The Crucible Act 2 Activities

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Arthur Miller's The Crucible is an engaging play that can really get students thinking about the broader implications of the Salem witch trials. This lesson provides activities to help your students get as much as possible out of reading Act 2.

Why Act 2 Activities?

When you are reading Arthur Miller's The Crucible with your students, you are likely to encounter some significant issues and themes that will help students think about the broader implications of the Salem witch trials.They will also probably think deeply about what life was like in Colonial America. Issues of class, race, and gender might also be raised by this important play.

One way to ensure students get as much as possible out of the play is to incorporate activities that bring the text to life. The activities in this lesson are specifically oriented toward helping students comprehend and reflect on the second act of the play.

Act One Recap

Before starting the reading of Act 2, one of the most important things you can do is make sure your students have remembered and processed everything that happened in the first act of the play. The drama builds on what came before, so the better they understand the first act, the better equipped they will be for the second.

Ask your students to imagine they are one of the characters in the play, and have them write a letter or diary entry describing all of the events of the play's first act. Then allow students to share their entries with one another. Discuss which events seem most salient, and chart predictions students may have for the second act.

Elizabeth vs. Abigail Venn Diagram

In the second act of the play, we get to know the characters of Elizabeth, John Proctor's wife, and Abigail, the main character, much more deeply. These two women are very different from each other, and each of them represents a different set of virtues and vices.

For this activity, have students create a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the two women as they appear throughout Act 2. This can be done individually, in groups, or as a class, and everything in the diagram should be supported with specific evidence from the text. When they have completed the diagram, ask them to consider what Miller was trying to represent via these two characters.

As a bonus activity, students can choose one of the women to write about in more detail, describing that woman and what she seems to stand for in the play in a short essay.

Visualizing a Scene

The second act of The Crucible is filled with important imagery that will play a significant role in the plot as it unfolds. For instance, Mary Warren's doll is of great symbolic significance. Ask your students to choose one scene from the second act and draw it in detail with colored pencils, or paint it with watercolor. When students share their work, they should be prepared to describe exactly why they selected the scene they did and what prompted their artistic decisions. Challenge students to reference specific language from the text that helped guide them in choosing how to illustrate the scene.

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