- What is the state of the community at the beginning of the play, as the play progresses and at the end of the play? How are insiders and outsiders defined during these times?
- What elements existed or were created within the community to allow Abigail and the other girls to gain power?
- What role did fear play in creating authority? How did some people choose to resist authority? Who are they and what form did their resistance take?
- John and Abigail’s affair serves as a catalyst for the events of the play, yet historically no such affair ever took place. Why did Arthur Miller use his dramatic license to invent this relationship?
- Give an example from The Crucible that demonstrates that certainty can be dangerous.
- Judge Danforth says, “a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between” (Act 3, Scene 1). What happens to a society where there is no “road between”?
- At the end of the play, John Hale has changed his opinion of the trials. What brings about this change?
- John Proctor comes very close to admitting guilt so that he may live, and it’s at this moment that Reverend Parris tells him that his refusal to confess is vanity. John could lie, and confess, and stay alive for his wife and children. Do you agree with Parris?
- How is it different reading the play, versus attending a performance on stage? How do Miller’s comments within the text of the play inform the reading of it?
The Chicago Public Library would like to thank Facing History and Ourselves for contributing to the One Book, One Chicago discussion questions.
Content last updated: October 31, 2007