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The Crucible - Themes
What are the themes in The Crucible?

The Crucible - Themes

This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at themes in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. All works of literature have multiple themes, ranging from the very subtle to the obvious. Individual themes are rarely, if ever, presented in isolation, but instead interact with and comment upon other key themes in the same text. Authors develop the themes of their texts through the use of setting, character, plot and dialogue. Consider the related ideas and concepts in the text, making an effort to follow the development of the different themes. See if you can notice any change of opinion as you read a text by comparing your final thoughts with those you held as you began reading. Have your opinions on any of the issues changed? If they have, can you explain why? Is it possible to pinpoint the part in the text where your views on a key theme began to change?

In Act IV, the convicted are asked to confess to witchcraft in order to save their lives. To which of the following themes is this expectation most closely related?
Hypocrisy reigns over the court, which cannot acknowledge that the innocent might have been convicted, and which urges a hypocritical confession even in the face of protestations of innocence. Hale at least suffers at his awareness of his own hypocrisy
Where does the play show evil to be located?
In "foreign" practices, such as Tituba's singing and her attempts to speak to the dead
As a malignant and invisible force which can be invoked by witches
In the forest
In the hearts and minds of human beings
Evil is shown to be present in the petty grievances and wish to find a scapegoat for one's misfortunes, as well as in the deliberate and destructive lies of Abigail and in the cowed obedience of Mary Warren
Which of the following is seen by those in authority as a threat to the community of Salem?
Litigation over deeds to land
Over-involvement in the affairs of others
Not attending worship every Sunday
John Proctor's irregular appearance in the meeting house and his occasional work on Sundays leaves him vulnerable to accusations. Miller refers in his notes to the eventual "turn toward greater individual freedom". It is this turn which is being resisted by those in authority in the town
Reverend Parris sends for Reverend Hale despite his reluctance to accept the possibility of witchcraft being involved in his daughter's illness. Which of the following is NOT correct?
Reverend Hale finds evidence of witchcraft despite his dismay at being called upon to fulfil this role in Salem
Reverend Hale finds evidence of witchcraft because he expects to find such evidence
Reverend Hale finds evidence of witchcraft because he strongly believes in the existence of witchcraft
Reverend Parris strongly suspects that witchcraft is involved, despite his fears concerning the danger to his reputation if evidence is found
Miller demonstrates a phenomenon known as "confirmation bias". The beliefs of Parris, Hale, and the Putnams strongly influence the outcome of the original investigation. Hale finds witchcraft because that is what he expects to find
When Proctor most needs Elizabeth to tell the truth and admit to his adultery, she lies to the judges. What does this tell the audience about Elizabeth?
She places love and loyalty to her husband above her personal righteousness
She is fearful of the consequences to her for telling the truth
She wishes to see Proctor suffer further for his adultery
She is not a very good woman, despite her upright appearance
John has utter faith in Elizabeth's inability to lie. He underestimates her love for him, which leads her to lie to the court in an attempt to protect his reputation
Which of the following is true of John Proctor?
He believes himself to be a righteous man
He is unable to forgive himself for his failings
He blames his wife for his failings
He believes Abigail to be an innocent victim
Proctor recognises that he is weak and sinful, even in his willingness to confess in order to survive
The enormous courage which people can show in the face of irrationality, torture, injustice and death is one of the themes of this play. What gives characters such as Rebecca Nurse such courage?
Irrational hope for intervention from outside the town
Political beliefs
Religious belief
Although the community's religious beliefs are at the root of the witchcraft trials and the hanging of the innocent, Miller also shows that the utter faith of the accused in an authority that transcends men such as Parris, Danforth, Hathorne, and the other judges gives them the courage to continue to assert their innocence in the face of death
Elizabeth Proctor and Rebecca Nurse are condemned despite being known for their good characters and upright lives. Their convictions for witchcraft convey which of the following lessons?
Invisible evil always infects the most upright citizens
Those with "good characters" are the most likely to be accused
In a climate of paranoia, no one is safe from accusation
All of the above
Observable behaviours are no defence against accusations which rely on irrationality and a belief in pervasive, invisible evil
The nature of group hysteria is a major concern of The Crucible. In which acts does the audience directly witness this hysteria?
Acts I and II
Acts I and III
Acts II and III
Acts III and IV
In Act I, we see the progression to hysteria ending in the first accusations. In Act III we see the hysteria build in intensity as it becomes directed towards Proctor
Which of the following challenges the townspeople's idea that youth is paired with innocence?
Proctor's information, imparted to Danforth, that the young women had been dancing naked in the forest
Ruth Putnam's refusal to eat
Mary Warren's fear of Abigail, which prevents her from sticking to the truth
Tituba's confession in Act I
Danforth briefly doubts the truthfulness of the young women's testimony. Their youthfulness presents an air of innocence which is not compatible in his view with the activities Proctor mentions
Author:  Sheri Smith

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