Students in Bethany Cooper’s AP English Language and Composition class engage in a dramatic reading of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Act II.
This is the part of the play where Ezekiel Cheever and Marshal Herrick arrive at the Proctor house with a warrant for Elizabeth Proctor’s arrest. Cheever discovers the poppet that Mary Warren had made for Elizabeth. He finds a needle stored inside the doll and considers this as proof of witchcraft and as evidence for the accusation made by Abigail Williams, the villain in the play, that Elizabeth’s spirit had stabbed her.
“Miller’s allegorical play is very powerful in that it examines the deeper meanings of who deserves our sympathy and our pity in very complex situations,” said Cooper about the present-day significance of The Crucible.
“The work harkens back to the deeper structures of Greek plays, in particular tragedies, where protagonists — usually persons of societal importance and outstanding personal qualities — fall to disaster through the combination of personal failing and powerful social forces such as the broad-based belief in witchcraft which, though unproven, controls their family’s destiny.”
Cooper considers the close reading of The Crucible as an important scaffolding step for students towards the themes that will be studied at a deeper level in AP Literature.