Good vs Evil Students will understand how to explain the nature of good and evil in ‘The Crucible’
Evidence • ANN PUTNAM: I take it on my soul, but who else may surely tell us what person murdered my babies? • PARRIS, horrified: Woman! • ANN PUTNAM: They were murdered, Mr. Parris! And mark this proof! Last night my Ruth were ever so close to their little spirits; I know it, sir. For how else is she struck dumb now except some power of darkness would stop her mouth? It is a marvelous sign, Mr. Parris! • PUTNAM: Don’t you understand it, sir? There is a murdering witch among us, bound to keep himself in the dark. • (I.103-110) • The Putnam’s find it more comforting to explain the deaths of their children as a result of witchcraft. It gives them something to blame and prove that they are good people and not to blame.
Evidence • HALE: Tituba. You must have no fear to tell us who they are, do you understand? We will protect you. The Devil can never overcome a minister. You know that, do you not? • The ministers are considered good and pure without question. There is never any doubt about their goodness and intentions.
Evidence • Proctor: I am only wondering how I may prove what she told me, Elizabeth. If the girl’s a saint now, I think it is not easy to prove she’s fraud, and the town gone so silly. • Even though Proctor has been told the truth by Abigail that they were only really playing around in the woods he can see how difficult it will be to bring this information to the court. It shows that even the truth cannot stop evil.
Evidence • Proctor: I should have roared you down when you told me your suspicion. But I wilted, and, like a Christian, I confessed. Confessed! • Elizabeth: I do not judge you. The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you. I never thought you but a good man, John – only somewhat bewildered. • Even though Proctor has sinned and committed adultery he does feel guilty. Here Elizabeth explains that she has forgiven him and acknowledges that a mistake was made but that because of his guilt and confession a good man. Is this goodness?
Evidence • Mary Warren: I am amazed you do not see what weighty work we do. • Mary Warren knows in her heart that she is lying. She is clearly troubled emotionally that some of the accused have been sentenced to hang. Yet she is also trying very hard to prove herself to the Proctor’s. • Elizabeth: She wants me dead. I knew all week it would come to this! • Elizabeth can see Abigail for who she truly is but she has managed to fool the rest of the town. Because they fear the devil and going to hell so much.
Evidence • Hale: No – no, I come of my own without the court’s authority. • Hale: I am a stranger here, as you know. And in my ignorance I find it hard to draw a clear opinion of them that come accused before the court. And so this afternoon, and now tonight, I go from house to house… • Hale seems to be trying to do a good deed here. He is trying to find out information and truth for himself. But he still believes the lies and that there is some influence of evil in the world. Remember it is his knowledge in this area that has brought him to Salem. Does this make him evil for continuing the cycle.
Goodness • Who are the ‘good’ characters in the play? • What makes them good? • Have they done anything that is considered evil?
Evilness • Who are the ‘evil’ characters in the play? • What makes them evil? • Is there anything redeemable about them?
Extended Response: Due Wednesday 25th July • What is the nature of good and evil in the play ‘The Crucible’? • Nature: basic or essential characteristics of something. • What is this question asking you to discuss? • Rewrite the question using another phrase or word for ‘nature’ • Brainstorm your ideas. Use quotes and specific examples.