Crucible Discussion • Crucible Discussion • Objectives: • Evaluate the character’s actions in the movie • Analyze the events in the movie • Making a connection between McCarthyism , Japanese Internment, and Today • What is more important civil rights or allaying public fears? • Reminders: • Chapter 37 Monday • Cuckoo Ch 1-5 on Tuesday
What connections can you make between the movie and the historical events that happened in the 1940’s and 50’s ? • Are some things more important than protecting ourselves? What is more important than protecting yourself?
Having seen what happens to Mary when she tries to tell the truth can we really look down on the other girls? After all, none of them can tell the truth either—aren’t they all just innocent bystanders, who should take no blame for the people who will be executed? Explain why they either shouldn't be blamed or should. In the context of character vs. reputation--is either of them worth risking your own life? Why? If we believe in witches, is it wrong to hunt them? Can we know that we are protecting ourselves (and not simply abusing others?)? Proctor is a man trapped by a secret fault/sin -- a somewhat common theme in U.S. Lit. What does this suggest about being human? (being American?) Are Mary Warren and Reverend Hale to blame for their actions? What if they had never come for "good women" like Elizabeth or Rebecca? Would John have done anything? In this play, pious and well-regarded judges convict people of a crime they believe is no less real than murder, and are opposed by an adulterer and his wife (who lies in a crucial moment where the truth might have saved both). What is virtue? Is anyone in this play truly good? More broadly, are people naturally good or evil? What does this play suggest? What does American history suggest? Hale says it would be better for Proctor to lie and live than die for his pride. Is he right? Is Proctor's final decision admirable or foolish? (Would you confess, in his position?) Does Proctor "have his goodness now", as Elizabeth says at the end? If so, how did he acquire it? If not, why not? Are any beliefs (heretical, communist, or otherwise) so dangerous that they can become criminal? Whose ideas are acceptable? Is it a right of the state to restrict ideas?
Martin Niemöller, a German Protestant Pastor, recalls Germany in the 1930s... "They came for the Communists, and I didn't object, for I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't object, for I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the sick, the so-called incurables, and I didn't object, for I wasn't mentally ill. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't object, for I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to object." • What does this have to do with the Crucible? (Could John Proctor have said something like this?) • How does this discussion connect with our discussion about protecting civil rights vs. allaying the fears of a country? • Are we living through a modern day witch hunt? Please explain your answer and provide evidence to support it. If so what can we do about it?