinion of another person or an outside force? In my opinion, there are two categories of opinions, which include one's opinion of himself and the opinions of others toward that individual. People tend to care more about the opinion of others because they are insecure about themselves. They do not have the self integrity to let their actions and character stand on its own, so they must rely on others judgement for personal affirmation. Idealistically, a person should be able to achieve self-actualization without the confirmation of their action from others; however, so much of an individual's life is centered around external factors like how many friends a person has and how likeable they are, that in order for an individual to find their path in life, they must ask others along the way if they are going in the right direction.

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  11. 1. The witch trials caused mass hysteria in the town of Salem, and many people instigated the accusations and the madness of the process. Abigail Williams, though, is the one person who I think is to blame for the hunt. She wanted to be with Proctor still, as shown on page 150 in the Appendix, Act Two Scene 2, “Oh, John, I will make you such a wife once the world is white again!”, but Elizabeth stood in her way. But once Abigail started to cry out about witches, she had the power to get rid of the people she wanted to, and she still had her power over the other girls because they were afraid of Abigail. Abigail is to blame because she was really the first person to instigate blaming other people. Going off that, the Hunt was more the fault of the individual than that of the culture. As Hale says on page 68, “Mister, I have myself examined Tituba, Sarah Good, and numerous others that have confessed to dealing with the Devil.”, he knew, presumably along with everyone else, what he was doing during the Trials, he was not influenced by the culture of the town.

    2. This was a very intense Act to read, with a lot of emotion evoking lines. One in particular, though, stands out above the others. “Great stones they lay upon his chest until he pleaded aye or nay. They say they give him but two words. ‘More weight,’ he says. And died.” (pg.135). Giles’ death was probably the hardest one to to read, not because of the way he died, but because of what he died for. He was killed believing that the girls were telling lies and that all of the people are innocent to witchcraft and wizardry, and yet he was very nonchalant when he died, joking as though being killed was no big deal. Giles knew he was telling the truth, so I guess he was okay with dying because he did not stand by idly while innocent people were being killed. He died for what he was fighting for.

    4. There were a lot of similarities between the Salem Witch Hunt and the Red Scare trials, and Miller did a great job portraying some of the current events in his time in The Crucible. One of the main people who stood out to me as an allegory of someone in the Red Scare is Judge Danforth. He is very similar to McCarthy, because they both were the lead characters in their respective trials, and they both had the power to bring anyone up to trial no matter how powerful the person brought up was previously. Another allegory was the “witches”, because the communists during the Red Scare were in the exact same position as the women who were convicted for witchcraft. One final allegory is the entirety of the Witch Hunt itself. The Red Scare and the Witch Hunt were freakishly similar, everyone got paranoid about what really went on with other people, there was an obvious display of abusing power, and if someone confessed they lived whereas if they did not they were killed.

    Interpretive - Will Danforth and the other accusers have a guilty conscience after the trials end?

    Critical - In times of fear, why do people set aside their morality and rationality and go along with the hysteria of what is happening at that time?

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    1. To answer your second question I think it's because fear is such a controlling power over us. As human beings our greatest desire and goal in life is to stay alive. It's what we have been programmed to do for far longer than we have had a moral code set up. So I think that all of our knowledge and preconceived ideas go to the dogs when we are faced with a threatening situation and we revert back to ape mode.

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    2. To answer your second question; people set aside their morality because of that fear that faces them. Fear is a huge motivator whether it be good or bad. It drives people to become something they are not or reveal the person the have always been. People set aside their morality and such because they are simply scared of what will happen if they don't.

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    3. In answer to your critical question, in general, think that most people let go of their morals and go along with everyone else because they don't want to be considered weird or different. In times if fear on the other hand, I think people go along with the crowd for a sense of protection in the hope of everything being alright in the future.

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  12. 4. Allegory is defined as a story, poem, or picture that reveals a hidden meaning within itself. Throughout the Crucible, many events, characters and facets all unite to compose a deeper message, the effects hysteria and fear cause within a community. A specific event that reveals this is the instance of the actions of the people of Salem, functioning in ways that they they would not usually be moved to do. Fear acts as terror that has been infused with the minds of the people in Salem. Earlier in the text it mentions “Long- held hatreds of neighbors could now be openly expressed and vengeance taken, despite the Bibles charitable injunctions”(Miller, Act 1, pg.7). The people of Salem have seized the witch trials as an opportunity to blame others for previous resentments, leading them to involve various irrelevant factors with being in contact with the Devil. This displays how fear can truly alter the thinking of individuals and cause them to act in abnormal ways as well as second guess the intentions of their counterparts and questioning their innocence. Fear plays a large part in this story, and is essentially the catalyst to the result of many events. Another instance where this is used is in the case of the questioning and assumptions that are used by the court to make the people of Salem appear guilty. Reverend Hale displays this as he is accusing Tituba,he states: “When the Devil comes to you does he ever come with another person? Perhaps another person in the village? Someone you know” (Miller,Act 1, 43). This statement is made by Hale as he is striving to uncover the truth behind the suspicious activities that Tituba and the girls partook in. These questions that are being asked appear to be ones that are not based on facts, but assumption. It appears to be that during the course of the witch trials, the evidence and charges that were made were merely questions that were brought up on speculation and act of thought. This is an example of how the witch trials were similar to the 1950’s red scare. McCarthyism, or the practice of making accusations without proper reason was implemented in both of these occurrences during the trials. These two events are similar in many ways, including the way of which fear way manifested. During the witch trials it was the fear of the Devil and in the 1950’s it was the fear of Russia’s nuclear capability. Both with their similarities, the two events display the results of radicalism. This is the allegory that is being used in Millers novel. The witch trials of Salem and the rise of McCarthyism parallel to one another as they both resemble the products of the manifestation of fear. These two events, although taking place at various times and are in regard to one another in the same lines and match up in similar ways.

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  13. 2. For me the most powerful quote was from Elizabeth and John talking about John’s morality, “‘Proctor: I cannot mount the giblet like a saint. It is a fraud. I am not that man. She is silent. My honesty is broke, Elizabeth; I am no good man. Nothing’s spoiled by giving them this lie that were not rotten long before. Elizabeth: And yet you’ve not confessed till now. That speak goodness in you.’” (pg. 126). I think this is something I relate to a lot which is what makes it so powerful to me. I like that he is so eloquent in his phrasing and then the contrast between that and Elizabeth’s plainness in her response. It shows Proctor’s internal struggle for the past year. This new found closeness between the couple really makes me smile but it also makes me want to cry a little. It is very bittersweet and the main things that call out to me are things that have a rough edge to them and this scene is a butter knife; it doesn’t seem to be that bad but it can inflict a lot of damage despite it’s seemingly innocent exterior. The pair’s anguish over the events of the last year are very apparent as long as you can read between lines. They are dying inside because they can’t fix everything that has gone wrong. I like the metaphor that Proctor uses, though I’m not entirely sure it can be called a metaphor, comparing himself to something that spoils.

    3. Really the only person who can use their own judgement in this scene is Danforth and that affects how everyone around him perceives things. The people around him all pick up on the fact that you will likely be able to sway him in your favor with the right words and use that to their advantage. Hale does try to sway him but is not as successful as Parris, “Danforth: Conciliatory. You misunderstand, sir; I cannot pardon these when twelve are already hanged for the same crime. It is not just.’” (pg. 119). Danforth shows that he is not all that he says he is; he shows his own hypocrisy while explaining in a sensible manner why he cannot do pardon those who were to hang that morning. He speaks as though talking to a child in my mind, he is trying to calm a child who just won’t have it.

    4. This play is extremely diverse in the ways it can be applied to the world today. I think that Abigail, the girls, and Parris are all characters that could represent the leaders of the ‘Witch Hunts’ of the 1950s. They are all desperate for attention, but after a little while Abigail and some of the leaders I think all realize what they are doing is wrong but they are too deep to climb back out of the hole they made. The event of Mary Warren going in to testify against the girls but not being able to in the end can be symbolic of mankind's continual struggle between what they know is right and what is wrong and how they are going to act on this knowledge. It can go back to Adam and Eve or Cain and Abel, they are all stuck between good and bad and can’t decide what to do. Cain and Eve both end up taking the easy way out. John Proctor is the opposite of this, he shows the same struggle in the last act when he almost admits to witchcraft but unlike the rest he goes back to what he knows to be right. Though it was most certainly a difficult decision he feels much happier with it in the end. Proctor chose the high road and that choice was what created a thread of white in his being.

    What does Giles symbolize? Why does Miller include his character?

    At what point do you say enough is enough and give in to something, the way Giles did not?

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    1. @Jennifer:

      To answer your second question, I really think that it depends on the person you are, how much you believe in the cause that you are fighting for, and how stubborn you are. I personally am not a stubborn person and will give in to try and avoid conflict. People like my sister though are super stubborn and will never give in no matter how many problems it causes. When Proctor is asked to sign his confession he responds, “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies!” (Miller 143). Proctor doesn’t want to give in because he doesn’t believe in lying. It is always good to stand up for what you believe in but if it goes as far as death it is always good to look at what your morals are. Proctor decided that lying, giving in to Abigail’s power, and damning his soul wasn’t worth his life so he decided to die rather than give into it.

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  14. 1. Throughout this book, many people fall into the paranoia of witchcraft but there are people to blame for the start of the issue. Not only one person, but I believe three people are to be blamed for starting the hysteria and that is Abigail and the judges. Obviously Abigail had a large part in starting this, along with all of the other girls, but they simply just copied and followed the actions of Abigail. This lead to the judges who, for some odd reason, continued to believe the strange occurrences. Abigail has no power to hang people, but the judges do, and they fell into the city wide hysteria, possibly more than anyone else, because the questions that they asked those that were accused are one sided, and that side being that they must be witches. This is what happened to Proctor; they would not let him be free unless he confessed to seeing the devil. The hangings in Salem started with an individual, but very quickly, it became a town full of paranoid people. You can see this in the first act when, almost immediately after Tituba in accused of witchcraft, and she confesses that she saw Goody Osburn with the devil on page 47, Mrs. Putnam acts as if she knew Goody Osburn was a witch and killed her children. Without any proof, but just the words of a slave, already one person is in the paranoia of witchcraft.

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  15. 2. The most emotion provoking part of act 4 was on page 135, when Elizabeth explains to Proctor, “He (Giles) were not hanged. He would not answer aye or nay to his indictment…” and a few lines later she explains how he dies by saying, “They press him, John… Great stones lay upon his chest until he plead aye or nay… They say he give them but two words. ‘More weight,’ he says. And died.” This part impacted me a lot, because of all the hysteria and paranoia happening in the town, there were still a few good men who still had their wits. Giles was one of them, but he paid the price for doing nothing and keeping within his religion, unlike others who had no punishment. This was a final act of how the court had gone off the deep end and no longer had justice with them, but fear of the Devil.

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  16. 4. One of the first allegories I noticed in this act was on page 124, Danforth describes how, ”There is a prodigious stench in this place.” By this place, he is obviously talking about the jail cells he is walking around, but “the stench” is the part of the quote that could have a deeper meaning. In the jail that Danforth is walking around, it is all of the people who have been wrongly accused of witchcraft and have not confessed or seeing the devil, and the smell could be, on first level thinking, the people themselves since they had been in the cells for about six months. But the smell could also be the injustice and impurity among the people. While some of them, such as Proctor, are in jail for righteous reasons, there are still those who have been unholy and gone against their religion who now must pay the price for their wrongdoings. One could take it to the next level and say that the stench is not just in the jail, it is throughout the whole town. And this stench is of hysteria and paranoia and betrayal of friends. Also, in this act, another allegory is when Cheever tells Danforth, “I think it be the cows, sir.” He goes on to explain how now that so many people are dead or in jail, the cows they own are now just wandering around the town. They continue this discussion for a few more lines and one would think it is just a random plot point, but also there could be deeper meaning to the cows. I believe these cows represent the people lest in the town, those who have not been accused, because now, their religion is gone, their sanity is gone, and they are, metaphorically, wandering around. The people are looking for the next person to accuse because of their paranoia. A big part of this is their loss of religion

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  17. 1. I think when it comes down to how all of this started, Parris is the one to blame for the initial spark of the hysteria. Parris is the one who caught all the girls dancing in the forest but lied about what really happened. Parris is also the one who called for Hale to come examine the girls in the beginning of the book. Even though Parris sparked the hysteria, he is not the only one to blame for the madness that was the fire that followed. The townspeople took the notion of the devil being loose in salem and ran with it like if they didn’t they would be damned. So really Parris started it all but the town no doubt kept fueling the fire of the madness. As to can the townspeople be excused; I think not. I think it both has to do with cultural hysteria in a lot of ways, but also many of them need to look at the horrible things they did and judge none other but themselves. Kind of like John Proctor did at the end of act four. “John, it come to naught that I should forgive you, if you’ll not forgive yourself. It is not my soul, John, it is yours.” (Miller 136) Proctor comes to realize he is his own judge and that his judgement of himself is the only one that matters. A similar situation happens with Hale; he realizes the lies that had occurred under his supervision and under his signature. “I have sought a Christian way, for damnation’s doubled on a minister who counsels men to lie.” (Miller 132) In this act, and especially the end we truly see people regret the actions they have made. Even Parris seems shaky towards the end and when Proctor decide to hang; Parris and Hale broke.


    2. Proctor had the biggest impact on me in this act. Proctor had many quotes that I thought to be the best out of the whole book. Especially when he is arguing back and forth with Danforth. “Give them no tear! Tears pleasure them! Show honor now, show a stony heart and sink them with it!” (Miller 144) Proctor, at this point in the book, knows who he is and the way he wants to go out. He will not give into the evils of the court and Parris but instead stand with his head held high with confidence and self judgement. This quote was the most powerful because it showed the good in John that he always had. It shows that he now knows he is the one who must judge himself and that a weight has been lifted off of his shoulders and onto the shoulders of those such as Danforth and Parris.


    4. One character who could represent the time of the red scare is Danforth. In the book Danforth no doubt had all the power when it came to deciding fates of those accused. He represents those who judged people on whether or not they were communists. Also the way he phrased and inflicted his questions could be mirrored to how the proceedings went during the cold war. The way he talked it was pretty much as if you were guilty no matter what you said. John Proctor could easily represent those who stood against what was happening at the time of the red scare; such as Arthur Miller himself. “How may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?” (Miller 143) Proctor show the light of not selling out friends for the sake of morale dignity. Miller could represent Proctor easily as well as all those who stood up for the rights of their friends at the time. On the other hand the townspeople themselves could represent those who turned their backs to their neighbors or even accused them of being communists during the red scare. The people of the time during the cold war, began to think and fear the fact that maybe there neighbor is a communist or maybe they would accuse them just because they didn’t like them. Exactly like it happened in The Crucible.


    Int- What conclusion can be drawn about John Proctor’s emotions and state of being at the end of the act?


    Crit- How do you think Proctor, Hale, and Danforth fit into Miller’s allegory to the Cold War?

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  18. 2. Act 4 was a very interesting and emotional section of the book. The exchange between Proctor and his wife really showed the radical views of some of the villagers. The pressing of Giles Corey was also very powerful. But the most powerful part of the whole reading was when Proctor confessed. Proctor lied and confessed to witchcraft and signed the paper but after he did he took the paper. This leads to the most emotionally charged quote of the play. Judge Danforth wanted the paper back to show the village but in response Proctor yelled, “Damn the village! I confess to God, and God has seen my name on this! It is enough!” Proctor was a Puritan living in a Puritan village, God was the ruler, the law. Proctor was showing that he was right by law and that what these people were doing was not right. God was law and Proctor knew that not the reverends and the judges. Proctor also burns the village. The whole village, everyone that relies on that village to survive. Those people need the buildings and each other to survive. Proctor is done with the village so either the village is done with him or the village will have to change to keep him.


    3. Individual judgement is very evident in this passage. It is introduced early in the book when Elizabeth is talking to Proctor in their house. She said that the magistrate sits in your heart. Only Proctor can judge what Proctor did. Then it comes back up later when they are talking before Proctor is to be hanged. She tells him that she can not judge him. Then after he has confessed, signed, and taken the paper Proctor proclaims, “You will not use me! I am no Sarah Good or Tituba, I am John Proctor! You will not me! It is no part of salvation that you should use me!” He refuses to be used against his friends. He is done with being judged and used. Proctor has Judged himself and found himself guilty. Living with that is punishment enough, there is no need to ruin him anymore. Proctor is the protagonist, the hero, and he judges himself harshly while all of the others in the village are judging each other. If they all would have been judging themselves and not others then they would not have been in this mess to start with.



    4. The Crucible was written in 1953 during the time of MccArthyism. I found it very interesting how the two time periods overlapped. The book is set in pre revolution Massachusetts. That was a very big place at the time. No one knew what was going to happen in the Americas. This caused a kind of hysteria that was demonstrated in the witch hunts. Also in 1953 The United States had just come out of WWII a superpower and now they were dealing with the Cold War. In both times there is widespread hysteria that is manifested in “Witch Hunts.” Arthur Miller choose the setting of his play very well. By setting it in the past he made it easier for readers to understand what he went through. He was on the front lines of a major event in history, America’s rise to becoming a superpower. His characters are on the front lines of their own major event, the colonization of America. They were living in a new strange world and they had no idea what would happen to them but as you look back you see that they played as big a role in American prehistory as the people MccArthyism did.


    Why did the people of Salem call for Hale and the Judges?
    What can you do when everyone is against you and everything you and your family have is on the line?

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    1. To answer your second question: When everyone is against you and so much is on the line most people will do whatever it takes to save those they care about even if it means going against what they believe. Most people give in. Ideally you should stay strong and just hold your ground; but of course this all depends on the situation. Like with Proctor at the end of the act; he stands his ground next to his wife and accepts his death because he knows tit is the right thing to do.

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    2. For the first question: They originally call Hale because he was good at unearthing the extraordinary. They believed that he could help solve the problem with the two girls at the beginning, but when the problem got out of hand quickly and his authority, "These books are weighted with authority." had come crashing down. As with the judges, I think they became involved because the town felt that when the case became so large, that they needed the best in the business so they called them in. At the end their call for help with the judges and Hale wasn't worth it because they either fell in (judges) or out (Hale) of craze of the trial proceedings.

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  19. JohnM
    In the beginning of the act I thought Proctor was enraged that he would have to lie to save his wife. But after he tore up the confession I think he was elated. He was happy that he would go to his grave with his head held high, without selling his soul, and with his name intact.

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  20. Ethan B
    Danforth did not accuse anyone. He was a judge that was called in to rule over the trials. Why would he feel bad that he signed so many death warrants? Because he is human and humans abhor all death. I'm not sure if it was Danforth but one of the judges later admitted that what they did in Salem was wrong.

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  21. 1) You may argue that Abigail is too blame, or Reverend Parris or perhaps all of the girls, or that perhaps, in the end, the true culprits were escalating paranoia and poor foundation of values, both religious and personal in the society. It is easy to place the blame on Abigail as she was the first to make an accusation, and that accusation landed on Tituba’s shoulder. This created a rippling effect throughout the town that escalated till scores of innocent people were hanged. On page 115 Abigail yells: “Oh, Mary, this is a black art to change your shape. No, I cannot, I cannot stop my mouth; it’s God’s work I do”. Abigail led the girls to convict innocent people in order to cover up her own mistakes. However, as seen in act four, even with Abigail fled and the rest of the girls absent, the hysteria was still present within the remaining cast and can therefore not be blamed upon the girls entirely. On page 128 Parris in his fear cries out: “Tonight, when I open my door to leave my house- a dagger clattered to the ground”. Parris is in danger too, showing that though he lent his own hand to the building insanity in Salem, he was not safe from it. Nobody in Salem is safe and Miller demonstrates this through the people of Salem’s lust for blood and vengeance, giving us evidence that it was not individuals’ faults that the events took place, but mass hysteria within the town.

    2)Pg. 144 Rebecca: I’ve had no breakfast.
    This quote really speaks to me as I can relate strongly to it. The feeling of not eating breakfast, especially on a big day, is one of the worst that you can have. The quote created a strong emotional response to me for as I read it my own hunger increased as well, as if I shared some sort of connection to Nurse. This shows the Miller has the creative and literary ability to evoke powerful physical and emotional feelings within his audience. The short sentence also shows that Rebecca’s hunger creates a sense of urgency within herself. Moreover, Miller used this particular choice of words to show that though the word idea is simple, her message and voice is emotionally charged.

    2) (For real) pg. 145 Elizabeth, supporting herself against collapse, grips the bars of the window, and with a cry: He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him.
    The last dialogue of the play carries enormous emotional significance, both within the words and through the stage directions. The stage directions show that much of the emotion isn’t in her voice but in her actions. Miller uses it show that inside Elizabeth is practically dead from an overwhelming sense of loss and helplessness. She can barley hold herself up and is on the verge of collapse. Elizabeth is also so racked with so much emotion that she can only get out a sob. In contradiction to her actions, Elizabeth attempts to stay strong as she promised John. The quote shows that she has finally accepted Johns fate, and that she knows that her true love, however cliché, is going to die today and there is nothing that she can do about it. On the opposite side of the emotional spectrum, she knows now that God will forgive him. This can be proved by her choice in the words, “God forbid”, in reference to John having been forgiven by the Lord. Miller’s last lines are meant to provoke a strong emotional response within his audience and he accomplishes it through strong actions and a plethora of contradiction emotion within the words.


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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Continued:
      4) One allegory from the play is Abigail representing McCarthy in real life. Both accuse people of being witches, or in McCarthy’s case communists, in order to maintain their own status within their respective communities. A second allegory is the slave Tituba representing the film director Elia Kazan who testified against many of his peers in the film business during the Red Scare. Tituba escalated the whole ordeal when proclaiming, “And I look- and there was Goody Good,” and later “Aye, sir, and Goody Osborn”. Both people made accusations near the beginning of the situations that helped to start the hysteria that would eventually sweep their worlds.

      Questions:
      I: Was John's decision the right one?
      C: What does the book teach us about human nature?

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    3. Nick, to answer your first question, I believe Proctor did not do the right thing. It would have been better if he chose one path or another, but instead, he started to confess but pulled out because he did not want people to see him badly. I would respect Proctor a lot more if would have just died for not confessing, or even for confessing to be with his wife. Proctors decisions in the end of the book ruined his name, even though he died,

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    4. Davis I would have to disagree with you. In the end he did not truly confess he, Dunforth would not accept it unless John gave him the signed paper and because he did not it wasn't a real confession. I believe that the point of this ending is to show that after all of his suffering John made the right decision. Miller could have left it all out and just had John refuse to confess but added it so it could be more dramatic and emotionally charged ending, showing us that Miller believed that it was the right decision.

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    5. Nick, in response to your second question, The Crucible teaches us many things about human nature, most importantly, the idea of conformity. Danforth tells the court that in order for a person to save their life in Salem, they must conform to and follow the codes of Puritan society, “DANFORTH:You must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between. This is a sharp time, now, a precise time—we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world.” (Miller 87). Humans have always had a tendency to conform and this play portrays that. We would rather compromise our principles than be killed.

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    6. Nick-Critical Question Response:
      This book teaches the reader much about human nature; pride, sin, power, greed, evil, good, guilt, shame, blame, confession, weakness, strengths, love, hate, confusion, misinterpretation, anger, spite, and much more. However, the most important element of human nature that Miller wanted to show the reader includes how naturally, humans tend to abuse power for selfishness when they can get away with it. Abigail is a great example of this, because she blames many people for things which they didn't do, yet she gets away with them because she has a position of power. Puritans believed that children cannot do bad things, and Abigail hid behind that claim to cover up for her abominations. Miller illustrates this when Tituba confesses to witchcraft and Abigail joins in the blame of others who she 'saw' with the devil, "I saw Goody Sibber with the devil: (stage notes)It is rising to a glee" (Miller I, 48). As shown, Abigail abused her power and blamed people that she didn't like because she could get away with it and she found pleasure in the persecution of her enemies. Thus, Miller has shown us the human nature to abuse power.

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  22. 1. I believe that those most at fault are the people overall. The Salem public allowed themselves to get caught up in the chaos and confusion; they chose to believe the girls’ ridiculous lies and even began to accuse their own friends and neighbors. Along with the girls, the public was motivated by vengeance and hatred, and used the witch hunt as an opportunity to vent these strong emotions. This is clearly observed by a few characters, as Proctor states “vengeance is walking Salem. We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!” (Miller 73). Hale also defines this once Elizabeth has been removed from the court, saying, “I may shut my conscience to it no more-- private vengeance is working through this testimony!” (Miller 105). Cultural hysteria and anxiety is no excuse for the awful things that happened; throughout the play, the people of Salem had many choices, and they let the fear take over.
    The girls may have initiated the terror, but it would not have escalated so ferociously if the civilians chose not to let it. Still, Abigail was the one who ordered the rest of the girls to lie with her, threatening, “Now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam’s dead sisters. And that is all. And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you,” (Miller 19). She was the first of the girls to take advantage of the adults’ trust in her, such as when she put her word against Tituba, saying, “She [Tituba] send her spirit on me in church… She comes to me every night to go and drink blood… She always making me dream corruptions!” (Miller 41). She was the one who started the crazy series of accusations. If Abigail had not taken charge, she would not have spurred the events that soon followed.

    2. John Proctor’s personal judgement and opinion of himself is what helps him decide to falsely confess and accept punishment instead of death. He explains to Elizabeth that he has lost his honesty and goodness long ago, admitting, “My honesty is broke, Elizabeth; I am no good man. Nothing’s spoiled by giving them this lie that were not rotten long before,” (Miller 126). He assures Elizabeth that it is okay if he lies now because much of his morality has already been lost. His name had already been ruined, so he claimed to see no issue with lying at that moment. If Proctor did not feel this way about himself he may not have wanted to sacrifice his name and lie; if he had a good name for all his life, he would not have decided to destroy it then.
    Although Proctor does not end up going through with his confession to witchcraft, the time when he considers it displays the relationship between him and Elizabeth and shows more of his character and inner conflicts. These elements were significant in order to observe the changes that these characters exhibited as a result of the witch craze; this concept of how anxiety and fear can alter people is an important idea throughout the play.

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  24. 4. Miller’s _The Crucible_ clearly has political meaning and parallels aspects of the Red Scare in the United States. Abigail plays a part close to the role of Joseph McCarthy; while she utilizes false accusations and lies, McCarthy claimed to have a list of over 200 names of known Communists in the American State Department. Both Abigail and McCarthy exhibited McCarthyism in these ways by making accusations without solid evidence. During Miller’s play and the Red Scare, trials occurred in similar fashion. Those who confessed were asked to name other Communists, just the confessors in The Crucible claimed to have seen other people with the Devil. This thread of claims and accusations contributed to the quick escalation of both the witch craze and the Red Scare. Being suspected of even being associated with a communist was still very traitorous and ruined many people’s reputations in this way, as well. Similarly, accused witches involved other acquaintances in their claims, which destroy many civilians’ honors and even condemned them. For example, after admitting to witchcraft, Tituba continues to lie, claiming, “...he [the Devil] come one stormy night to me… and I look-- and there was Goody Good,” (Miller 44). This, of course, has brought Sarah Good into the issue.
    Around the time of the Red Scare, if a civilian did not agree with the government they were considered suspicious and were subject to being accused of communism and treason. Likewise, Hale is wary of John Proctor when he is unable to prove the strength of “the Christian character of his house”; Proctor admits that he had not attended church often, his children were not baptized, and he was unable to name all Ten Commandments. When Proctor explains that his inability to name the last of the Commandments is a small fault, Hale states, “Theology, sir, is a fortress; no crack in a fortress may be accounted small. He rises; he seems worried now. He paces a little, deep in thought,” (Miller 64). This behavior was unlike the religious commitment of many other Salemites and was considered irregular, which placed Proctor under the suspicion of Hale and others. In this same way, negative or unusual attitude towards the government could possibly have landed many others under the suspicion of their peers and the public during the Red Scare. In times of fear and crisis, any small irregularity can easily be blown out of proportion.


    Why does John Proctor justify why he can falsely confess to Elizabeth but then not go through with it? Why is his name, his honor, his integrity so important to him?

    How does one’s personal religion and beliefs affect their behavior and actions? Why can these things change during and after traumatic events? How are these things affected by hysteria and anxiety?

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    1. Faith, in response to your second question, I think it depends on the religion of the person you are speaking of. For example, there are many religions that believe after you confess and believe in God, you do not have to prove anything else and go on with your life not having to be a perfect person. Also, there is the opposing side that believes the better you do in this life, it will lead to better rewards, whether that is reincarnation or going to heaven. Traumatic events definitely change peoples opinions on the supernatural and whether there is a god or not. I believe hysteria may not effect religion, but it will effect ones lifestyle. Just like in this book, the religion of the people is not pulled away, but the people are pulled away from the religion because they are focused on the fear of their fellow citizens.

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    2. Faith, to answer your critical level thinking question, I personally believe that the actions and behaviors of many individuals are molded by their religious beliefs to a certain extent. It solely lies in the degree of which one values the spiritual fundamentals that all religions share and their decision to abide by their moral obligations as human beings. Religion can define how a person interacts with humanity, but it is primarily in the acceptance of virtues and spiritual aspects that shapes who we are as human beings. Proctor is an example of this, although he does not attend church, nor knows all of the 10 commandments, he appears to be the character in the story with firm set moral standards. This is evident when he confesses to his affair with Abigail and tears up the paper in regard to his conviction of witchcraft. He does not let fear and hysteria blind him to not be able to see his morals and set virtues. This is something that is very difficult for many individuals to grasp. In times of challenge and anxiety, it is easy for one to forget who they are as human beings and what their aspirations are for themselves and humanity, however it is the ones who stand firm in their beliefs that are able to shield these forces.

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    3. Flaith, to answer the critical question, I think that Proctor resisted confessing falsely to anyone. Once he made the decision to confess, he became, yet again, what he loathed. With the entry of Rebecca Nurse is where I believe he truly began to doubt his actions. Rebecca and Giles, and others like them, who carried less sin than Proctor himself refused to save themselves. Rebecca was looked upon as a saint, and did not confess. He had to look straight at his hypocrisy and then faltered. In the end he decided to commit an action that recounted all he had done before. Giles died with saying, "more weight", he decided to also die with such dignity. Proctor is hardly a saintly man, but unlike so many others he finally refused to give in. It is less his name than standing for morals.

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    4. To answer your critical question Faith, I think that religion has everything to do with our behavior and actions, because the way you present yourself is a huge component in religion. All religions have laws, and therefore to be apart of it you must abide by these laws. In Salem especially these religious laws shape how the community functions, which because these people have been immersed in this culture all their lives it's really all they know causing them to not strive from it. But traumatic events can change peoples' actions, because of the stress and pressure that is put on them. Some religious people follow their beliefs to a tee, because it is what they are and what they believe in, while others may put up the from that this these morals are their core belief, when in reality it is just a cover to fit in. These are the people that who are most affected by this mass hysteria, because they don't have a strong belief system, therefore are easily pulled in another direction.

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  25. Question:
    I: What is more important to Proctor, his life or his reputation?
    C: How far should someone go to protect their reputation?

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    1. To answer your first question Davis, I believe that Proctor definitely values his life over his reputation. Proctor openly reveals his sin of adultery to the court when he exclaims, “God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whore’s vengeance, and you must see it; I set myself entirely in your hands” (Miller 102). Proctor knows that his reputation will be ruined, yet he still confesses the truth in order to put an end to the witch trials and to spare his wife’s life. This implies that Proctor does not care about what others think of him, rather he’s willing to do whatever it takes to save the lives of all the convicted innocent people.

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    2. I: Proctor shows that he cares more for his reputation than his life when he refuses to sign his testimony that proves his confession. Danforth questions this and in response, John cries, "Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" (Miller 133). His decision to accept his hanging instead of falsely confessing in order to live shows that his reputation, his honor, his integrity mean more to him than the rest of his life. Proctor sees no reason to continue to live if he has given away his name and fallen short of his own morals. He would rather die with the honor and goodness that still remains in him.
      C: Of course, this depends on the person in question and how much they value their reputation. However, once material values like money and possessions are taken away, one of the values that still remains is a person's reputation and honor. A reputation is also something that a person will always own; it can be destroy, ruined, depleted, but it cannot be removed entirely. This kind of value, one that cannot be lost or extracted from someone, is a worthy thing to fight for and protect. Thus, it is understandable when one goes to great lengths to save their reputation.

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    3. Davis, continuing off of my responses, do you think it's selfish of Proctor to care so much for his reputation? Elizabeth tells him that she would rather he confess, stating, "I want you living, John. That's sure," (Miller 125). Is Proctor's own honor more important to him than his family? Is it morally justifiable for him to die having preserved what is left of his name instead of falsely confessing in order to live for his family?

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    4. Davis, to answer your interprative question I believe that Proctor in the situation his is in in Act 4 vaules his life over his name, until he is put in the situation at the end of Act 4. Near the end of Act 4 Proctor come to the relization that he will hang, and since they are going to take his life he alreast want his name to be clean. Proctor states " Because it is my name! I cannot have another life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I love without my name? I have given you my soul: leave me my name!" (Miller Act 4 pg 133). I think that Proctor has always valued his life over his name, but when he came to the relization that he wasn't going to beable to keep his life he wanted to aleast beable to keep his name.

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  26. 2. The quote that I thought was the most powerful was, “Woman, plead with him! He starts to rush out the door, then goes back to her. Woman! It is pride, it is vanity! She avoids his eyes, and moves to the window. He drops to his knees. Be his helper!- What profit him to bleed? Shall the dust praise him? Shall the worms declare his truth?” (Miller 145). Hale is desperately trying to plead with Elizabeth to save Proctor’s life, but there is nothing she will do. Hale feels so much guilt because the trials really started because of him. This quote shows all the overwhelming emotion about the regret that Hale feels now and hopefully what others will feel later.


    3. Individual judgement plays a role in this act because there is no hard evidence that any of the people were witches or that any of the girls were really victims of witchcraft. The only way one thought that they were a witch or they were not a witch was if they personally thought they were. When Danforth talks about witchcrafter he claims, “But witchcraft is ispo facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime, is it not? Therefore, who may possible be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None other” (Miller 100). Since the witch and the victim are the only people who know for sure it the claims are truth or lie, it is up to personal judgement for the onlookers to decide for themselves. Also when Danforth questions Proctor he speculates, “Proctor, you mistake me. I am not empowered to trade your life for a lie. You have most certainly seen some person with the devil” (Miller 140). It is Danforth’s personal judgement that someone else must have talked to the devil with Proctor. If it were not for personal judgement, the witch trials wouldn’t have happened.


    4. Throughout reading The Crucible, I found many similarities between the book and The Cold War. In the very first scene of the play people are worried about what happened to Betty, and with worry comes the look for someone to blame. Mrs. Putnam was one of the most worried, “They were murdered, Mr. Parris! And mark this proof! Mark it! Last night my Ruth were ever so close to their little spirits; I know, sir. For how else is she struck dumb now except some power of darkness would stop her mouth?” (Miller 16). Mrs. Putnam has already lost so much and the idea that she could lose her only child terrifies her. It is not satisfying enough that there is nothing to blame for it, so she looks for something to blame, the devil. During The Cold War people were scared so they looked for a face to put with communism, not caring if they belonged together or not. Another parallel of The Cold War and The Salem Witch Trials is that there was one person who sort of instigated the blame. In salem it was Abigail, “Abigail brings the other girls into the court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel. And folks are brought before them, and if they scream and howl and fall to the floor- the person’s clapped in the jail for bewitchin’ them” (Miller 53). Abigail started blaming people of being witches and McCarthy blamed people for being communist. Both had no evidence to blame who they did, people believed both of them, and lots of lives were ruined because of them. Miller used The Crucible to express his feeling about what was happening in America and through the book he tries to expose how wrong the McCarthy Trials were.


    Questions:

    1) Do you think Proctor made the right decision by choosing to die rather than live a lie?
    2) If you were put in a situation like the Salem Witch Trials or the McCarthy trials, would you rather go around not knowing who the traitors are or falsely accuse majority of the people hoping that you may catch one guilty person?

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    1. Nicole, in reply to your question at the end, my opinion on the matter is that Proctor made the right decision for himself. If I were put in that situation I would be too fearful to lose my life so suddenly, but Proctor is a much stronger person that has much pride, therefore he chose the right path for him. The character that Proctor evolved to be throughout the book would certainly be willing to die just to know he wasn't living a life full of lies.

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    2. In response to your first question, I personally believe that Proctor made the right choice. Although his decision results in his death, he gains his goodness back that was taken when he commited adultery. He saves himself from a life of guilt by not signing away his name on the confession. The end of this act bring up the question, what is worth more, your honor or your life?

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    3. In answer to your critical thinking question, I would not prefer to do either. I would want to do something like Proctor and Giles, try to stop the court. The Red Scare trials were ruining peoples' reputations, no matter who they were. It would have been hard to get a decent job after being accused. and I think that being put in a situation like that is not just. For either of the trials, it was unfair to the accused because no matter what you said, you were pretty much already down the social drain. So, I would not accuse people nor would I sit by idly. I would try to do something to stop the trials.

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  27. 1. The blame does not revolve around a single person rather it is the work as a whole that should be credited for what took place. One may argue that Abigail was the creator and originator of the hysteria, which is somewhat true, as she exclaims, “And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you” (Miller 19). On the other hand, the witch trials could not have taken place or gained such momentum with just a single person. Tituba and Hale are the first to people to get carried away in the cultural hysteria during the first act, “HALE, resolved now: Tituba, I want you to wake this child. TITUBA: I have no power on this child, sir. HALE: You most certainly do, and you will free her from it now! When did you compact with the Devil? TITUBA: I don't compact with no Devil!” (Miller 42). As more and more people accuse and confess to witchcraft, the whole society--excluding the ones who recognize how wrong the situation and attempt to take action (like Proctor)-- is at fault for the trials.

    2. For me, the most powerful part of this Act was when Proctor revealed his sin of adultery to the public, “PROCTOR: A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know it now. I beg you, sir, I beg you—see her what she is. . . . She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whore’s vengeance, and you must see it; I set myself entirely in your hands” (Miller 102). The reason why this quote was so powerful is because it encompasses the honest character of John Proctor, who sacrifices his good name in the town of Salem just so he may have a chance to save his wife’s life. Not only is Proctor a role model for the town of Salem, showing synonymsbut he is also inspirational for me due to his extraordinary character. For Proctor to commit such a selfless act it takes an enormous amount of courage: a trait that has been scarce throughout this book.

    4. The entire play shows the connection between the Salem witch trials, and the McCarthy witch hunts, by displaying how society responds to things that they have no explanation for. During the Salem trials, 34 people were hung for witchcraft, all of which were singled out for doing things that went against social norms of a strict Puritan society. Also, because the trials were dealing with witchcraft and children were thought to always be honest, there was almost no evidence against the innocent people who were condemned. Like the Salem witch hunts, Senator McCarthy interrogated and arrested thousands of people, accusing them of being Communists with little or no evidence. During the hearings, those who tried to defend the people whom McCarthy accused were themselves accused. Similar to the McCarthy hearings, those in Salem who signed the deposition stating that Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse were good Christian women ended up being arrested. In reality, very few of those arrested were guilty, and most of the accusations were unjustified.





    Why are Danforth, Hathorne, and the other authorities so resistant to believing the claim that Abigail and the other girls are lying?

    Why does Proctor confess lechery? Why does Elizabeth deny John’s relationship with Abigail?

    How does religion govern the way someone carries out their life?

    Are religious people always more virtuous than non-religious people?

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    Replies
    1. In response to your first question, the authorities refuse to believe it because they want to uphold their reputation. In this town, people action's usually can lead back to their want of a good reputation. If Danforth, Hawthorne, and others had considered that they were previously wrong, people would be mad at them because then the previous hangings would've been wrong.

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    2. Also for the first question: Remember in the Puritan belief, they thought all children could not lie. When Mary and Proctor bring up the claim, the judges are shocked and cannot believe them at first. At that point if they found out all the hangings were fake then they would lose their authority and reputation.

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    3. Are religious people always more virtuous than non-religious people?

      To answer your question Thadeous I don't think that religious people are more virtuous than non-religious people, infact I think that they are pretty much the same. I think people forget that you do need to be a part of a religion to have a belief system. A person is still be virtuous and not be a part of a religion. Though belonging to a religion could help a person be more virtuous, because they are being held accountable for it, but I don't believe that you need religion to have moral values.

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  28. 1. The blame for what happened in Salem can be place on many people’s (multiple or only one’s) shoulders. The crying out against others first started with Tituba but soon after, others followed her and brought the accusation to the next level. In Act One, Hale and Parris are questioning and questioning Tituba until she confesses that she is a witch. “And I look - and there was Goody Good” (Miller 44). This was the first official accusation against another. After this Abigail soon confesses too. Betty and the other girls soon follow also. Although Tituba was the first, Abigail is more at fault for what happen in Salem because she brought it to a higher level. While one person can be blamed, many people are responsible for the mess of the witch trials. Multiple people accused others so they would not die. Danforth and Hawthorne believed the girls and didn’t think of the possibility that they could lie. “Danforth: Ah? And the other girls? Susanna Walcott, and - the others? They are also pretending? Mary Warren: Aye, sir. Danforth, wide eyed: Indeed. Pause. He is baffled by this.” (Miller 82). Danforth never considered that the girls could be misleading him. He is one part of many reasons that the accusations of witches got out of control.

    2. The end of the story was a momentous and exciting one. When Proctor confesses but will not sign the confession, he realizes that he must die with honor to keep his good name. “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” (Miller 133). This was very powerful to me because in today’s society, the way that others view of us is very important. In some cases we have the choice to lie and cheat to uphold our image. Some will crumble under the pressure and others will not. If we crumble, then we still would have a good image but then guilt would eat at us. If we don’t then others will perceive us badly but we would know within ourselves that we made the right choice. When these opportunities come to us, it is hard to make a choice. Proctor made the choice of not lying, therefore he had internal righteousness but others viewed him negatively.

    4. This play mainly related to McCarthyism when Miller wrote it and the people, events, and settings can be tied back to the 1950’s. The girls and many villagers, out of fear, fell prey to Abigail’s control and power. “Now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam’s dead sisters. And that is all. And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you. And you know I can do it,” (Miller 19). Relating to the McCarthyism time period, many people in Hollywood and the government accused others of being communists out of fear too. Not only does the people in the play relate to McCarthyism but settings can be allegories . The forest in Salem is a forbidden place. Puritans believe that forests are the devil’s domain. Though in the play, the people failed to realize that the chaos that was happening came from within them. During the McCarthy time period, communists were feared and thought to be evil. People thought that the trouble was coming from Russia (the forest) but it was really coming from themselves. “The Salem folk believed that the virgin forest was the Devil’s last preserve, his home base and the citadel of his final stand. To the best of their knowledge the American forest was the last place on earth that was not paying homage to God. Abigail and the forest are both good allegories that can relate back to the McCarthy time period.

    Questions:
    1. Is John Proctor lifted of his mistake of adultery by the end of the play? Why or why not?
    2. In today’s society, are there any “witch hunts” that are similar to the ones that happened in Salem?

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    Replies
    1. In answer to your first question Amber, John was forgiven for his mistake of lechery. Proctor payed the ultimate price for his mistake and took the punishment like man. The more importantly part, however, is that by the end Elizabeth had forgiven him too.

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    2. Amber, based off of your response to the first question, are there usually many people at fault and many contributing factors to other events, such as crimes and wars? If this is true, then how can blame be placed on a singular factor or individual? But if so many people are responsible, how would one be able to punish all of them? Because of this, what is the importance of scapegoats in society? Are scapegoats "right" and "just," at least from a moral standpoint?

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    3. To answer your first questions Amber, I think that, yes, Proctor is lifted from all of the shame that he held for committing adultery. He not only is released by telling the truth, he is also released by Elizabeths final words to him, "I am not your judge. I cannot be. Do as you will, do as you will!" (Miller. Act 4. 138.). This quote not only releases John from his bonds of adultery, it also sets free the overwhelming tension between him and his wife. Although it was almost to late, I believe that John, in his final minutes, was lifted of his sins for all of his braver and courage that he displayed.

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    4. Regarding your fist question, Amber, I think that choosing to hang with his pride and integrity shows that Proctor has forgiven himself and is satisfied with his decisions. He would not choose to move onto further judgement by god if he did not believe in his choices. I believe Proctor has lifted the weight of his sin off of himself and that is all that really matters because our own judgement is the harshest. The other townspeople's beliefs mean nothing to a man who has decided to die with a forgiven sin.

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  29. 2. John Proctor’s reaction to Danforth’s request for a signature really moved me. I felt Proctor’s anger and pleading when he says, “How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” (Miller 133). After everything that has happened, Proctor still wants to keep a good name. He wants to maintain his authority and respect in the town. Writing is permanent, and to Proctor, signing his name means he will lose his reputation and the essence of who he is forever. Proctor does not want a record of his sins and lies hanging up for the public to see.

    3. Individual judgement effects Proctor’s grapple with his conscience and his final decision on whether to confess to witchcraft. He wants Elizabeth to view him as a good man, and therefore please her. Proctor must know how Elizabeth judges him in order to do what please her. After his confession, Elizabeth claims that she cannot judge him anymore. In response, he says, “Then who will judge me?” (Miller 128). Proctor needs Elizabeth’s judgement to guide him through the mess. Later, when Proctor refuses to sign his name, his judgement of himself is what causes him to retract his confession. He states to Danforth, “God knows how black my sins are! It is enough!” (Miller 132). Proctor admits the severity of his sins and judges himself based on those sins. His self-examination allows him to realize that he should not and does not want to falsely confess to witchcraft.

    4. When John Proctor confesses to witchcraft, he is questioned on who he has seen with the Devil. Danforth asks, “Did you ever see Martha Corey with the Devil?... Did you ever see anyone with the Devil?” (Miller 130). Many people were placed in the same situation as Proctor during the McCarthy era. Just like Proctor, refusal to name names ended in a some form of punishment. People in both situations falsely accused others out of fear. Judge Danforth is very similar to McCarthy. Both of them have the power and ability to bring anyone into the trials and create “proof” to condemn them.

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    1. Olivia, regarding your first answer, I agree with the fact that that certain part of the act was emotional. It really gave a different look on Proctor and showed the reader a more helpless side of himself when he felt the need to fight. Proctor was pleading to keep his name, but was willing to give his soul. What did this show about his character and what he stood for? Did his morals change throughout the book?

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    2. I agree with your answer to the third question Olivia,
      and I said something like that for my own answer. The internal conflict in Proctor shows individual judgement, and you can read between the lines and feel Proctor making a decision and weighing his options.

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  30. 2. The scene when Proctor was getting ready to hang was the most emotional for me. All of the people that had died due to false accusation before didn’t have much of an impact on me, as a reader, because I never knew their story. Some of them could have had a family and children like Proctor, but I never knew that; the book only gave so much background information on other characters. Proctor, being one of the main characters, had a much deeper connection with the book than any of the other persons that hung. This scene really gave a deeper look on Proctor and his character, and his connection with his family and Elizabeth. It showed a softer side to him, and what he truly stood for or what mattered to him. When Proctor cried out for help after he confessed to witchery, the scene got emotional, “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them to hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” (Miller IV. 143). This cry for help showed the victim inside Proctor, and the helplessness he possessed at that moment. Again going back to the morals Proctor showed, he demonstrated them through using religion and the guilt he felt of giving away his soul. He was about to lose his life, but he was not going to lose his name or pride.

    3. Judgement played a huge role in this book. A big moment when individual judgement came into play was when Proctor revealed his decision to falsely admit to witchcraft to Elizabeth. With the way the scene was written, you could tell the tone of both Proctor and Elizabeth. Elizabeth wanted Proctor to keep his life, but she also did not want him to be thought of as a witch. Proctor wanted to keep his life, but not only for him, for his children and Elizabeth as well; Proctor was faced with a major decision. Proctor knew that what he was doing was not right, and he could feel Elizabeth knew it as well when he questioned her about judging him, but she simply replied with, “I cannot judge you, John” (Miller IV. 135). The simple sentences from Elizabeth showed her love for Proctor, and how she would do anything for him, including not judging any decision he made.

    4. The witch trials were a main event in this book. The trials were the heart of all accusations, and showed who really had the power over others. Just like today in certain situations, there is always someone or something that has to be a leader, but along with being a leader also comes power. How they use that power, though, is going to shape the entire outcome of every situation they are faced with and what kind of a person they are. When the witch trials were happening, it was apparent that Danforth and Hathorne had power over the people and all those accused. In the courtroom though, there was another power, the one and only Abigail Williams. Abigail had control over all of the girls that cried witchcraft; she could get them to do whatever she wanted. Manipulation and lying was all Abigail was about. The witch trials correspond with simple conflict, and the manipulation of one’s power. Abigail is the main focus of those who manipulate their power. Together, they show certain situations that happen in people’s daily lives. One more thing in the book that stood out was the constant questioning. When Proctor was being questioned about who he had seen with the Devil, he simply denied seeing anyone, “Danforth: Did you ever see anyone with the Devil? Proctor: I did not”(Miller IV. 140). It relates back to the issues with Communism during Miller’s time. All of the accusations and questioning of witchery was just like what they did in that time period, but only with communism. A lot things in Miller’s book made a connection to things in his world.

    a. Should Elizabeth have persuaded Proctor to choose a different path when it came to his decision to confess or hang more intensely?
    b. How much do other people's opinions influence our own opinions and choices?

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    1. Jackie,
      For your first question, I think that what Elizabeth did by not persuading him and letting him make his own decisions, was important because it allowed Proctor to forgive himself and prove to himself that he is strong and and can stick to his beliefs.
      For your second question, I think we are influenced by others a lot. We are always conscious of what others think of us in one way or another, some more than others. We are worried about being judged and when we are constantly focused on that it hinders our ability to follow our own thoughts and ideas. Certain decisions are made based on what others have done before us. We fear failure and not being good enough. If someone else's opinion is made clear and is strong, it can sometimes be hard to disagree or come up with our own opinions.

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    2. I think that Elizabeth had hateful feeling towards John when it was her duty to convince him not to die, which resulted in a half-hearted attempt at saving his life. Also had John lived Elizabeth and John would have to face the humiliation caused by John's affair which I think is something that Elizabeth couldn't face, which may be another reason why John ended up dying.

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    3. Jackie,
      In response to your second question i believe that other peoples opinions influence our actions and the way we perceive ourselves even if they shouldn't. Just like in the play, gossip and accusations can make us judge ourselves even more harshly than others do. We may start to wonder if our actions are wrong or who we are and when we are uncertain we are easily influenced. Overall as much as we try to resist thinking of what others think of us or what they say about us, the words do matter and do effect our personal character in both beneficial and deleterious ways.

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  31. 2.) In act IV, the most impactful part was when Proctor confessed to witchcraft and eventually got hung. In this passage, Danforth asks why proctor fears the public knowing his confession, “Proctor, with a cry of his whole soul: Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang!” (Miller IV, 143). Above all other scenes and events in the play, this quote was the most powerful because Proctor is a symbol of the average human, imperfect, fearful, but desirous to be good. This was the most emotional part of the play because the reader could personally connect to a time when they have felt similar to Proctor in his indecision and pride. Overall, Proctors reply to Danforth was the most influential part of this play because the reader could connect with Proctor.

    3.) Individual judgement lends a large hand in Miller’s play, “The Crucible” because this adds flavor and conflict to the storyline. One pervasive example of self judgement is Proctor. In act IV, Proctor has huge internal struggles that cause him grief and hardship. He can’t decide if he would rather live and face the wrath of God, or die and leave his family behind without him. A conversation with Elizabeth illustrates self judgement and the its role in this play, “Elizabeth: And yet you’ve not confessed till now. That speak goodness in you. Proctor: Spite only keeps me silent. It is hard to give a lie to dogs” (Miller IV, 136). Through this scene, Miller provides insight to how much turmoil and complexity there was deep in the hearts of the people in Salem in 1692. Beyond accusation, revenge, and power, there was personal judgement and anxiety about what was right and wrong. Just as Proctor struggled with what was right for his family vs. what God wanted, the whole town seemed to follow this pattern of confusion. All of this is significant through how this idea, or motif of inner struggles is found in every act of this play. Miller wanted the reader to notice the outcomes of different actions in response to inner turmoil, which he hoped the reader would learn from.

    4.) One allegorical character in “The Crucible” was Abigail. Abigail was a very up front, accusational, and “perfect” girl who was never questioned or held accountable for her actions. She was responsible for many people coming to court with little probability of leaving with both spiritual and physical survival. This character is allegorical to government and people with power. Abigail was one of the characters that abused power for self satisfaction and social status. Likewise, some government and leaders seem to do the same. In this way, Abigail was a powerful symbol for abuse of power, which has a huge effect on society. A second allegory in this play was Danforth. In the play, Danforth was a judge who made the final decisions that determined the fate of those convicted. Danforth clearly made very biased rulings that meant innocent blood would turn cold in the noose of societies demands. This idea runs parallel to citizens in society because often the crowd will decide to see only what they want to see, and do what they find pleasure in doing. Often times, citizens as a whole will make choices for popularity, to fit in. Danforth made choices that would favor the people with power because he knew his job was a stake. Similarly, society acts for safety out of fear, just like Danforth. Lastly, Miller used Mary Warren as an icon for how innocent people suffer the consequences of power’s guilty lies. More specifically, Marry Warren was blamed for being a servant of the devil when she was actually innocent. Here, Marry suffered persecution because the people with power told lies. By the end of the book, this was a motif of blame and suffering. Overall, Miller used the allegories of Abigail, Danforth, and Mary Warren to bring to light greater concepts that reflect on society.

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  32. Questions:
    1. Should Proctor have lived and faced the wrath of God or should he have died with honor? Why?
    2. Analyze what Miller is trying to bring to light through Proctor. What is he a symbol of, and what is Miller trying to teach the audience through Proctor?

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    1. Nate, I believe that what Proctor did by dying with honor was the better decision, but of course it was his choice and he's the one who would have to live with his guilt and shame if he had chose to face the wrath of God. I think that the choice he made was important to not only himself but to the rest of Salem, because it showed he had the strength and he stuck with his beliefs until the end. Near the end of that act when Hale is trying to convince Elizabeth to plead with Proctor she says, "...He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him." Proctor had finally proved that he was a good man and there was nothing that was going to change his mind. Dying with honor showed that Proctor represented truth and strength, that seemed to be missing in the rest of the town. Once they realized it, I believe his choice made an impression on the others in the end.

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    2. Based on Puritan beliefs, either way he would be damned to hell, for he lied in his confession, which is a sin. And if he did confess, he would still be damned to hell in the eyes of the townspeople. If he chose to live he would have to live the rest of his life in prison with constant memory of these events. So I think John chose to die, because it was the easiest option.

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    3. To respond to your second question Nate, I think that Proctor is a symbol for clarity. In all of the chaos and all of the confusion in the book, Proctor stood up for what was right and held his ground, showing, for all that were left in Salem, a light at the end of the tunnel. Proctor did something in this book that no one else dared to do which was taking the blame for his own actions; "...God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat." (Miller. Act 3. 110). This shows that Proctor knows that he is sinner and isn't better then anyone else, but can have the decency to take the blame for his own actions. This makes Proctor stand out of all of the rest and be the light that everyone needs to guide the town.

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    4. In response to your first question, I believe that Proctor needed to die with honor rather than face the wrath of God. Much like if someone put a gun to your head at this exact moment, would you stick with what you believe in or would you change it just to live another day. Proctor is caught up in this type of an event and on instinct, he acts out of fear. I don't blame him because I may have done the same thing. However, as he was given time to think about his actions, he realized that he needs to do the right thing and he tore the confession papers right in front of the judge. Proctor ended up doing the right thing, but he also did it in a humanly manner by taking time to think it all through.

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  33. 2. In this act, a quote that really stuck with me was near the end. John Proctor was being taken to be hanged, and Reverend Hale was pleading with Elizabeth Proctor to stop him and to convince him to sign his statement and confess to witchery, “Elizabeth, supporting herself against collapse, grips the bars of the window and with a cry: He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him.” (Miller 145). I found this to really stand out to me. Elizabeth doesn't want to see her husband killed and wants him alive, but she realizes that it is his decision and his judgment to make himself. By not signing the confession he not only proves to Elizabeth, but also to himself that he is a good man and will stick to his beliefs even when the rest of his people have given up and taken into the hysteria. I believe his choices and the things he has done, will leave an impression on the rest of Salem and will lead them to the truth of his words and actions. He made a sacrifice for what he believed in and that can always be difficult. But by doing so he showed his strength in fighting for what he believes to be right.

    3. Individual judgement plays a big role in this Act. When Proctor is brought in to see Elizabeth, he is still struggling with his guilt of betraying her and still hasn’t forgiven himself. Elizabeth tells him, “...John, it come naught to that I should forgive you, if you’ll not forgive yourself...” (Miller 136). She is trying to make him understand that if he can’t forgive himself for his sins then no one else can either. Elizabeth forgives him, but if he can’t forgive himself he continues to live with the guilt. The other people of Salem, the ones who have accused innocent people and lied about doing witchery, have most likely forgiven themselves because they believe that what they are doing is the right thing and is apart of their religion. When it comes to yourself, you make judgments as to your actions and the words you say, but you will always be judged by others as well.

    4. One allegorical theme is this story is just the idea of hysteria. Once the children were sick and witchery was the accused problem, the village was lost. So many of them believed that what they were doing was the right thing and that they were doing the work of God, by accusing and blaming those they thought were doing witchery. But at the same time many of them used this for their benefit. During the court scene in which, Mary Warren is being questioned about seeing spirits, she admits, “Mary Warren: I-I cannot tell how, but I did. I-I heard the other girls screaming, and you, Your Honor, you seemed to believe them, and I-It were only sport in the beginning, sir, but then the whole world cried spirits, spirits, and I-I promise you Mr. Danforth, I only thought I saw them but I did not.” (Miller 107). This is just one example, of how people were influenced and toying with the idea of witchery being out in Salem. She admits that she only thought she saw spirits because of how wrapped up in the moment. She had convinced herself so much of spirits, that she has a hard time discerning between fantasy and reality. In the process of this, the girls caused more hysteria through the town and as a result, more people are accused and hanged. When Hale is trying to convince Mr. Danforth to give him more time to reason with the accused and prevent them from being hanged, he is unrelenting, “Danforth, conciliatory: You misunderstand, sir; I cannot pardon these when twelve are already hanged for the same crime. It is not just.” Now that they have killed so many people, they must go through with it. They are starting to involve politics and justice into the situation. Whether killing innocent people in the first place is unjust, they are already set in their ways and must go through with it. Hysteria and fear can cause people to act in ways that they normally wouldn't and as a result turns a small problem into a bigger and more dangerous problem.

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  34. Questions:
    Should the judge have let all the innocent remaining accused people go or at least given Hale more time to convince them to confess? Is it better to be fair and “just” and continue to give the same punishment to the rest, or is it more reasonable to admit to wrong and let them go? In the situation which would have seemed better? Are there ever any examples like this in modern time? (Not necessarily deciding between letting people go or killing them).

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  35. 1.) There cannot be one person to blame for the happenings in Salem, for the conflict originated out of situations and people that refused to blemish their reputation. As a whole the witch hunts in Salem were based out of hysteria, but a big contributor to the hysteria was the that people of Salem rather further the hysteria and/or die over besmudging their good name. John proctor was one of these people who chose to die rather than admit publicly to his wrongdoings, “I have confessed myself! Is there no good penitence but it be public? God does not need my name nailed upon the church! God sees my black name; God knows how black my sins are! It is enough!”(Miller, 142). John was not the only one to falsely admit to crimes he did not commit and die before ruining his name, most of the town did so. And it is this that caused the continued hysteria in Salem, for it kept the secrecy going, which in turn kept the hysteria going which is why the witch hunts in Salem resulted in so much bloodshed. Had the accused been willing to sign for their crimes and face the endless torture of the public, the events in Salem would have been very different.

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  36. 3.) The Witchcraft trials in Salem were indirectly the result of the people’s individual judgement and misjudgment. The way people reacted to the happenings only worsened the situation and caused for more bloodshed. It may look like the judges or the townspeople on a whole scale many have been the biggest factor, but if you break it down it is the individual response that held the most power. The individual opinion of something can hold the power to spread to a group opinion which then becomes almost unstoppable, “...That confession surely damns the other in the public’s eye, and none doubt more that they are all linked to hell.”(Miller, 128) If someone acts in such a way to avoid public scrutiny then it is the individual who has cause that person to behave in that way, for the individual is the heart of the public.

    4.) Because Arthur Miller wrote the crucible as an allegory to the 1960 communist witch hunts, many things in the book could represent those in the trials of the 1960’s. In the 1960’s those who did not confess to being a communist were shunned, blacklisted, or even killed. Much like the unfair courts under Mccarthyism, the court in Salem was conducted in an unjust manner where the judge had already made his decision previous to hearing the defendant and did so out of public opinion, “...Twelve are already executed; the names of these even are given out, and the village expects to see them die this morning. Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part…”(Miller, 129). judge Danforth has made his mind up to hang all seven that do not publicly admit to their crimes no matter what they say or do. Also Danforth makes this decision because he does not want to be seen negatively by the public. This is much like the trials in 1960, where people acted out of fear of the public opinion and those that acted the wrong way ended up getting disconnected. Another example where Arthur Miller’s play is synonymous to the communist trials in 1960 is where people that have not been accused want the accused to confess for political and/or personal gain. This mutual theme inhibits Rev. Parris especially when his enemy, John proctor, has confessed to the court but not publicly, “It is a great service, sit. It is a weighty name; it will strike the village that Proctor confess. I beg you, let him sign it….”(Miller, 141) Rev. Parris would rather see himself gain power over John Proctor as he would have wilted under the public eye, over him being executed. Not only has this one incident been a political help for Rev. Parris, but the entire event of the trials contributed to his stature. Parris wasn’t ever accused and held the power to do the accusing, thus making these witch trials a big political move. Parris actually contributed to the overall hysteria of the town, for had he not accused so many people to make way for his politics, the number of casualties would have been lower in Salem. And when similar events took place in 1960, many people saw the trials as a way to get rid of their enemies and benefit themselves.

    Interpretive Question:
    How come John Proctor refuses to sign to his confession?

    Critical Question:
    Based on how an event like this this happened twice (in Salem and the 1960's) and how history tends to repeat itself, what is it in human nature that makes us create these kind of situations?

    P.S. There was a character limit when I tried to post earlier for some reason so I had to post two times fr my responses.

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    1. Ethan, to answer your critical question, I would have to say that leadership without direction and a false trust between each other caused the hysteria that made the townspeople in Salem act that way. This is very much happening today, but not to an extent of death... yet. The president has both good things and bad things going for him, but the false trust between us and our leader and us and other countries causes fear to a certain point. Eventually if the fear continues to rise, then we result in nuclear attacks and war. History is already repeating itself.

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  38. 1. I think that no one person can specifically be blamed for all of the chaos is Salem, but there are a few people that had more influence than others, like Danforth and more largely, Abigail. Danforths power is more or less obvious, him being the judge of all of the trials, but you can see his control immensely in Act 4. He starts off by not letting any of the death penalties be postponed even though they have reasons to believe that some of the accused might actually be victims; “Now hear me, and beguile yourselves no more. I will not receive a single plea for pardon or postponement. Them that will not confess will hang.” (Miller. Act 4. 129.). As the reader can see, Danforth not only holds the power, he also puts himself higher than everyone else around him. He says what he thinks must be done, and it will be done, no matter what anyone else wants. This makes him an easy target for someone to blame for all of the confusion in Salem. Abigail portrays her power constantly through the book as well making her a very obvious choice to hold blame. She can condemn someone with just a simple cry; “Abigail, with a weird, wild, chilling cry, screams up to the ceiling. Abigail: You will not! Begone! Begone, I say!....Envy is a deadly sin, Mary.” (Miller. Act 4. 114-115). This statement instantly condemns Mary without even any real evidence. Abigail did this for many of the people that were accused. With a simple word, scream, or action, they can be instantly put to trial. This makes Abigail a big force in the town and thus, much to blame for the chaos.

    2. Although there were many quotes in this Act that hit me hard, there was one that I thought really stood out. When Proctor denied his confession and Elizabeth is pleading with him, she cries out to John, “I am not your judge, I cannot be!” (Miller. Act 4. 138.) This quote not only shows Elizabeth's compassion it also shows her strength. She is, in a way, releasing John from all of things that he has done to her and all of things that he regrets doing. She is showing her love for John that he may have thought was lost forever. This quote made me remember how love can endure more than anyone thinks it can. It also showed Elizabeths strength because she was able to forgive John even when it seemed impossible. She also was able to push everything away that had happen and was even happening at the moment and just show her heart to man that had broken it repeatedly. This quote is the epitome of John and Elizabeth's relationship. She is broken, but still finds a way to love her failing husband.

    Question 4 and my own questions on separate post

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  39. 4. I think that the time that Miller lived greatly influenced The Crucible and its deeper message. The setting can relate back to the Red Scare because it is a community of people that cared about each other, but underneath, held grudges on their neighbors and sometimes even their friends. The setting of the Red Scare was exactly the same. People who had grudges towards each other found a way to accuse them and take out their anger. Both of the settings were based off of passive aggressive people and their hate for one another. Another allegory that is used in The Crucible, that can relate back to the Red Scare, is unsupported accusations. In Miller's book, the whole thing is based off of innocent people’s lives being ripped out from under them because of lies. The same exact thing happened in the Red Scare. Mass hysteria was happening because people heard rumors or lies and it lead to people being condemned even though there was little or no evidence. Furthermore, Miller used the specific event of Parris trying to maintain his reputation, as a way to show how destructive the preservation of one's good name is; “Abigail, I have fought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people to me, and now, just now when some good respect is rising for me in the parish, you compromise my very character.” (Miller. Act 1. 11.) This interaction in the book portrays Miller's vision of how reputation can dictate decisions. Throughout the Red Scare, people took the blame off themselves just to preserve their good name. Miller refers to this action constantly throughout the book and uses it show a deeper message. That reputation shouldn’t come before honesty.

    Interpretive: What drives Parris and his need to maintain his reputation?

    Critical: When is honesty and integrity substituted for self-preservation and lack of trust?

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    1. In response to your critical question I think that when people are completely overcome by fear they start to weaken their honesty and integrity. When people know they could die, for example, the natural instinct is to preserve your life in any way possible which obviously can mean that sometimes you have to be dishonest. Lack of trust stems when others are doing things that are hurting you and you eventually don't trust anyone because you don't know who you can trust.

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  40. 1. I believe that no one person can be completely blamed for what happened in Salem. The whole issue started with many of the girls from Salem dancing in the forest, which is something they are not supposed to do. But even that would not have caused such chaos if the townspeople were not so quick to jump to witchcraft. People’s fear for their lives and reputation drove to accusations of others and false confessions. All of these events put together caused hysteria that could not be put under control. Those in a position that might have been able to stop the events, such as Danforth, were corrupt and unjust. Eventually it does all come down to the many small factors that caused the cultural hysteria and led to the horrific events in Salem.

    But, on the other hand if someone was to blame I think it could be Abigail. Abigail made the first accusation, blaming Tituba. Abigail places fault on Tituba by saying, “I never sold myself! I am a good girl! I’m a proper girl...She made me do it! She made Betty do it!” (p. 43) Abigail continues to instigate hysteria and further accusations as she starts to accuse others, “I want to open myself…I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!”(p. 48) She even drags all of the other girls into the chaos with her as they make false accusations, also. Abigail never stopped propelling the issue until she finally disappeared in the end. Parris explains that Abigail is gone, “…My niece, sir, my niece—I believe she has vanished.” Abigail left the town in devastation never to feel the consequences of her actions.

    3. Proctor’s actions in Act Four are largely affected by his individual judgment of himself. When Elizabeth says that she cannot judge Proctor herself, his reply is, “Then who will judge me? God in Heaven, what is John Proctor, what is John Proctor? I think it is honest, I think so; I am no saint. Let Rebecca go like a saint; for me it is fraud!” (p. 136) This clearly shows how Proctor still beats himself up for all the wrongs he has done. In a previous quote even his wife, Elizabeth, basically says it will do no good if she forgives Proctor if he will not forgive himself. Proctor knows he has done wrong and tells himself that he is a bad person unworthy of forgiveness, though he truly longs to have his slate wiped clean. Because Proctor believes that he is already condemned for his previous actions, falsely admitting to witchcraft will just be one more wrong to add to his list; therefore, admitting to witchcraft will have no effect on his fate. Ultimately, Proctor makes the choice to be truthful and stand his ground. With this decision Proctor truly realizes it is up to him to judge whether he will let his sins consume him or die knowing he can make the choice to do what is right, and he did.

    4. I think that Danforth's statement on page 129, "...I should hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law, and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of the statutes,” shows an allegory to the time Miller lived during the blacklisting. This represents when people would be blacklisted for ties communism. It didn’t matter whether a person confessed or not, or even if others could testify that a person was innocent because those in a position of power had control. Going against the law in any way automatically made someone guilty. I also think that Abigail is used to show what McCarthy did during the time of blacklisting. McCarthy instigated the accusations, and therefore was one of the main causes for the events of the time, as was Abigail during the witch trails. Overall the hysteria of both times in history was very similar because the same basic, chaotic events happened in different ways.

    Interpretative: What caused Abigail to run away from Salem when she had so much power in the town?

    Critical: How important is it for a person to maintain integrity when being persecuted?

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  41. 3) Individual judgement plays a huge role in the end of this play because it ultimately decides Proctor, Rebecca, and Martha Correy’s fate. Each must fight back and forth with themselves, but Proctor must struggle to forgive himself as well. With blame aside proctor also tries to justify which is moral, to lie and stay alive for his family, or to die an honest and brave man. He sways back and forth but his ultimate decision shows his realization to the right choice. Proctor is warned that he will hang if he does not confess and yet hes states that, “You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but enough to keep it from such dogs” (Miller IIII. 144). Proctor and his Christian friends, die for what they believe is right in the end showing that Salem did not rid the town of the Devil, but instead murdered to people who shine God’s light the brightest.

    2) While Proctor struggles to make a decision he thinks about his mistakes and regrets and how others may think of him. All of these aspects make him wonder if his Christianity is a hoax and if hanging with holly spirits, such as Rebecca Nurse, is disgraceful. Proctor examines his life and thinks, “I am no saint. Let Rebecca go like a saint; for me is a fraud,” (Miller IIII. 138). Proctors ultimate decision to hang with his pride and integrity proves this quote wrong and is the authors way of showing that mistakes happen and as long as you make the right choice in the end anything can be forgiven. To me this quote was very compelling because it examines the moral side of the play. The people who falsely admit to witchcraft ultimately show their true self and how their life of regrets makes them fear what might happen after death. It is only they who truly forgive themselves and are satisfied with their choices who can hang without fault.

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  42. 4) Miller’s play, the Crucible, not only examines the Salem Witch Trials but also connects to the time period when it was written. Much like Reverend Parris and Judge Danforth, McCarthy made the ultimate decision even when the evidence was rumor and suspicion. Not only did both Danforth and McCarthy falsely accuse, but they both were suspicious of those who stood up against the court. When evidence is presented saying that the accused are innocent, Parris, upset with those who bring the evidence, declares "All innocent and Christian people are happy for the courts in Salem! These people are gloomy for it," (Miller IIII. 94). The author uses this quote to reveal how opposite opinion is viewed as threat and is connected to witchcraft in this case and communism during the Red Scare. Miller also connected himself to Proctor because in the end of the book Proctor states, “ I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another,” (Miller IIII. 140). Proctor’s refusal to accuse anyone of witchcraft connects to Miller when he was brought into questioning. Miller refused to offer any names and was ultimately blacklisted, not quite as bad as being hanged but in the same sense he lost part of his life to pride and courage. Overall the Crucible reveals the truth and reality of McCarthyism by connecting it to something so extreme and unbelievable helping people realize that same truth in the McCarthy trials.






    Interpretive: How can people’s perceptions of us change how we see ourselves?

    Critical: How does Proctor’s death, Abigails escape, and the title of the play show irony at the end of act 4?

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    1. To answer your interpretive question Izzy, I believe that though other's opinion of us doesn't make up who we are, it influences how we see ourselves. Like in the Crucible, Elizabeth Proctor's suspicion of John Proctor not being "a good man" doesn't change who he is, but because of her unspoken opinion John Proctor doesn't consider himself good

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  43. 2. The most powerful quote in the Act was ”Tituba, calling from the window: Take me home, Devil! Take me home!
    Sarah Good, following the shouting of Tituba: Tell him I'm going', Tituba! Now you tell him that Sarah good is going' too!” (Miller Act 4 pg 113).
    This quote incited the most emotion for me many because Sarah Good is a woman who has lived in this Puritan culture for her whole life, therefore it would be presumed that she would have a strong relationship and love for God, but this quote changes all of that. Its significant because it shows the reader how much the accused have changed when it comes to their beliefs. Some of the accused are staying strong in their morals, while others are showing there true colors and saving themselves.
    3. Individual judgement plays a role in this act through John Proctor. During this act Proctor goes to Elizabeth to true and gain her forgiveness, but she reveals to him that the person he really wants to forgive him is himself. As Elizabeth states “John, it come naught that I should forgive you, if you’ll not forgive yourself. It is not my soul John it is yours. Only be sure of this, for I know it now: Whatever you will do, it is a good man does it. I have read my heart this three month, John. I have sins of my own to count. It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery” (Miller Act 4 pg 126). Proctor is trying to hide this self loathing by trying to convince himself that Elizabeth’s forgiveness is what he wants, but Elizabeth is able to see that even though he would appreciate her forgiveness what Proctor true wants to be able to do is forgive himself.
    4. Through out The Crucible there are many similarities the the events that occurred in the 1950s when Joseph McCarthy came into power. These similarities were apparent in both the characters and the events. The events that were similar were the trials. People at random were accused of witchcraft or communism and force to go through a trial process that they would never be able to win. The accused were seen as guilty, and those who did not confess in the case of The Crucible were executed, and those accused of Communism were socially “executed”. Being accused of Communism in the 1950s would ruin a persons life. They would be ignored by their friends, fired from their job, and socially persecuted. Other similarities include that in both the witch trials and McCarthy’s trials no proof of witchcraft or communism was ever give. Both accusers only had their word against an others, and were still able to destroy others lives. Along with in the play Abigail represented McCarthy, because she holds all the power in these accusations, and uses this power to ruin peoples lives. Abigail recognises she has these situations therefore she can do want she wants, like Mccarthy. When Abigail says “ Never in this world! I know you, John you are this moment singing secret hallelujahs that your wife will hang!” (Miller Act 2 pg 142) shows how Abigail doesn’t have the intentions of using her power for good as McCarthy did by accusing innocent people of communism and ruining their lives. Also in this play the character Danforth was a representation of Martin Dies. Dies was like McCarthy very powerful in this movement. Though he didn’t hold as much power as McCarthy himself Dies was a great influence when people were being accused and continued to stand by McCarthy throughout the trails. This is similar to Danforth because he really never strayed from Abigails views, she said she saw the Devil, and he believed her.

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  45. Questions

    Interpretive:Should Hale be held responsible for fueling the accusations of innocent people, even though he changed his ways?

    Critical: Is it fair for individuals to be held for their actions even if they deemed them wrong and asked for forgiveness?

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    1. To answer the critical question I believe that people should always be held accountable for their actions but still be forgiven if they ask for it. Everyone makes mistakes and wrong decisions in their life. If no one ever forgave anyone than you couldn't get anywhere in life. On the other hand if people were not held accountable for their actions than people could get away with everything and never have a reason to do the right thing. There needs to be a balance of accountability and forgiveness.

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  46. 1.) Danforth is to blame for all the hangings happening in Salem. Abigail Williams may have created the town’s hysteria, but Danforth has the power to end it, and he will not. In Act 4, Parris asks him to postpone the hangings until everything has fully played out and the town has complete evidence that these people need to hang for witchery. Danforth will not allow it and says the hangings must take place in the morning. The town’s hysteria is to blame for most of this, but if I were to put blame on two individual’s, it would be Abey for creating it, and Danforth for not ending it. If Danforth may have just opened his eyes to the idea that the court had an insignificant amount of proof to condemn these people, John Proctor may have lived and the whole outcome of the story would be changed.

    2.) The quote I found most powerful and true in Act 4 is when Hale says “Excellency, there are orphans wandering from house to house; abandoned cattle bellow on the highroads. the stink of rotting crops hangs everywhere, and no man knows when the harlots’ cry will end his life - and you wonder yet if rebellion’s spoke? Better you should marvel how they do not burn your province!” (pg.130). We have waited the whole book for someone to make sense of this whole scenario, and finally, Hale gets it. He realizes that this whole mess is being pushed too far and that it needs to end. Without farmer, parents, or people doing their jobs, the town will destroy itself from the outside in. Eventually, even stubborn Danforth will be thrown out of his position for there will be no one to hear him talk. John Proctor knew this the whole play, but finally someone has said it and thrown it on the table that the town is a mess and its all going downhill. Even though this quote is on the surface and you can’t take it very deep, I believe this may have been one of the most important realizations or claims in the whole book.

    4.) In the play, Hale, John Proctor, and Abigail are all allegorical characters. All three of these people represent different main ideas dispersed through the book. We see Hale in the beginning as the Hero of the play who should bring peace and justice to the town of Salem. As he lives on, we notice that towards the end of the book, he is no better than any of the townspeople and that he too is only trying to give his best guess as to how to cure Salem. In real life he represents all of us. We are the townspeople trying to find a hero. We all think that someone has a definite answer to our problems, but in reality, there may not be one and we are deceived by thinking that others (like the townspeople to Hale) have it all figured out. In some cases we may be that Mr. Hale to others as well. Now John Proctor (in a Christian viewpoint) is much like Jesus. He tries his best to make sense in the world he lives in, but in the end he must blacken his name in an attempt to save others. He is killed for doing good in the town. Abigail however is just the opposite. She is the fallen angel who in the beginning seems like the main character. She holds leadership among the girls and always keeps her calm. This attracts people by showing that she’s in charge, but just like the Devil and his witches, its Abigail and her girls who cause murder and problems in the court. She leads them and they follow. The girls are the real witches in this play.

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  47. Questions:

    Interpretive- Why would Abigail continue to condemn others even if she knows it may get John Proctor killed (which it did)?

    Critical- What does it look like in real life to obtain leadership without understanding or wisdom like Hale?

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  48. 2. Hale was a character that really stuck out to me, his change in behavior and opinion throughout the novel is inspiring and shows the audience that there are no benefits from being a crowd follower, and instead you should stick up for what you believe in. I love his quote on page 130 where he says, “Excellency, there are orphans wandering from house to house; abandoned cattle bellow on the highroads, the stink of rotting crops hangs everywhere, and no man knows when the harlots’ cry will end his life-and you wonder yet if rebellion’s spoke? Better you should marvel how they do not burn your province!”. This quote spoke to me the most because Hale’s words are shockingly true, and for the first time the people of Salem aren’t tip-toeing around the fact that there may be no witchcraft. The citizens and Hale have made a complete 180 and are left with the aftermath and the damage the trials left on their town. Hale’s courage to stand up to the judges and speak his honest opinion should be a lesson for us all not to let others stand in our way, but instead voice our beliefs and not live in fear of other’s power.
    3. I think the greatest example of individual judgement in this act is shown through Proctor as he is conflicted as to whether or not he’ll confess to witchcraft. On pages 136-137 Proctor struggles to find goodness in himself, and he tells himself he’s not good enough to live. As Elizabeth talks to him, his mind begins to change and he realizes he wants to live. However, on page 144 Proctor rips his confession and chooses to die with pride, instead of going on to living a lie. John realizes that he may have sinned, but he is a good man, and a good man will die for what is right and what he believes in, only a selfish coward falsely confesses to save himself. This is significant to the novel because it shows how you can change yourself and your attitude to accomplish great things, and even though the brave thing may be the hardest, it is right thing to do.
    4. Think about the definition of an allegory; we know this text is an allegory for the time period during which Miller lived.-list 2-3 characters, events, or facets of setting that you think are allegorical from the play and what do they correspond to specifically?
    When reading this novel, I noticed many similarities between Abigail Williams and Joseph McCarthy. Joseph McCarthy was a senator in the 1950’s when he began his famous accusations of calling people communist. Just like McCarthy, Abigail Williams accused others of being witches, and just like McCarthy she had no solid proof or evidence but the people believed her. I also think that Proctor is like Joseph Welch because he was one of the few people of Salem that questioned the trials and didn’t see its logic. Joseph Welsh was the first person to announce McCarthy’s accusations as inaccurate and questioned the court. “But I know the children's sickness had naught to do with witchcraft”, this quote from Proctor shows his disbelief in Abigail’s accusations and he also doesn’t trust the court’s judgement. I also noticed some similarities between the people accused in the Crucible, and the people accused during the Red Scare. The people accused weren’t “bad” people, they were only strange or different, and because of that difference it makes the accused that much easier to convicted. From reading the Crucible, I learned how in some way or another, everyone wants to fit into the definition of “normal”, so to have a safe, good, and secure reputation.

    Interpretive:
    How are Tituba and Sarah Good different from Proctor, Giles Corey, and Rebecca Nurse, in the sense that they falsely confessed with the others gave their lives to speak the truth?

    Critical Thinking
    How does your reputation and appearance affect other's opinions of you?

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  49. Every individual in Salam is to blame for the events that happened there. Every person is responsible for their own independent actions. The decision to perform these actions is entirely dependent on that individuals choices. The environment is Salem was hysterical, but there is no force that can take away a person’s self will that dictates how a person will react to their environment. There is no reason why some can stay strong and true to themselves to the very end like Rebecca Nurse, but others like Abigail and Mrs. Putnam get swept along the wave of bitter accusation. Despite the storm of betrayal around her, she continued to “go to God” for every action that she made. Instead of accusing others to shirk blame off herself, she stayed utterly true to herself by not confessing or condemning anyone else even to her death bed. On the other hand, Abigail and Mrs. Putnam chose to incriminate others, not because they could not resist the hysterical chaos, but because they selfishly benefitted by creating it. Abigail enjoyed the admiration of the people along with the sadistic pleasure of watching people suffer at the hands of her lies. Mrs. Putnam was able to relieve the painful guilt she felt that she might have wronged God in someway that deserved the punishment of losing her babies; by attributing the deaths to someone else she could embrace a victim's role free of guilt. However, the environment did trigger certain actions in others for the sake of self preservation. These people enacted the choices they did in attempt to save themselves, which is the most fundamental instinct of mankind. Some can argue that the pressure that individuals were subject to was enough to break the moral boundaries that dictate the decisions a person makes as a human being, not an animal. Without that barrier to keep the selfish instincts of mankind away, people fell victim to primitive motivations. These motivations center around their own survival; In order to protect themselves from condemnation, it was only natural for them to condemn others. The threat on Tituba’s life shattered her moral commandments and left her with one choice to condemn others and confess to witchcraft in order to uphold that prime motivation of saving her own life.


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  50. What spoke to me the most was Proctor’s powerful self-hatred described,”I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint. It is a fraud. I am not that man. My honesty is broke, Elizabeth; I am no good man Nothing’s spoiled by giving them this lie that were not rotten long before.” This quote reveals Proctors’ self disgust for his actions at a time when his moral boundaries yielded to sin. Proctor is known as a strong and upheld soul even to others that have not known him long,”From the beginning, this man has struck me true”(Miller III 114). Hale believes in the moral rectitude of Proctor that he does not see in himself. In a society where any sin condemns a person to a rotten name, Proctor cannot find it within himself to forgive his sin. This quote is the ultimate testament to his upstanding character because as a way of self justified punishment he will not allow himself to be redeemed from his sin by not confessing to witchcraft. It takes a pure soul with courage and a strong sense of moral direction to admit to personal failures. Proctor represents the most righteous man in Salem because he is the only individual who is able to take responsibility for his actions.

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  51. Allegory is defined as a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning typically a moral or political one. There are many connections from the McCarthyism of the HUAC and the Salem witch trials. The social environment during both events was identical. A poisonous fear enveloped everyone in the community of Salem as well as the United States during the Red Scare. This fear develops through a paranoia of accusation from a person’s peers. McCarthy and Danforth mirror each other in their behavior and moral motivations. Both believe that it is their duty from a higher power to purify their community. Another parallel between the two is the over exaggeration and assumption that unrelated actions or events correlate with the evil. This assumption is not based on fact, but an uninformed desperate attempt to understand what is even slightly unusual. Any behavior of individuals living during the Red Scare that did not fall within the parameters of an patriotic conservative opinion like listening to a certain kind of music condemned any individual who partook in it to suspicion. In Salem, illicit behavior looked down upon in the Puritan religion like the girls dancing in the woods was automatically associated with the Devil despite no knowledge or fact to make that connection. In both situations, the fear that was sparked by the unknown infected everyone in its reach and destroyed the moral compass of everyone affected.

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  52. Will the people of Salem feel shame for what they've done?
    Is there even a way to forgive oneself after unjustly taking someone's life.

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  53. 2. John Proctor made a bold move and stood strong to Judge Danforth when his livelihood was basically in the Judged hands. John exclaimed, “You will not use me! I am no Sarah Good or Tituba, I am John Proctor! You will not use me! It is no part of salvation that you should use me!”(Miller, Act 4, pg 143). After reading this, I started thinking about the justice system in the United States, and I realized that it falls short in many of the same regards as the one in Salem. In Salem, people like Sarah Good and Tituba will cower in the face of the law out of fear that their reputations will be tarnished or that they will be hanged. They let the practices of the law force them to lie and exploit the system in the name of self preservation. In the U.S., people will do the exact same thing. Both of these systems put trust in proof that is not absolute or true and these are used as reasonable grounds for justifying guilt or innocence.

    3. John Proctor was faced with and enouous moral dilemma at the end of Act IV. When he signed a legal document saying that he gave his service to the devil to save himself from being hanged, he pleaded to the officials of the high court that the document did not need to be posted publicly. He said to Danforth with the paper in his hand, "I have confessed myself! Is there no good penitence but it be public? God does not need my name mail them on the church! God sees my name; God knows how black motions are! It is enough!"(Miller, Act IV, pg. 143) If Proctor opted to follow through with this lie, he would have been saved from being hanged on unjust grounds. However, he would have faced ridicule and condemnation from the people of Salem. And the weight of this judgement, despite it being for something he was innocent of, would have been unbearable for him and his family. So Proctor ripped up the document and was sent to be hanged. This courageous act allowed this community, that lived and breathed on judgement, to judge John Proctor as the only one among them not to succumb to fear for the purpose of self preservation.

    4. The wrath that was brought upon John and Elizabeth Proctor by the court has allegorical to that of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg in the post World War II Red Scare. They both suffered severely as a result of false accusations. Jude Damforth, Judge Hathorne, Reverend Parris, and Thomas Putnam paralleled Joseph McCarthy and American government officials that started and lead the Red Scare. These figures acted out of insecurity and from a ruthless desire for power and treated others with cruelty in order to acquire that power.

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  54. Response to Gabby questions:
    Will the people of Salem feel shame for what they've done?
    Is there even a way to forgive oneself after unjustly taking someone's life.
    I definitely think that they will. There aren't to many examples in the book, however the movie did show the shame that some felt. In the scene where the accused were hanged in front of the people, some characters were celebrating while others were silence. The actors who played these characters, most of which were leading figures in the trials like Abigail Williams, depicted them feeling the true magnitude of what they had done. And by these characters actually seeing people actually die as a result of their actions, they began to feel the lifetime of guilt and shame that they were about to experience.

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  55. Response to Kate's question:
    Critical: Is it fair for individuals to be held for their actions even if they deemed them wrong and asked for forgiveness?
    I think that all depends on their sincerity. When I see some one take responsibility or apologize for their actions, it's pretty clear if they truly feel the consequences or if they are just claiming that they do. And if the sincerity is there, what need is there for further punishment? I think most victims want the person that did them harm to feel the same way as they did. And when people feel that the sincerity is not present, then they feel the need to ridicule or punish that person.

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  56. 1. T.S. Eliot's poems reflect modernism beliefs by his constant reference to the past. On page 4 of his poem, Eliot's refers back to the past by saying, 'and would it have been worth it, after all, would it have been worth while" (Eliot 4, 99) and "I grow old...I grow old..." (Eliot 4, 120). This constant reference to his old self makes me see the juxtaposition within modernism itself. I define modernism as looking back into the past and it's mistakes, to grow in the present but with that comes a temptation to look back for too long and getting caught in the past. Within in these short statement by Eliot, the reader can see that he regrets his past and wants it to move his future but lingers on the idea of his regret for almost 25 lines, showing that there is such a temptation to live in the past and not turn our heads to look forward. He also reveals this temptation and even rejection of the past by saying, " 'Do I dare?' and, 'Do I dare?' Time to turn back and descend the stairs"(Eliot 2, 38). You can see the internal struggle within Eliot and how he eventually chooses to look forward to define himself.
    2. The narrator in this piece seems almost decisive, lonely, and in despair. This seems to be a theme throughout the poem. Profrock contently is asking questions, almost asking for affirmations. For example, he asks, “so how should I presume” (Eliot 3, 54) about three times within the poem, wanting and agonizing for an answer and someone to tell him where to go from there. Another thing that adds to his character is the juxtaposition shown throughout the poem; “For the yellow smoke that slides along the street rubbing it’s back upon the window panes; there will be a time, there will be a time” (Eliot 2, 24). Within this sentence, you can see that Prufrock is using the word yellow as a sign of happiness but using the word smoke shows that it is foggy and not appealing. He shows that this happiness and joy is unappealing and almost unattainable to him, illuminating Prufrocks despair and loneliness.
    3. One of the most relatable and interesting lines in the poem to me was, “there will be a time to murder and create” (Eliot 2, 28). I think that this line has a lot of modernistic beliefs behind it and the idea of moving forward and creating a new way of living. I think that the word “murder” in this sentence is used because of its intensity and the fact that it means someone else destroying something, not self- destruction. I think it is referring to how history doesn’t destroy and reveal a new self, we have to be the people to tear down the ways of the past and “create” that new reality. I think Eliot used the word, “create” instead of build or make because that word means that we are not only the ones thinking of the innovation, but we are also the ones to make what we have thought of. It is showing that we must not only think of and brainstorm of new innovations of the future, but we must also be the ones to step up and create the reality.
    4. Woody Allen's Film, “Midnight In Pari” reflect directly back to modernism tenets. Woody Allen’s character is always talking about the past and wanting to go back to the “golden age”. He is constantly looking towards the past for inspiration and a ideas to shape who is in the present day. But as the film draws on, you see his character start to realize that the past is in the past and it can’t be his present. This all comes to a head when he is talking with the women from that time and he says that everyone wants to go back, but you have to take the past for what it is, grow, and then create you own new world from your own ideas, not just the past.


    Question: How does love and relationships reflect modernist tenets?

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