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A Guide to The Crucible

| Tuesday December 04, 2012

Categories: KS4, AQA GCSE, OCR GCSE, WJEC Eduqas GCSE, Drama, The Crucible, Hot Entries, Writing, Analytical Writing, Drama Analysis, AQA English Literature, Unit 1 Exploring Modern Texts, OCR GCSE English Literature, WJEC GCSE English Literature


Source: Royal Court Theatre, London | VAM

Guide Navigation

1. Studying a Play
2. A Guide to The Crucible

The Crucible

1. Background

Although Miller based his play on the seventeenth century US Salem witchcraft trials, the themes of the play are universal and probably timeless. There are parallels between the play and the lengths people will go to, for example, to separate themselves from anyone suddenly under the scrutiny of those in authority; and we all know how easy it is to leap to conclusions based on faulty judgments.

Witchcraft, while no longer an aspect of mainstream belief, remains a fascination for many of us. Whilst The Crucible is not a play really about witchcraft, its focus on supernatural events is likely why it remains so popular and was made into a mainstream film. There are certainly many TV shows and films students will be interested in today that are linked to the supernatural. A new major and popular ITV series, Switch, is based upon the friendship and escapades of four teenage ‘witches’. Other TV shows based upon the supernatural are Bewitched, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Terry Pratchet’s Discworld series and Charmed; in the cinema, too, films such as Practical Magic, The Witches of Eastwick, the Narnia series, The Wizard of Oz, Hocus Pocus and Harry Potter, all point to a continuing fascination with the supernatural.

Student Activity

Students will likely have plenty of awareness of fictional ‘witches’ and what they ‘do’ and believe. This creates a useful place to begin: a brainstorm of all the things students think of when they think of witches and witchcraft. It might be advisable to time limit this or there is a danger of having to relive the whole Harry Potter series – and for some students, their knowledge and beliefs might be deeper than you might expect.

Students could then divide their brainstorm ideas into two categories:

  • things they think people (not only...

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