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'The Crucible' language essay

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Introduction

Unit 1: Exploration Notes - The Crucible Essay 4: Use of Language 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller fits into the genre of a Realism. It's time period is set in the late 1600s. Thus the language used in the script is archaic and realistic for the time period it is set. The images that 'The Crucible' creates in the mind's of the audience (although infrequent) are enlarged and exaggerated; Danforth declares he would 'hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of the statutes' John Proctor describes his farm as a 'continent' and his wife's behaviour as an 'everlasting funeral'. This enhances the imagery in the minds of an audience. The play is of a naturalistic theme, but in the language Miller can be surreal. In order to make the audience aware of what is happening elsewhere than the scene (within naturalistic conversation) the characters discuss the events that are going on in the town, this is known as Reported action for example Abigail says to Paris 'Uncle the rumour of witchcraft is all about' this is a form of narrative for the audience who cannot leave the present scene on stage. ...read more.

Middle

Even though they are in America the characters do not speak with an American accent as they are still fairly early settlers in the country and sound British. In the script there are distinctive speech patterns enforced by Miller. The servants/slaves in the play use bad grammar for they are low status and uneducated for example Mercy, Proctor's servant, says to him 'I best be off. I have my Ruth to watch'. In contrast to Paris the town pastor who has high status, he uses 'proper' wording e.g. 'you compromise my very character....I have put clothes upon your back' and Proctor who is a farmer uses rough language like 'I'll show you a great doing on your arse one of these days.' and uses abbreviations for instance 'Ah, you're wicked yet, aren't y'!' by this language you can tell he's a bit of a farmer. Various colloquial phrases no longer used like 'there be no blush about my name' and 'I say shut it' both said by Abigail who is an orphan living with her Uncle, Paris. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the beginning scene of Act two involving Proctor and Elizabeth there is significant language used. To begin with their language is not the same as a modern audience's, their grammar is different; 'I were planting far out to the forest edge' this makes it harder for the audience to relate to the characters. We are reminded of their religion when Proctor says they should 'pray now for a fair summer.' The couple use simple, short sentences when talking to one another, which show conflict 'Are you well today?' 'I am...'.it is a rabbit' this conveys the tension between them. Proctor uses ominous metaphors in his speech for example 'Lilac is the smell of nightfall' and 'It's warm as blood beneath the clods.' This hints at the blood shed to come. When Proctor rebukes his wife for letting their servant go to Salem he repeats again that it was 'a fault' this enforces his point of authority. Proctor compares their servant to a mouse making Elizabeth, who seemingly can't stand up to her, look even more pathetic. The word God keeps being repeated throughout the scene making an audience think of sin, religion and punishment. ...read more.

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