The Crucible - Act Two

January 23, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Performing Arts, Drama
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The Crucible Act Two

These icons indicate that teacher’s notes or useful web addresses are available in the Notes Page. This icon indicates that a worksheet accompanies this slide. This icon indicates that the slide contains activities created in Flash. These activities are not editable. For more detailed instructions, see the Getting Started presentation. 1 of 21

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Plot summary exercise

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John and Elizabeth There are far fewer characters at the beginning of the second act of the play and the setting feels much more intimate, focusing mainly on the complicated relationship between John and Elizabeth.

John, if it were not Abigail that youElizabeth must go to hurt, would you falter now? I think not… …Let you look to your own improvement before you go to judge your husband any more.

Find three words to describe their relationship and three quotations to back them up. 3 of 21

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John and Elizabeth

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John and Elizabeth This is their home, and their children are asleep upstairs. Thus the sense of an unwarranted invasion is powerful when Cheever and Herrick come to question and arrest Elizabeth. (With great fear) I will fear nothing. (She looks about the room, as though to fix it in her mind.)

Tell the children I have gone to visit someone sick. Although Elizabeth was not present in the first act, we have learnt a lot about her character in this one. Think of three adjectives to describe her and three quotations to back up what you say. 5 of 21

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Cheever and Elizabeth Many arguments are used by both Cheever and Hale to try to convince Proctor and Elizabeth of the danger in Salem and to try to get them to co-operate. Look at what Cheever says below and pretend you are Elizabeth. How would you defend yourself against his reasoning? ‘’Tis hard proof! (To Hale) I find here a poppet Goody Proctor keeps. I have found it, sir. And in the belly of the poppet a needle’s stuck. I tell you true, Proctor, I never warranted to see such proof of Hell…’

What does this reasoning say about Cheever? How does the audience feel about him? 9 of 21

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Hale and Elizabeth Hale is also concerned that there is something going on at the Proctors’ house and tries to convince them to co-operate. How would you defend yourself against these arguments if you were Elizabeth?

There a misty Noisman mayplot afoot sodoubt subtlethe we longer should beofcriminal powers the darkto cling old respects aretogathered in and ancient monstrous attack friendships. I have upon this village. seen is too many There too much frightful proofs in court evidence now to – the Devil denyisit.alive in Salem, and we dare not quail to follow wherever the accusing finger points!

How does Hale’s reasoning differ from Cheever’s? What does this say about Hale and Cheever? 10 of 21

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Love: John and Elizabeth At the heart of the play is the love between John and Elizabeth Proctor. Their love is tested to the limits during the story. Notice how John and Elizabeth are fully rounded characters, whereas Abigail is kept fairly one-dimensional. Notice too how Abigail’s ‘love’ for John is based on her adolescent passions, rather than being the ‘true’ love that John and his wife share. Now Iyou willbid bring meyou tearhome. the light I out ofwill mybring eyes? you I will soon. not, I You loved me, John Oh,cannot! John, bring me soon! Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet! What effect have the events of this scene had on John and Elizabeth’s relationship? 11 of 21

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What is Elizabeth thinking?

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Subtext The ‘subtext’ describes the technique whereby a playwright gives characters a hidden agenda, one that is not immediately apparent from what he or she says. The subtext will affect the way a character behaves, especially if he or she wants their secret to remain hidden. The subtext may be hidden from the other characters and from the audience. If the audience knows the subtext, this is called dramatic irony. ‘Subtext’ means literally ‘below the text’. How can these unspoken ideas be communicated by the actors? body language

tone of voice

facial expression

Find three examples of subtext in Act Two. 13 of 21

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Subtext What is Elizabeth’s subtext in this act? Why is she so scared about bringing her secret fears to the surface?

What is John’s subtext?


How does John’s subtext affect his mood? 14 of 21

What has John done in Act One that Elizabeth only finds out about during this act?

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Dramatic irony ‘Dramatic irony’ is a term used to describe a situation in which the audience knows something that the characters (or most of them) do not. Dramatic irony increases the tension for the audience, because we are waiting to find out what will happen. Our foreknowledge involves us in the story more strongly. In Act Two of The Crucible, dramatic irony lies in the fact that we (the audience) know that John has seen Abigail alone. We therefore feel tense, waiting for Elizabeth to find out. Dramatic irony also lies in the fact that the audience has heard Abigail and the girls discussing her attempt to murder Elizabeth by witchcraft. In the next act, Abigail will accuse Elizabeth of trying to kill her in exactly the same way. 15 of 21

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Dramatic irony

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Dramatic irony How does the dramatic irony of his meeting with Abigail affect John’s mood early on in Act Two?

Can you find another example of dramatic irony/subtext in this scene? Look at Hale’s interview with the Proctors.

Dramatic irony How does hearing the girls’ discussion in Act One affect the audience? Particularly, the knowledge that Abigail 'drank a charm to kill John Proctor’s wife'? 17 of 21

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Dramatic structure

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Revision activity

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Learn the meanings of three more words in Act Two. 20 of 21

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Act Two questions

1. The setting for Act Two is very intimate – the private home of the Proctors. What is the impact of the arrival of Cheever and Herrick on the atmosphere created? 2. How could a director use lighting to intensify the intimacy and fear apparent in this scene? 3. Which of the themes that you identified in Act One are developed more fully in this act?

4. What special effects might you add to the ending of this scene to develop the sense of approaching doom?

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