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PURITAN REVIEW. Theocracy – Government by divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided. In many theocracies, government leaders are members of the clergy, and the state's legal system is based on religious law.

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PURITAN REVIEW

  • Theocracy – Government by divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided.

  • In many theocracies, government leaders are members of the clergy, and the state's legal system is based on religious law.

  • Contemporary examples of theocracies include Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Vatican.


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PURITAN REVIEW

  • Theism – the belief that gods or deities exist

  • Atheism – a belief that gods or deities do not exist at all

  • Deism – the belief that a god(s) exists, but does not interact with human events

  • Agnosticism – the belief that it is not possible to know whether gods or deities exist, or the belief that one does not know


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PURITAN REVIEW

  • Human beings are corrupt and sinful by nature.

  • God determines a person’s fate.

  • Salvation belongs to the elect, or God’s chosen, who can be identified by their virtue.

  • Hard work and worldly success are signs of God’s grace.

  • Education is essential in order to read the Word of God.

  • A person should be thrifty, modest, and simple.

  • Society should be ruled by covenants that parallel God’s covenant with his people.

  • The Bible is the literal word of God.


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SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS

  • To pass the cold winter days of 1692, several girls began meeting at Rev. Parris’ home.  

  • Tituba, the Parris’ slave from Barbados, entertained the girls with her stories of witchcraft and demons.

  • Soon, Rev. Parris’ daughter, Betty, and her cousin, Abigail Williams, became frightened by the stories, and they began to act strangely.  


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SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS

  • They had terrible fits: screaming, crying, and writhing as if they were in pain.  

  • Rev. Parris called Salem Village’s doctor, Willam Griggs, because he thought the girls’ behavior might be an illness.  

  • The doctor failed to find any medical cause for their fits, so he concluded that the girls must be bewitched.


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SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS

  • During that time period, most people believed one could make an agreement with the devil in exchange for evil powers. This was considered a great sin.

  • At the end of February, the girls began to accuse Tituba and other women in Salem Village of conspiring with the devil and practicing witchcraft.


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SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS

  • Other girls in the village, including Ann Putnam, Elizabeth Hubbard, Susannah Sheldon, and Mary Warren, began to have similar fits, and they joined in the accusations.  

  • Soon, many villagers were arrested and jailed on charges of witchcraft.


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SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS

  • Trials for the accused began in March.  

  • In order to receive a lesser sentence, some of the accused confessed their guilt and also spoke out against others.  

  • Because there were so many accused witches in jail, the governor set up a new court, the “court of oyer and terminer," specifically for the witchcraft cases.  


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SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS

  • In the cases against the accused, “spectral evidence” (testimony that one was afflicted by someone’s specter, or ghost) was admitted, as were hearsay, gossip, and assumptions.  

  • The testimony of the girls was given great weight.  

  • If an accused person began to deny charges of witchcraft, the girls would immediately go into fits, claiming that the suspect was harming them.


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SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS

  • The accused were made up of people from all walks of life; some were rich, some were poor, some were well respected by the community (one was even a former minister), and some were publicly shunned.


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SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS

  • Overall, nineteen men and women were hanged as a result of their trials.

  • One man was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to stand trial.

  • Four people died in prison.

  • One to two hundred others were jailed.

  • Two dogs were executed as suspected accomplices to the witches.


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MCCARTHYISM

  • the term describing a period of intense anti-Communist suspicion in the United States that lasted roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s.

  • This period is also referred to as the Second Red Scare, and coincided with increased fears about Communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents.


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MCCARTHYISM

  • During this time, many thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government panels, committees, and agencies.

  • The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators and union activists.


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MCCARTHYISM

  • Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence.

  • Many people suffered loss of employment, destruction of their careers, and even imprisonment.

  • Most of these punishments came about through trial verdicts later overturned.


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MCCARTHYISM

  • Miller himself has stated that he wrote the play to comment on the parallels between the unjust Salem witch trials and the Red Scare from 1948 to 1956.

  • Under McCarthyism, the United States was terrified of Communism's influence.

  • Like the witches on trial in Salem, Communists were viewed as having already silently infiltrated American life and security, presenting a clear and present danger to the community at large.


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MCCARTHYISM

  • The implication of a person's name offered up to the House Un-American Activities Committee by a testifying witness carried the same weight as irrefutable evidence of guilt.

  • A refusal to name names by a witness was a clear sign of a Communist conspiracy.

  • Miller, seeking to protect his business and personal friends, refused to testify to the Committee and was blacklisted by the American entertainment industry.


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MCCARTHYISM

  • Many of Miller's peers, fearing the wrath of the US Congress and the US courts, provided the names of their associates to the Committee in an attempt to save themselves from public and professional disgrace.

  • Miller shows the similarity between the collaborators of both the McCarthy era and the Salem witch trials.


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MCCARTHYISM

  • He depicts cowardly neighbors accusing each other falsely to save themselves from the high court of Salem.

  • To Miller, only those who refuse to cooperate hold onto their honor and sense of self and die as vindicated martyrs.


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What is a Crucible??

a container made of substance highly resistant to great heat for melting, fusing, heating, or transferring molten material

a severe test of patience or belief; a trial


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