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Analysis of 'The Crucible'

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Introduction

The Crucible Explore the methods Miller uses to create dramatic tension for an audience in the 'The Crucible'. Arthur Miller was born in Harlem, New York, on October 17th 1915 and died February 10th 2005, aged 89. Miller was a playwright and essayist and was a prominent figure in American literature for over 61 years, writing a wide variety of plays, including The Crucible. The Crucible was written in the 1950's, amongst the time of marrying Marilyn Monroe in 1956, however the play is set in 1692. The Great Depression had a huge affect on his family and life. Miller struggled through his childhood and adolescence, all the way to college - having had no money to go there after graduating. His family lost everything. "There were three suicides on the little block where we lived. They couldn't cope." (A. Miller) This left Miller influenced by the tragedy during his formative years. As well as this he was also influenced by the horror at the strength of the anti-communist movement in America during the 1950's - people were imprisoned and hunted down, and there were also a lot of mysterious disappearances. Miller was concerned with the battle between responsibility to 'self' and 'society'. In The Crucible, his main character John Proctor has to make this decision at the end of the play. The word 'Crucible' has a definition of a place or occasion of severe test or trial and can also have the meaning of a ceramic or metal container in which substances may be melted or subjected to very high temperature. ...read more.

Middle

As a result of this, Mary has a break down and accuses Proctor of being a witch. As the autumn arrives, we find that Abigail has run away. Reverend Hale, the expert on witchcraft, has lost faith in the court and begs the accused witches to confess in order to save their lives, but they refuse. However, Danforth has conjured a plan: he asks Elizabeth to persuade John into confessing, and she agrees to do this. Proctor agrees to confess but refuses to incriminate anyone else, and when the court insists that the confession must be made public, Proctor became resentful and retracts his statement. With that, the witch trials reach their awful conclusion, as Proctor is sent to the gallows with the others. Tragedy is a genre of drama, which stemmed from the Greeks; devised by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. Tragic plays always had a tragic hero, which in The Crucible is expressed through Proctor who is in conflict with the law and social drama, contending with the conflicts facing individuals within the conventions of society. As the play is set in 1692, this drama was based upon documented historical events. Miller does this is a number of ways by the use of compressing time, composite characters and conjecture events. This is called artistic license. John Proctor himself is husband to Elizabeth Proctor. He is a good father, and loyal to his friends. ...read more.

Conclusion

In reaction to this situation the audience would feel quite shocked, and would want to know what's going to happen next as a result of what she is saying and how it will affect the people of Salem if they find out. Salem is guided by Puritanism, influenced by the religious teachings of the Bible. The life of a Puritan has a dominant and constant force - characters in the play are faced by the demands of their religion, which creates a lot of hysteria and witch hunts, which consequently results in trials and deaths, and the build up of tension. The characters have closed minds and abided by their religion but Proctor behaved differently making him be seen by others as the devil. When a society develops itself thinking that their way of life is the only acceptable way, there will be intolerance of all other ways of life. An example of this is Parris' reaction to Betty's illness. It was seen as completely abhorrent and this triggered the condemnatory behaviour. The reaction to John and Abigail's affair also reflects intolerance within the community. Intolerance is also provoked by the "rules" within a society, which may motivate rebellion - it is inevitable in a world based on induction. This theory is meditated throughout the play through Proctor and Abigail. Abigail induces witchcraft, and Proctor fights against the court. Rebellion will build up excitement and tension in the audience as they ponder what will happen as a consequence, which in the end is death. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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