Are the witches truly characters in the play or simply smoke and mirrors? The witches are literally in the play, yet they have no real power or influence over Macbeth. They simply act as a catalyst that sparks his inner drive to be something greater. Is Macbeth all that different from any of us? We all want something more whether it be a promotion, raise, or recognition. We are all human after all. Where most diverge from Macbeth as Banquo does in the play is the unwillingness to do anything to achieve our aspirations. Macbeth is so strongly tempted into authoring his own fate that murdering King Duncan is not completely out of the question. It is so tempting to give the witches too much credit in the same way that we like to blame others when we falter from bad decisions. The witches in the play and temptation in our own lives effectively get the ball rolling, but it is Macbeth’s extraordinary ambition, his dark inner self that will lead him down the path of destruction.
English 11 Honors
One of the fundamental questions of Act I of The Crucible is what makes Abigail Williams so evil? Before the play even begins, this wild teen has had an affair with John Proctor and been fired by his wife. She is found in the forest leading other girls in dancing around a fire and she even drank a potion to kill Goody Proctor. An easy conclusion to draw is that she is source of evil that destroys everything in her path. Perhaps, there is another cause. There is a saying from The Canterbury Tales, “That if gold should rust, what then will iron do?” To put that in simple English, if the very best of society is corrupted by sin, then what hope does a child like Abigail Williams have to do the right and moral thing. In Act I, John Proctor’s sin is obvious and shouldn’t he have known better? Reverend Parris is bickering over his salary and his reputation when the town is reeling from rumors of witchcraft. I would think that a Puritan minister would put the needs of his congregation before his own. Then there is the powerful Salem villager Thomas Putnam who is so consumed by greed and power that he is willing to admit his own daughter is bewitched by witchcraft just to discredit his rival Reverend Parris in attempt to gain control of Salem village. I agree that Abigail Williams is a source of evil, manipulation, and deceit in the play, but she is also a reflection of the poor example that Parris, Putnam, and Proctor set for her.
English 11,English 11 Honors,Uncategorized
Some of the finer points of Persuasion in Henry’s speech:
1. He acknowledges and empathizes with his opposition in the opening paragraph.
“…different men often see the same subject in different lights…”
2. Henry proposes a false alternative based on emotion or appeal to values.
“…I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery.”
Henry frames his argument so freedom is the only “real” choice. If he made it a question of peace or war, he would divide his audience. However, freedom is a value we all embrace and in that way, he takes control of the argument.
3. As a tool for counterargument, he poses a long, series of rhetorical questions that force the opposition to reconsider the hope of a peaceful resolution.
“Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation?”
His rhetorical questions force his audience to compare their hopes peace with the actions of the British as acts of war not of peace.
4. To emphasize important points, he uses parallelism in certain paragraphs.
“We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne…”
His use of a repeated grammatical structure effectively emphasizes the specific ways the the British King has disregarded and insulted the colonists’ efforts for peace.
5. Henry also uses effective diction to characterize the King in a negative, immoral, almost evil light. Words such as “insidious,” “subjugation,” and “tyrannical” make him appear untrustworthy in the eyes of the audience. Why should they negotiate with such a devil?
6. Coordinating emotional appeals in the opening and closing of the speech exhibits an powerful way to open and close his argument. In the first paragraph, he frames his argument as “a question of freedom or slavery.” All of his evidence systematically undermines the hope for a peaceful resolution until the final line when he says, “…as for me, give me liberty or give me death.” He brings his argument to a close by affirming that a life of slavery is not one worth living. It is an argument that is hard to deny and not surprising that it was a rallying cry of the American Revolution.
1. Which actions by Deputy Governor Danforth were motivated by pride?
2. What steps does Mary Warren take in Act III to resolve her internal conflict?
3. What steps does John Proctor take in Act III to resolve his internal conflict?
4. Is Reverend Hale conflicted about the actions of the court? Evidence?
5. Why does Reverend Parris continue to interrupt John Proctor’s attempts to address the court with new evidence?
6. What is the climax of the play?