Character Study

Dramatizing History in Arthur Miller's The Crucible

Having learned a little about the mindset of seventeenth-century Puritans, you will now do more extensive research on one "character". You will conduct internet research looking for primary source documents and historical records on the person you choose. Then, as you read The Crucible, you will compare your findings to how Arthur Miller portrays the character in they play. You will have a handout to guide your initial research, and then you will track your findings in a Google Doc.

1. First, choose a character below. We want all the characters to be chosen by someone and as few repeats as possible.

Cotton Mather (Ben Logan) (Mamon) (Barbell) (Brett)
Bridget Bishop (Emily Levesque/Adam Goodman) (Christina)
Rev. Samuel Parris (Lili Welch/Kris Bronner) (John G) (Gruber) (SJ)
Judge John Hathorne (Diego Fiori) (Valerian) (Joe) (Michael)
Tituba (Ivanna Meija/Asa Welch) (Jason) (Amanda) (Mia)
Abigail Williams (Olivia Dynan/Sean Daly) (Zeke) (Jake) (Ant)
Mercy Lewis (Emily Magee/Jordan Schechter) (Slaw)
Mary Warren (Melissa Carp/Laura Hartman) (Ikey) (Taus) (Emmy)
Sarah Good (Alexys Butler) (Taylor) (Karan)
Rebecca Nurse (Tim King/Raven Rankine) (Ava) (Charlie)
John Proctor (David Herman/Carly Furr) (Bruna) (Connor)(Sam R)
Elizabeth Proctor (Courtenay) (Ani) (Brooksie) (Nizzie)
Martha Corey (Maddy)
Giles Corey (David Jacquet) (Toast) (Annie) (Noah)

2. You will have in-class time to do Internet searches for your historical figure. Your research should focus on answering this question: What about your character seems especially interesting or compelling? How would you dramatize your character to make him or her come to life for a contemporary audience?

3. Visit these websites to get biographies, court transcripts and other primary source documents:

4. Fill out the worksheet for this lesson, Researching the Salem Witch Trials: Inference and Evidence Chart.

5. Create a Google Doc where you write a 1/2 to 1 page report on the person, including answers to the following questions (from the worksheet) and anything else you think is interesting:

  • What was your historical figure's social and economic status in the Salem community? That is, what did your character do for a living? Was he or she well off? Would he or she be considered educated, upper class, middle class, lower class, poor?
  • How old was your character at the time of the trials? Was your character married or single?
  • Was your character regarded as a good Christian?
  • Was there any gossip swirling about your character?
  • What was your character's reputation in the community?
  • Did your character suffer from ill health or any other sort of hardship?
  • Did your character bear a grudge against anyone in the community?
  • Was your character accused of witchcraft? Or was he/she an accuser?

6. Next class, you will give a brief Oral Report: The purpose of the oral report is to think like a dramatist: what aspects of this character are most interesting or engaging? The oral reports may be delivered straight or with a dramatic flair--by telling the audience what is interesting about this character, or by showing. If you're inclined to high drama, you should feel free to "become" your historical figure and address the class as such.

DUE DATE FOR AKHTAR's CLASSES: Tuesday, March 30th.