Reading Strategy
The Crucible: Act 1
Most plays are written to be performed,
Text Structure:
not read.
Dialogue
When reading drama, it is important to
identify the text structures that
provide different kinds of information.
Examples of text structures:
Character
•Dialogue: the words spoken by the
actors
• Stage directions: details the
playwright includes about the setting
and action.
Text Structure:
•Stage directions may be set in italic Stage Directions
type or in brackets to distinguish
them from dialogue.
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The Crucible: Act 1
Literary Analysis
Plot is the sequence of events that happen in a story.
• Plots follow a series of phases called the “dramatic arc.”
• Plot is always driven by a conflict, or struggle, between
opposing forces.
Rising Action: The conflict is introduced and begins to build.
Climax: The conflict reaches its moment of greatest intensity.
This is the turning point, when an event signals the final
outcome.
Falling Action: The conflict diminishes and approaches
resolution.
Resolution: The conflict ends.
In this play, Miller uses dramatic exposition, or prose
commentaries, to provide background information about the
characters and their world.
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Reading Strategy
The Crucible: Act 2
As you read, help yourself
stay alert to important details
and changes in characters
and situations by making
predictions about what will
happen next.
Notice hints the author drops
about what might occur and
apply your own background
knowledge and understanding
of human nature.
Detail
Prediction
What Actually Happened
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The Crucible: Act 2
Literary Analysis
Conflict is a struggle between opposing forces.
• An external conflict takes place between a
character and an external force
•
Examples: society, nature, fate, or
another person.
• An internal conflict takes place within a
character who is torn by his or her own
competing or contradictory values or desires.
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Reading Strategy
In this act, the court proceedings
become the focus of attention. As they
do, the faulty logic supporting
accusations of witchcraft becomes
more formalized.
The justifications accusers use are
examples of logical fallacy, arguments
that may seem reasonable but are
founded on a wrong premise.
As you read, evaluate arguments
used to bring accusations and
condemn the innocent.
Determine the premise that underlies
the accusations and trace the logic that
supports the argument.
The Crucible: Act 3
Argument
Logical?
Credible Evidence?
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Logical or Illogical?
• Mrs. Edge was out sick yesterday. Ms. Tillman
must have cast a spell on her.
• Mrs. Edge was out sick yesterday. Maybe she
had a cold.
• Martha Corey sold pigs to Mr. Walcott and
they died. She must be a witch.
• Martha Corey sold pigs to Mr. Walcott and
they died. Mr. Walcott maybe does not know
how to take care of pigs.
Literary Analysis
The Crucible: Act 3
Characterization is the art of revealing characters’
personalities.
• Direct characterization, the author simply tells the
reader what a character is like. Example: in stage
directions
• Indirect characterization in which characters’ traits are
revealed through
• the character’s words, actions, and
appearance;
• other characters’ comments;
• other characters’ reactions.
Characters’ motives—the reasons for their behavior—may
be stated directly or suggested through indirect
characterization.
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Indirect or Direct Characterization?
• Ms. Tillman said, “Mrs. Edge is tall.”
• Mrs. Edge’s head hit the chandelier when she
walked into the room.
• Cheever was afraid of Elizabeth Proctor’s
poppet.
• Cheever looked at the poppet wide-eyed and
trembling.
Reading Strategy
The Crucible: Act 4
Arthur Miller brings many areas
Philosophical Idea
of Puritan thought to bear on the
story of The Crucible.
These philosophical, political,
Characters
religious, ethical, and social
influences shape the characters,
setting, actions, and ultimate
Settings
meaning of the play.
As you read, use a chart like the
one shown to evaluate the
Events
influences of the historical
period as Miller presents them in
Act IV.
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The Crucible: Act 4
Literary Analysis
Tragedy is a dramatic form that was first developed in ancient
Greece.
A tragedy usually has these characteristics:
• The main character is involved in a struggle that ends in disaster.
This character, often called the tragic hero, is a person of high
rank who has the respect of the community.
• The tragic hero’s downfall is usually the result of some
combination of fate, an error in judgment, and a personality
weakness often called a tragic flaw.
• Once the tragedy is in motion, the downfall is usually inevitable.
• The tragic hero gains wisdom or insight by the play’s end.
Tragedy arouses feelings of pity and fear in the audience.
A tragic drama may also suggest that the human spirit is capable of
remarkable nobility even in the midst of great suffering.
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The Crucible Literary Terms PowerPoint