The Crucible: An Introduction to Life and Times By Ms. Katz’s Period 8 Students Puritan Religion The Crucible was written by American playwright, Arthur Miller, in 1953. The story takes place during the Salem witch trials, during which many men and women were accused of being witches, and then sent to trial and executed. The Salem witch trial was largely influenced by the strict religion of the Puritans. The puritan religion was the result of many religious splits. During the sixteenth century many people felt that the major religion, Catholicism, was in need of reform. The puritans felt that the church need to be “purify”, and thus they were named the Puritans. It emerged as the strictest religion in the New England colonies. Over time the puritans themselves split, as a result of religious preferences. The split resulted in the “Separatists” and the original Puritans. The Separatists founded the Massachusetts colony in 1620, and the Puritans founded the wealthier, Massachusetts Bay colony. The Puritan lifestyle was governed by the strict rules of their religion. They believed that only church members could govern the community. Therefore, the leaders of the community were chosen based on outward display of godliness. Life was governed by the belief that humans were born in sin, but god chose those who worshiped him to join him in eternal life, and heaven. They also believed that sinful behavior was punishable by god, and that illnesses were a form of punishment. The worst sin of all was following Satan, which they called witch craft. Those who did not follow the religious beliefs where ostracized or banished from the community. The puritans were in many ways intolerant of anyone who stood to question their beliefs. JOBS The jobs of the Puritan people in the 1600s were similar to the duties of people today. Women had to keep house, take care of the children, garden, spun and wove cloth for clothing, made clothing for the entire family, cooked, home schooled, milked cows, fed animals, and performed basic medical care. Men of the household brought in meat, firewood, heavy labor plowing, cabin building, butchering, sheering sheep and a lot more. If women did not do what they were supposed to do, they would be out casted from the society. Puritan women were also very obedient to their husbands and took housework very seriously. RELIGION Puritans were very religious Christians. The church had an immense part in the community and controlled aspects in puritans lives like how women dress and the way. It was against the law for them to not attend church. Church was patrolled by a man with a long pole. On one end, a feather to tickle old men who fell asleep, on the other, a wooden knob to alert children who giggled or slept. During church, men and women were separated, outside of mass, the church forced to wear dark puritan dresses. The church taught that the devil was real and worked through women, children, and the insane. Puritans also believed that misfortunes were punishments from god and that a person should not help a neighbor on need. They all believed that god chose them for a special reason and that reason was their purpose in life. FAMILY/EVERYDAY LIFE Puritans were expected to work hard. They did not show their opinions or emotions and people with differences were frowned upon by people, mostly of the church. The literacy rate for puritans was high because everyone, especially children, were expected to be able to read the bible. Males had supremacy, enforced by the church, in the puritan culture. Women were not allowed to participate in town meetings and weren’t allowed to flaunt their body in any way. CLOTHING In the 1600’s around the time of the witch trials people dressed simple and modest. Woman wore long sleeved black dresses with white collars, cuffs, and a white bonnet. Men wore a black suit with white collars and cuffs. The men would also wear a tall black hat, but only on Sundays. Women also wore a shorter skirt overtop of their petticoats and a corset. Men wore knee length pants and a long vest with their peasant shirts. For both men and women, there was no such thing as a right or left shoe. FOOD Puritans got their food from hunting, fishing, and farming. Of course, men took care of getting all their food from those sources because women were stationed in house work. The first few winters when the Puritans first settled, they struggled with having food. Puritans preserved meats by salting them or by just eating their sources right away. Since food went bad, spices were in high demand for Puritans. They used spices to make their food taste fairly better. Pies were also common. Leftovers and scraps were thrown into pies so nothing was wasted. Helen Duncan Helen Duncan was an alleged “witch” during the WWII era. Born in the late 19th century in a small Scottish town to a cabinet maker, her childhood wasn’t all that affluent. She married another cabinet maker and had 12 pregnancies (why?), but only six children survived. To sustain this large family, she had a day job and a night job. Though poor, she found money to donate to the sick. She also gave Spiritual counsels. It was through the counseling that she discovered a rare psychic gift of “being a vehicle for physical phenomena whilst in trance state”. This gift brought her fame and she was soon traveling throughout the war-ravaged Britain giving her famous counseling, which was fabled to bring loved ones from beyond the grave. These sessions impressed many, but the people’s support could not save Duncan. She was sentenced to prison for fear of her discovering the D-Day Normandy landings. (Vsevolod Leskin) Rebecca Nurse Rebecca (Towne) Nurse was an old woman with a big family. She was tried when she was 71 years old for witch craft in the town of Salem, Massachusetts. A lot of people felt bad for her and thought that she was innocent because she looked like a nice little old lady, and had a lot of kids. She looked like she could do no harm to anyone, and did not have a bad reputation. The court found her not guilty for the witch craft, and a lot of people were outraged by the decision. She was asked a question after she was found not guilty, but because she was old it was hard for her to hear so she did not respond. Because of that she was tried again, found guilty, and was executed on July 19th. Elizabeth Garlick Elizabeth Garlick was tried for witchcraft in February of 1657. It was believed that Elizabeth bewitched Elizabeth Howell, who had died in a state of hysteria only months before the trial. Elizabeth Howell reported seeing black shapes at the end of her bed and Goody Garlick before becoming sick. Elizabeth Howell’s mother, Mary, remembered hearing Elizabeth Garlick and talk to Goody the same night. Many in the town testified that Goody had been forced by Elizabeth Garlick to kill both Elizabeth Howell and their own child. Miss. Garlick was also sheltering an Indiana boy which the town’s people had believe she had been sacrificing the kids to support the boy. In court the jury found not guile of witchcraft and Goody Garlick was not ether. Goody Garlick die in 1700 and it is unknown when Elizebath Garlick died. (Avery Weinrich, Emily Levin, Anna Macione, ) Elizabeth Knapp In Watertown, Massachusetts on April 21st 1655, Elizabeth Knapp was born to James Knapp and Elizabeth Warren. When Elizabeth was 16 years old, she became a servant in the household on Reverend Samuel Willard. This was when Elizabeth started to show signs that she was bewitched or possessed. Her behavior started off mildly as she would burst into spontaneous laughter and gave abrupt shrieks. Gradually, her behavior intensified and she began to fall into violent fits. She would often display violent bodily motions and represent a dark resemblance of hellish torments. She also complained that she was being strangled and attempted to throw herself into fire. Reverend Willard wondered if she was in distress, suicidal or possessed. One day she displayed possessed behavior when 6 men had to hold her down as she began to speak in a demonic tone and harshly thrash around. She was later accused of being a witch and shortly after she confessed that “Satan had deluded her”. Despite all of the trials and all of the accusations, Elizabeth Knapp was let free and married Samuel Scripture and lived her life fully as a puritan wife. She died in 1673 of an unknown cause. McCarthyism In the 1940s and 50s, the threat of Communism growing in Eastern Europe and China caused great concern for Americans. During the hysteria, Senator Joseph McCarthy, a republican from Wisconsin, said he had a list of 250 people who were part of the communist party. This occurred on February 9th, 1950 and formed a basis for McCarthyism, the publication of accusations of things such as disloyalty without providing real evidence to their offense. Joseph McCarthy’s accusations caused many innocent people to lose their jobs. Actual members of the Communist party reacted to this by ratting each other out in an attempt to save themselves. Communists that were found guilty received serious penalties for their belief. Even writers and journalists that defended Communism or insulted McCarthy were penalized, violating their right to Freedom of Speech. Through McCarthy’s career he initially gained much popularity due to his opposition to the Communist part. Through his later years as a public voice, his support began to deteriorate due to what Republicans saw as him hurting the presidential administration. McCarthy’s final factor that destroyed him was when he and his research director, Matthews, published an article titled “Reds in our Churches”. In the article, the protestant clergy was stated to be “the largest single group supporting the Communist apparatus in the United States.” Not only was there very little rational evidence or reasoning behind this claim, but the statement outraged the American public. Later on McCarthy got into trouble with the army and ended up losing the last of his credibility due to his crude remarks in court hearing charged by the army against him. In his last years, McCarthy’s public image suffered and later died due to acute hepatitis on May 2, 1957. McCarthyism was about one man’s paranoia towards the Communist party in America. Like McCarthy and those who supported him, the Salem Witch Trials were also based around false accusations in blind fear of mythical creatures.