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Consider how Miller creates and maintains tension in Act 3 of The Crucible?

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Introduction

Consider how Miller creates and maintains tension in Act 3 of The Crucible The play, "The Crucible" which Miller published in 1953 is about the Salem witch trials which occurred in the late 17th Century. Salem was a town in America, where the emigrant Puritans from England settled. Miller had many intentions when writing "The Crucible" one of which is to show us how accusations from regular citizens, who are in the grip of hysteria, resulted in the hanging of many innocent people. Many critics think that the reason Miller wrote this play was in response to McCarthyism, which was when the US government blacklisted accused communists in the 1950's. Miller himself was on this list and was eventually questioned by the House of Representatives. The play was also written to convey to the outer world the controversy, mayhem and confusion which would have scarred the innocent victims for life. In Act 3 of the play, Miller creates and maintains tension throughout, to keep the audience engaged. One of the tensest scenes is in Act 3, the dialogue between John Proctor and Mary Warren. We see Proctor eventually jailed, he was portrayed by Miller as the character that gave hope to others to solve this scandal in the community. The playwright uses many literary devices to evoke such awe in the audience and to enhance tension. The playwright uses many different techniques to do this for example setting, dialogue, characterization and action to convey the events to follow. In Salem, where life is hard and humble we find the scene is set in the courtroom where Judge Hawthorne is questioning Martha Corey, an accused witch, like Miller was an accused Communist. ...read more.

Middle

Evidence for this is that they have both been convicted and jailed by Abigail and the girls, testifying that they saw them with the devil. Proctor tells us that, "But who tells us Rebecca Nurse murdered seven babies by sending her spirit out on them? It is the children only." This turn of events shows the younger generations respect for the elders is very poor. Miller wants the elderly to be represented in the play, like so as it makes the audience stiff and sorry for them, causing it frightening to watch and tension is created which is a reason for Miller to include characters such as Corey and Nurse. In Act 3 we see the fall of Proctor, who was the hope of Salem, trying to bring the truth out. In the Act, Proctor comes into court to defend his wife, Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse. In the outrage of Danforth trying to blackmail him, telling him his wife may live another month and if she does show signs of birth, she will be able to live another year but only on the terms that he drops his charges against Abigail. In response to the news he replies, "But if she says she is pregnant then she must be! That woman will never lie." This creates high drama as Proctor had claimed his wife will tell the truth when questioned, however later in the Act, she does lie. Eventually Proctor becomes so angry with Abigail's accusations that he puts himself at risk and tells the court of his affair with Abigail. ...read more.

Conclusion

The most notable case of this was between Abigail, Mary and Elizabeth. In this case Mary had knitted a poppet for Elizabeth, but she left a needle stuck in it. Abigail then accused Elizabeth of cursing it, to stab her. The court believed this, and accused Elizabeth of communicating with the devil and of witchcraft. This part of the play shows how Miller kept this scene ambiguous as the audience could have portrayed it as Elizabeth being a witch or Abigail being cunning and mischievous seeing Mary put the needle there for safekeeping and Elizabeth convicted and be another innocent victim of corruption in the town. I think many believed the latter as Abigail had been already been portrayed as the ring leader of the girls and the main cause of this outrage in an otherwise quiet, uneventful town. This is a case of dramatic irony which creates anxiety that follows other cases that create apprehension in the act. In conclusion the intentions of Miller writing this play were to describe how he was treated when he was jailed in America as an accused communist, to the world and what he thought of the accusations against him. In the play Miller creates and maintains tension to keep the audience in suspense and excitement he does this using a variety of literary devices such as setting, dialogue, characterization and action to make the audience aware of his views on McCarthyism and the likewise witch hunt in Salem. Miller has also made clear his argument that no person can be given so much importance and control over other's lives as Abigail and McCarthy were. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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