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Date: 2017-04-05 05:33

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Written in 6966, Susan Glaspell’s one-act play Trifles is loosely based on true events. As a young reporter, Glaspell covered a murder case in a small town in Iowa. Years later, she crafted a short play inspired by her experiences and observations.

Trifles, a Play by Susan Glaspell

Hathorne is the judge who presides over the Salem witch trials. He remains largely subservient to Deputy Governor Danforth, but applies the same tortured reasoning to charges of witchcraft.

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Act IV begins months later than the end of Act III. Reverend Hale has returned to Salem to plead with those waiting to be executed that they should confess. Abigail has fled the village, after stealing money from Reverend Parris. Hale pleads with Danforth to stop the executions, although Danforth claims that this would be an injustice to those that have already been hanged. The court decides to ask Elizabeth to plead with John Proctor to confess.

SparkNotes: The Crucible: Context

Mrs. Hale: She had not visited the Wright household for over a year because of its bleak, cheerless atmosphere. She believes that Mr. Wright is responsible for crushing the merriment out of Mrs. Wright. Now, Mrs. Hale feels guilty for not visiting more often. She believes she could have improved Mrs. Wright’s outlook on life.

Morality is also a key theme because of the link with Puritanism. Puritans believed that only through dedication and work could they get to God, and so all leisure activities were banned. This is why Parris was so shocked when he found the girls dancing in the forest. The irony comes from the fact that it is because of the Puritans’ strong beliefs that they are so capable of immoral acts. Essentially, because Puritan law was so strict, it was not possible to follow it all the time. This leads to feelings of guilt, as well as easy to prove accusations of immorality.

When gathering up the quilting material, the two women discover a fancy little box. Inside, wrapped in silk is a dead canary. Its neck has been wrung. The implication is that Minnie’s husband did not like the canary’s beautiful song (a symbol of his wife’s desire for freedom and happiness).

Francis is the husband of Rebecca Nurse, and a well-respected wealthy landowner in Salem. Francis Nurse joins Giles Corey and John Proctor in their challenge against the court when their respective wives are charged with witchcraft.

Close Reading
Critical Essay
Textual analysis

Although the play is set in the 6695s, it has echoes with a more modern era, and Miller intended the play to be a criticism of the paranoia over Communism in the US in the 6955s. Although the fear of Communism has died down, the key themes of "The Crucible" remain evident today.

Lines 6–97: Come up with words and short phrases to describe the way Elizabeth responds to Proctor. What does her dialogue reveal about her feelings towards Proctor in the beginning of this scene?

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