I. Background and Procedure II. Colonial Literature III. The Crucible

The Putnams, Nurses, & Giles Corey

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The Putnams, Nurses, & Giles Corey

  • Daughter is named Ruth Putnam.
  • Ruth was the only child of 8 to survive.
  • Both of the Nurses were deeply respected and revered.
  • Giles Corey was executed for refusing to reveal the name of a witness.
  • The daughter’s real name is Ann, just like her mother’s.
  • The Putnams had 6 living children.
  • Rebecca Nurse was considered least likely to be a witch – she was seen as saint-like.
  • The Nurses were not extremely respected because they owed money.
  • Corey was accused of witchcraft and didn’t enter a plea. He was pressed with stones in an attempt to force him to plea either way, but he refused.

Act I

  • Remember that the play takes place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. The Puritans' government is a theocracy - ruled by God through religious officials. This is important to note as you recognize the importance and power of the character Reverend Parris.
  • The play opens with the town's minister, Reverend Parris, praying in front of his daughter's bed. The rumor is that his daughter, Betty, is the victim of witchcraft. Reverend Parris has sent for Reverend Hale, an expert on witchcraft, to determine the cause of Betty's illness. This is merely just the beginning of the hysteria that unfolds in the play.

Stage Directions

  • Located at the beginning of a script and throughout, stage directions may identify the setting; tell actors how to speak and move; or describe the characters, the scenery, or the arrangement of props. In The Crucible, Miller also uses the stage directions to convey historical background, occasionally drawing parallels to the American political scene of the 1950s.


  • The stage directions of a play are instructions for the director, actors, and stage crew. Stage directions may describe the props, scenery, costumes, and sound effects used during a performance and tell how characters look, move, speak, and feel. Create a chart using the headings below
  • . Choose two stage directions for each of the following characters: Parris, Mr. Putnam, Mrs. Putnam, Tituba, Giles Corey, Proctor, Abigail, Rebecca Nurse, Rev. Hale, Mary Warren.
  • Page # Quote Character Explanation
  • 25 ”...feverish with Mrs. Putnam all of this
  • curiosity …” excites her

Day 16

  • Act II
  • Dialogue

Act II

  • The relationship between John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth is a delicate one. Obviously, Elizabeth has lost a lot of trust in John which is shown in the opening lines of Act II. Notice how cold Elizabeth is towards Proctor and how he responds to her. Should she just forgive him and move on? Is Elizabeth's treatment of John understandable considering he cheated on her with Abigail?
  • Mary Warren and Reverend Hale become integral characters in the play's plot. Both Mary and Hale have to deal with an internal conflict of their own. Mary is torn between whether to tell the truth at the trials or whether to protect herself from a possible accusation. Reverend Hale now believes that the trials have gotten out of hand and starts to believe John Proctor.

1. What does the reader learn about the Proctors’ marriage through the discrepancy between what John Proctor does before he sees his wife and when he talks to her?

  • 1. What does the reader learn about the Proctors’ marriage through the discrepancy between what John Proctor does before he sees his wife and when he talks to her?
  • 2. In what ways is Miller’s use of dialogue effective in the first two pages of this scene to show the rift between the couple?
  • 3. What does Proctor’s hesitation to travel to Salem indicate about his inner conflict?
  • 4. Whom does Elizabeth call, “A mouse no more”? What does she mean by this metaphor?
  • 5. Explain the ironic ultimatum the head of the court has given to those who have been arrested.
  • 6. Explain the metaphor: “The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you.”


  • Dialogue is written conversation between two or more characters. Found in all forms of literature but most important in drama, dialogue moves the plot forward and provides clues about characters' motives and relationships. For example, consider the following dialogue between Elizabeth and John Proctor.


  • Elizabeth. You were alone with her [Abigail Williams]?
  • Proctor. (stubbornly): For a moment alone, aye.
  • Elizabeth. Why, then, it is not as you told me.


  • Why does Elizabeth react so strongly to the news that John was alone with Abigail?
  • What does Proctor's stubborn reply reveal about him?
  • You might infer that John and Elizabeth are both uneasy about John's relationship with Abigail--John feels guilty about what happened between them, and Elizabeth does not trust her husband.


  • With two classmates, examine other passages of dialogue in Act Two:
  • the exchanges between Mary Warren, Proctor, and Elizabeth in which Mary reveals Sarah Good's confession of witchcraft (60-62);
  • the exchanges between Mr. Hale, Proctor, and Elizabeth in which Proctor tries to recite the Commandments (70-71);
  • the exchange between Proctor and Mary Warren at the end of the act (84-85).
  • Read these exchanges aloud.
  • Determine what the dialogue reveals about the characters.

Writing Assignment

  • Writing Dialogue:
  • Between Acts 1 and II eight days elapsed. What happened during those eight days? Fill in the missing events by creating a script.
  • You must use at least two characters.
  • You must use stage directions and dialogue.
  • It must be 350 words.
  • Use correct format for writing dialogue using The Crucible as a guide.

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