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06-25-2008   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help on 'The Crucible'

Ok, I've got 20 discussion questions I need to get done before the 30th when I have to run to the school office and turn it in. This is on Arthur Miller's The Crucible.

Some of the questions refer to this poem and author --
Quote:
Meditation XVII
No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main;if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of they friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
-- John Donne (1572-1631)
Quote:
1) Relate the Puritan's struggle to survive against a hostile wilderness to their initial need for a strong unified government. Paradoxically ... What resulted when that government outlived its usefulness and then refused to give up its control over the individual?
Quote:
2) Proctor was known for his criticism of hypocrites, yet he comes to regard himself as a kind of fraud. Explain.
Quote:
3) Accusations of witchcraft are actually a "cover" for personal vendettas. What were some of the other sources for strife in the community?
Quote:
4) In an effort to maintain order, those in authority created chaos. Explain. (What human emotion did they exploit?)
Quote:
5) So many of the false accusations were based on the logical fallacy "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" (after that, therefore because of that). How does this apply to Mary Warrens accusation of Sarah Good?
Quote:
6) Who is Mammon and what does he represent? Why would it be appropriate to associate Parris with him?
Quote:
7) Proctor calls Cheever a Pontius Pilate. What does he mean? How is this the "pot calling a kettle black"?
[Ok, I may have an answer to this. I think it means that Cheever is being used by Abigail for her vengeance (*****'s vengeance). It's the "pot calling the kettle black" because he's accusing other people of faults he has, hypocrisy. I just need help rewording it to make it sound better --]

Quote:
8) The Puritans believed in strict interpretation of the Bible. The Bible says, "The truth shall set you free," (Jn 8:32) Yet, the truth condemned John and Elizabeth Proctor and Rebecca Nurse. Reconcile, if you can, the Biblical text with what the Salem Witchcraft Trial judges were doing in requiring/coercing confessions from NOT GUILTY prisoners, thereby forcing UNtruth.
[I got that part about forcing a truth out of them only to get the wrong truth, but I don't get the Bible references]

Quote:
9) Consider Elizabeth Proctor's testimony about her husband's lecher. How, according to the LETTER OF THE LAW could her testimony be extrapolated to be the truth?
Quote:
10) Danforth discovers he's"damned if he does and damned if he doesn't" hang Rebecca Nurse. Explain his troublesome drama.
Quote:
11) If Parris were an animal, which one would he be? Why?
[My first guess was a human, being hungry for money and wanting to be accepted as a high-member of society, but that won't fly. I was thinking -- pig? o__O"]

Quote:
12) Hale argues that Proctor should confess because "... God damns a liar less than he that throws his life away for pride." Show that you understood the end of the play by telling how Proctor tried to believe that, but ultimately came to a different conclusion.
[Kinda easy, I figured. I just don't know if it's right, but I got --
"Proctor went throughout the entire play hiding behind a facade of lies, trying to hide his inner sin. It has gotten him nowhere, and now to near death. He has finally come to the conclusion that he should die as a hero, not just an innocent man."

Quote:
13) What change has the entire ordeal wrought in John Proctor by the end of the drama when he says, "I can [hang]. And there's your first marvel, that I can. You have made your magic now ..."
Not sure, but --
"By dying a clean man who has confessed of his personal sin, he can die with dignity."

Quote:
14) Do we live in a society more or less inclined to embrace Miller's and Donne's ideas about the individual's responsibility to society? What do you offer as support for your position?
Quote:
15) Read Rom 7:18-20 [oh gosh, luckily I have a bible and I know how to use it]. Apply it to the reason John Proctor considers himself a fraud.
Quote:
16) What parallels might be drawn between McCarthy's "witch hunts" and those of the Salem Witchcraft Trial courts?
*what was the primary emotion that rendered folks vulnerable?
*was was the common sin people were convicted for in both incidents?
Quote:
17) By the end of the play both John and Elizabeth Proctor have reversed themselves on positions/opinions they held at the beginning. What might those reversals be for each?
Quote:
18) Discuss the social-political-religious conditions that allowed for the Salem Witchcraft Trials.
Quote:
19) What tenet of the Puritan religion causes the conflicts Proctor suffers as a result of asserting in his individuality/personal opinion? How is he alienated from those in power by his refusal to abide by this indoctrination? What is the ultimate price he pays for freedom?
Quote:
20) In his poem Meditation XVII, the 14-15th Century metaphysical poet John Donne examined the same theme that Miller deals with in The Crucible. Reread the poem; write a single sentence stating a common exhortation to man both authors issued in their works.
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06-25-2008   #2 (permalink)
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I can halps =D just give me a moment. I'll throw the allusions, symbolism, and deeper meaning at you. You just supply the story 8D
 
06-25-2008   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
1) Relate the Puritan's struggle to survive against a hostile wilderness to their initial need for a strong unified government. Paradoxically ... What resulted when that government outlived its usefulness and then refused to give up its control over the individual?
The Puritan struggle on the frontier gave into land disputes, rise of ill-wanted people, and disruption of church accords. Thus when the Salem witch trails were first started, it was the ill-wanted people that were accused first, such as the homeless and widows. With the coming of that official government authority and it's prosecutions, at first it worked out in the townspeople's favor for weeding out the unwanted people. However as the trials dragged on and upstanding and truly innocent people were convicted, it become apparent that ANYONE (not only the unwanted) could be accused of witchcraft to the townspeople and thus all of their lives and property were in danger. The result was a growing dissatisfaction of the government's policies which resulted in the growing rumors of the town almost uprising.

Quote:
6) Who is Mammon and what does he represent? Why would it be appropriate to associate Parris with him?
Mammon is a representation of Greed. Due to Parris' fear of getting ousted by Salem, akin to its former ministers, Parris demanded for a firm hold of property and goods from the townspeople as a sign of relief that he would not be evicted out of Salem.

Quote:
7) Proctor calls Cheever a Pontius Pilate. What does he mean? How is this the "pot calling a kettle black"?
Pontius Pilate was the prefect of Judea, acting on behalf of the Roman Empire. He was in charge of whether or not to condemn Jesus Christ. At first Pontius Pilate was reluctant to condemn Jesus, but eventually gaving into the sways of the priests of Judea when they finally demonstrated that Jesus proclaimed himself to be the King and "challenged" the Roman Empire.

Pontius Pilate is a man that acts and gives into the dominant authority, even though he knows that its judgment is wrong.

Quote:
10) Danforth discovers he's"damned if he does and damned if he doesn't" hang Rebecca Nurse. Explain his troublesome drama.
This one is completely explained in the Act Four by Danforth himself.

Quote:
12) Hale argues that Proctor should confess because "... God damns a liar less than he that throws his life away for pride." Show that you understood the end of the play by telling how Proctor tried to believe that, but ultimately came to a different conclusion.
Proctor tried to lie by confessing that he was in league with Satan so that he could be back with his family and Elizabeth. However, doing so would eventually result in a loss of his property and home, but came to realize that he would not continue these accusations and destroyed the signed document. Why? Proctor realized that every person will only have their name in the end. He wanted to keep his name that he wouldn't be condemned for all eternity. The reason he accused no one was for the sake of never being pinned down by future generations, pointing at his name, with having condemned that person with him.


Quote:
16) What parallels might be drawn between McCarthy's "witch hunts" and those of the Salem Witchcraft Trial courts?
*what was the primary emotion that rendered folks vulnerable?
*was was the common sin people were convicted for in both incidents?
The primary emotion was fear in both cases.
The Red Scare and Cold War for the fear of growing communism
The Great Awakening, a powerful Christian movement that proclaimed that God was an angry condemning God toward his believers which is very similar to Puritan beliefs.

The "common sin" that was accused (communism/witchcraft) was an intangible object, a simple belief.

Quote:
19) What tenet of the Puritan religion causes the conflicts Proctor suffers as a result of asserting in his individuality/personal opinion? How is he alienated from those in power by his refusal to abide by this indoctrination? What is the ultimate price he pays for freedom?
The Puritan dogma is intensely strict or else "one may incur the wrath of an angry God."
Proctor grows irritated of his increasing dislike for Reverend Parris to which that he loses interest in his church. However, when brought to trial for witchcraft these traits of John Proctor are utilized as further evidence of his alliance with Satan. This is due to because the ones that are in power (ex. Danforth) are foreigners of Salem, and thus have no personal experiences with the townsfolk of Salem and must judge accordingly to Puritan doctrine.

Quote:
20) In his poem Meditation XVII, the 14-15th Century metaphysical poet John Donne examined the same theme that Miller deals with in The Crucible. Reread the poem; write a single sentence stating a common exhortation to man both authors issued in their works.
I'm not so sure of this one because I don't have the book at hand, but I remember it was in Act Two. I'm definite it was one of Proctor's discussions, but leaning toward the extra section (which was located in the back of my book) between him and Abigail. However, I've heard that some books don't have that extra...

Last edited by Beato; 06-26-2008 at 09:17 AM.
 
06-25-2008   #4 (permalink)
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YOU ARE A GOD SEND.
Oh my gosh -- this is awesome. Looks like I CAN finish this in time~ :3
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06-25-2008   #5 (permalink)
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My hands and brain are tired ;-; * on break *
 
06-28-2008   #6 (permalink)
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Ok, it's due on Monday and I just a few more questions. If you can possibly answer them soon, it'd be great. My friend who's supposed to be helping me doesn't come on MSN much often anymore, and I can't contact her often.

Question2: Ok, I'm not totally sure what the heck this is. Is it because he's a hypocrite himself? Iunno. ._.

Question9: I just need clarification on what 'Letter of the Law' means --

Question10: Ok, so I read Act 4 like, a lot. I can't find that quote. I hope it's just not my book. ._.

Question11: I don't know many animals who fit the category of 'greed'. I'm not feeling 'pig'.

Question13: Is Proctor trying to make a connection to the witchcraft? Is he talking about him being an innocent man being hung for nothing but a lie? What would the change be, then? That he finally realizes that he shouldn't have to hide behind a facade of lies?

Question14: I know what Donne's ideas about individuals in society, but I'm a bit fuzzy on Miller's ideas. I know it's horrible that I've read the book and I don't understand him, but Donne's poem was much easier to comprehend.

Other than that, I'm good to go.
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06-29-2008   #7 (permalink)
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Question 2:

Yes. Proctor was heralded in a especially good position in Salem's society as the relative of Rebbecca Nurse and among the townspeople, regardless of the fact of his declining attendance at the church. His only flaw was that when he committed lechery with Abigail, he found that no one else could truly see for what he really was.

Question 9:

"Letter of the Law" means that the exact wording of the law, rather than its true purpose.

Question 10:

It goes something like Danforth mentions that if he delays the execution, then the townspeople will believe he is weak and will uprise against the government. Yet if he goes on with the execution, then the townspeople will get madder and want to get rid of the government.

Question 11:

How about a parasite? Only looks out for itself and feeds off the host (Salem).

Question 13:

I liked your first answer
Just fluff it that he been doing some thinking in that prison and that he is okay with dying.

Question 14:

Miller demonstrates the fragility, yet merciless aspect of society. If one is rejected by society that one will be quickly targeted and destroyed. If one is to be accepted by society that one will have a restricted fate/name to live up to. Merely one instance of bad relations within the society, can result in one's swift downfall.

Last edited by Beato; 06-29-2008 at 08:22 PM.
 

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