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          "The Crucible" -- Vocabulary from all 4 Acts

          Get to know these 85 words from Arthur Miller’s 1953 "The Crucible" -- a play that dramatized the late 17th century Salem witch trials and served as an allegory of McCarthyism.
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          Explore the Words

          definitions & notes only words
          1. persecute
            cause to suffer
            He believed he was being persecuted wherever he went, despite his best efforts to win people and God to his side.
          2. province
            the territory in an administrative district of a nation
            Salem had been established hardly forty years before. To the European world the whole province was a a barbaric frontier inhabited by a sect of fanatics who, nevertheless were shipping out products of slowly increasing quantity and value.
          3. inhabit
            live in; be a resident of
            Salem had been established hardly forty years before. To the European world the whole province was a a barbaric frontier inhabited by a sect of fanatics who, nevertheless were shipping out products of slowly increasing quantity and value.
          4. creed
            any system of principles or beliefs
            Their creed forbade anything resembling a theater or “vain enjoyment.”
          5. somber
            grave or even gloomy in character
            Which is not to say that h nothing broke into this strict and somber way of life.
          6. indicate
            give evidence of
            That there were some jokers, however, is indicated by the practice of appointing a two-man patrol whose duty was to “walk forth in the time of God’s worship to take notice of such as either lye about the meeting hous, without attending to the word and ordinances, or that lye at home or in the fields without giving good account thereof, and to take the names of such persons and to present them to the magistrates, whereby they may be accordingly proceeded against.”
          7. ordinance
            an authoritative rule
            That there were some jokers, however, is indicated by the practice of appointing a two-man patrol whose duty was to “walk forth in the time of God’s worship to take notice of such as either lye about the meeting hous, without attending to the word and ordinances, or that lye at home or in the fields without giving good account thereof, and to take the names of such persons and to present them to the magistrates, whereby they may be accordingly proceeded against.”
          8. predilection
            a strong liking
            This predilection for minding other people’s business was time-honored among the people of Salem, and it undoubtedly created many of the suspicions which were to feed the coming madness.
          9. maraud
            raid and rove in search of booty
            It stood, dark and threatening, over r their shoulders night and day, for out of it Indian tribes marauded from time to time and Reverend Parris had parishioners who had lost relatives to these heathen.
          10. heathen
            a person who does not acknowledge your god
            It stood, dark and threatening, over r their shoulders night and day, for out of it Indian tribes marauded from time to time and Reverend Parris had parishioners who had lost relatives to these heathen.
          11. conjure
            summon into action or bring into existence
            Abigail: But we never conjured spirits.
          12. faction
            a clique that seeks power usually through intrigue
            Parris: There is a faction that is sworn to drive me from my pulpit?
          13. abomination
            hate coupled with disgust
            Abominations are done in the forest –
          14. deference
            courteous regard for people's feelings
            A certain deference springs into him., although his worry remains.
          15. conviction
            an unshakable belief in something without need for proof
            Parris, with dwindling conviction now: A precaution only.
          16. corruption
            use of a position of trust for dishonest gain
            They will howl me out of Salem for such corruption in my house.
          17. hysterical
            characterized by a state of violent mental agitation
            Mary Warren, with hysterical fright: What’s got her?
          18. partisan
            a fervent and even militant proponent of something
            He need not have been a partisan of any faction in the town, but there is evidence to suggest that he had a sharp and biting way with hypocrites.
          19. calumny
            a false accusation of an offense
            In Proctor’s presence a fool felt his foolishness instantly – and a Proctor is always marked for calumny therefore.
          20. pretense
            the act of giving a false appearance
            I never knew what pretense Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men!
          21. exude
            make apparent by one's mood or behavior
            Gentleness exudes from her.
          22. defer
            yield to another's wish or opinion
            He defers to her.
          23. prodigious
            great in size, force, extent, or degree
            Rebecca: There is prodigious danger in the seeking of loose spirits.
          24. abide
            put up with something or somebody unpleasant
            Parris: It is agreed, sir – it is agreed – we will abide by your judgement.
          25. pursuit
            a diversion that occupies one's time and thoughts
            Hale, with a tasty love of intellectual pursuit: Here is the invisible world, caught, defined, and calculated.
          26. calculated
            carefully thought out in advance
            Hale, with a tasty love of intellectual pursuit: Here is the invisible world, caught, defined, and calculated.
          27. afflict
            cause physical pain or suffering in
            Does someone afflict you, child?
          28. evade
            avoid or try to avoid fulfilling, answering, or performing
            Hale: You cannot evade me, Abigail.
          29. exaltation
            the elevation of a person, as to the status of a god
            Hale, with rising exaltation: You are God’s instrument put in our hands to discover the Devil’s agents among us.
          30. enrapture
            hold spellbound
            She is enraptured, and though in a pearly light.
          31. falter
            move hesitatingly, as if about to give way
            Elizabeth: John, if it were not Abigail that you must go to hurt, would you falter now?
          32. magistrate
            a lay judge or civil authority who administers the law
            The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you.
          33. pallor
            unnatural lack of color
            Her strangeness throws him off, and her evident pallor and weakness.
          34. compensate
            make amends for
            When will you proceed to keep this house as you are paid nine pound a year to do -- and my wife not wholly well?
            as though to compensate, Mary Warren goes to Elizabeth with a small rag doll.
          35. brim
            the top edge of a vessel or other container
            Mary Warren: They had Doctor Griggs examine er, and she's full to the brim.
          36. marvel
            be amazed at
            But be that not a marvel?
          37. traffic
            deal illegally
            You will never believe I hope, that Rebecca trafficked with the Devil
          38. monstrous
            distorted and unnatural in shape or size
            No man may longer doubt the powers of the dark are gathered in monstrous attack upon this village.
          39. daft
            foolish or mentally irregular
            Proctor: I have never knew until tonight that the world is gone daft with this nonsense.
          40. reckon
            judge to be probable
            Proctor: I-- had not reckoned with goin' into court.
          41. warrant
            formal and explicit approval
            I have a warrant for your wife.
          42. grapple
            work hard to come to terms with or deal with something
            Now Hell and Heaven grapple on our backs, and all our old pretense is ripped away-- make your peace!
          43. providence
            prudence and care exercised in the management of resources
            It is providence, and no great change; we are only what we always were, but naked now.
          44. monstrous
            shockingly brutal or cruel
            No man may longer doubt the powers of the dark are gathered in monstrous attack upon this village.
          45. pretense
            the act of giving a false appearance
            Now Hell and Heaven grapple on our backs, and all our old pretense is ripped away-- make your peace!
          46. contention
            the act of competing as for profit or a prize
            Do you know, Mr. Proctor, that the entire contention of the state in these trials is that the voice of Heaven is speaking through the children?
          47. vile
            morally reprehensible
            Parris: Excellency, you surely cannot think to let so vile a lie be spread in open court!
          48. deceive
            cause someone to believe an untruth
            I have until this moment not the slightest reason to suspect that the children may be deceiving me.
          49. deposition
            a pretrial interrogation of a witness
            This is Mary Warren's deposition.
          50. vague
            lacking clarity or distinctness
            She swears now that she never saw Satan; nor any spirit, vague or clear, that Satan may have sent to hurt her.
          51. declare
            state emphatically and authoritatively
            And she declares her friends are lying now.
          52. instruct
            impart skills or knowledge to
            Danforth: How were you instructed in your life?
          53. perjury
            criminal offense of making false statements under oath
            Danforth: I will tell you this-- you are either lying now, or you were lying in the court, and in either case you have committed perjury and will go to jail for it.
          54. apparition
            a ghostly appearing figure
            In which she swears that she never saw familiar spirits, apparitions, or any manifest of the Devil.
          55. manifest
            clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
            In which she swears that she never saw familiar spirits, apparitions, or any manifest of the Devil.
          56. guile
            shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception
            If she speak true, I bid you now drop your guile and confess your pretense, for a quick confession will go easier with you.
          57. agent
            a representative who acts on behalf of others
            Parris: You say you never saw no spirits, Mary, were never threatened or afflicted by any manifest of the Devil or the Devil's agents.
          58. illusion
            an erroneous mental representation
            Danforth: Abigail, is it possible that the spirits were illusion only, some deception that may cross your mind.
          59. deception
            a misleading falsehood
            Danforth: Abigail, is it possible that the spirits were illusion only, some deception that may cross your mind.
          60. fancy
            have a particular liking or desire for
            Elizabeth: I came to think he fancied her.
          61. awe
            an overwhelming feeling of wonder or admiration
            But Abigail, pointing in fear, is now raising up her frightened eyes and awed face toward the ceiling.
          62. transfixed
            having your attention held as though by a spell
            She is transfixed with all the girls, she is whispering open-mouthed, agape at the ceiling.
          63. agape
            with the mouth wide open as in wonder or awe
            She is transfixed with all the girls, she is whispering open-mouthed, agape at the ceiling.
          64. unintelligible
            not clearly understood or expressed
            Mary utters something unintelligible, staring at Abby, who keeps watching the "bird" above.
          65. halt
            stop moving
            Girls halt at the door.
          66. allegiance
            the act of binding yourself to a course of action
            Will you confess yourself befouled with Hell, or do you keep that black allegiance yet?
          67. monologue
            a dramatic speech by a single actor
            *Mary Warren interior monologue*
          68. stench
            a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
            Danforth: There is a prodigious stench in this place.
          69. gaunt
            very thin especially from disease or hunger or cold
            He is gaunt, frightened, and sweating in his greatcoat.
          70. pardon
            a warrant granting release from punishment for an offense
            Parris, to Danforth, instantly: Oh, good morning, sir, thank you for coming, I beg your pardon wakin’ you so early.
          71. summon
            ask to come
            But I thought to summon you, sir, that we might think on whether it be not wise, to—He dares not say it.
          72. beguile
            attract; cause to be enamored
            Danforth: Now hear me, and beguile yourselves no more.
          73. mercy
            a disposition to be kind and forgiving
            Excellency, if you postpone a week and publish to the tow that you are striving for their confessions, that speak mercy on your part, not faltering.
          74. marked
            singled out for notice or especially for a dire fate
            Hale: Goody Proctor, your husband is marked to hang this morning.
          75. indictment
            an accusation of wrongdoing
            He would not answer aye or nay to his indictment; for if he denied the charge they'd hang him surely.
          76. testify
            give a solemn statement in a court of law
            Mr. Proctor, a score of people have already testified they saw this woman with the Devil.
          77. rejoice
            feel happiness
            Why, you should rejoice to say it if your soul is truly purged of any love for Hell!
          78. purge
            rid of impurities
            Why, you should rejoice to say it if your soul is truly purged of any love for Hell!
          79. penitence
            remorse for your past conduct
            Is there no good penitence but it be public?
          80. banner
            long strip of cloth or paper for decoration or advertising
            Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs.
          81. vanity
            feelings of excessive pride
            It is pride, it is vanity.
          82. profit
            the advantageous quality of being beneficial
            What profit him to bleed?
          83. falter
            move hesitatingly, as if about to give way
            Excellency, if you postpone a week and publish to the tow that you are striving for their confessions, that speak mercy on your part, not faltering.
          84. corruption
            use of a position of trust for dishonest gain
            Who weeps for these weeps for corruption.
          85. declare
            state emphatically and authoritatively
            Shall the worms declare his truth?
          Created on November 5, 2012 (updated August 12, 2014)

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