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Choose any tense section in 'The Crucible' and describe how Arthur Miller creates the tension.

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Introduction

Coursework 3: Jennifer Hardie 10H 8 January, 2002- Final Draft Choose any tense section in 'The Crucible' and describe how Arthur Miller creates the tension. I have chosen to write my essay on a section in Act VI, starting on page 105 from where Elizabeth Proctor enters, ending just before John Proctor enters at the bottom of page 106. This scene in ' The Crucible ', is a heated dialogue between Deputy-Governor Danforth, Reverend Hale, Reverend Parris, Judge Hathorne and Goodwife Elizabeth Proctor whom the four men are desperately trying to persuade to save her husband, John Proctor's life. I chose this scene because it makes clear how Arthur Miller uses all the means available to a dramatist to make a section tense. He creates the extreme tension between the characters and makes the mood obvious to the reader using; language devices, the interrogation of characters, pauses, disagreement between characters, stage directions to create images for us to visualise the action, and our previous knowledge of events and relationships between these characters in particular. The scene is set inside a cell in Salem jail. Earlier in Act IV, Miller used stage directions to show us how uncomfortable he wished for the room to look. Also as the season is Autumn, Miller described the weather as bitterly cold and told us that "the place is in darkness but for the moonlight seeping through the bars."These conditions add to the tension in the scene as characters are ...read more.

Middle

Danforth hesitates after reassuring her that they come not for her life. Hale then speaks- "Goody Proctor, your husband is marked to hang this morning." He is handling the situation more openly and his directness breaks the tension slightly. On the other hand, this could have an adverse effect on the reader as they may just become increasingly tense through frustration with Hale's bluntness, if they think that this is the wrong way to handle the situation. Miller then includes a probing interrogation as he does many times in this section to create a build up of tension. He portrays the desperation of the men to persuade Elizabeth by this questioning aimed at making her feel guilty: "Be there no wifely tenderness within you?"- this is emotive language and is to arouse her feelings of love for John. Also Hale says "You know, do you not, that I have no connection with the court?"- here Miller uses personal pronouns to express how it is important to all of them that John is saved. They again play on Elizabeth's conscience when Hale says "if he is taken I count myself his murderer". This line also shows Hale's inner tensions- how he is struggling with his conscience in encouraging people to lie, but how he has decided to do so, as he would feel guilty if he didn't at least attempt to save innocent lives. ...read more.

Conclusion

At the end of this section the tension of whether Elizabeth will agree to plead with John has eventually been relieved. However, there is now a new tension as the reader is left wondering if Elizabeth will be successful in persuading John to confess, and effectively, will his life be saved? I feel that this is perhaps the most tense scene in the play as the life of the main character depends upon it's result. Miller has ensured that the reader knows exactly what they want this result to be in his portrayal of John to be a likeable character. Building up such strong feelings within the reader is how Miller creates the tension. In my essay I tried, often by outlining a particular point in a certain paragraph, to show how Miller uses a wide variety of methods to make this a tense section such as; the setting and time of day, our background knowledge, pauses, misunderstandingsand disagreements, language devices (used also to stress their desperation to persuade Elizabeth), interrogation, the mood of characters, stage directions (used also to create images) and the themes of condemnation for witchcraft, the Puritan society and religion, darkness and the devil, and of lying. These different methods all help Arthur Miller to create and then increase the tense feeling within the reader, and to build up the tension from previous events in the play, to a climax. ...read more.

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