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Crucible: what Dramatic Devices does Miller use to Keep Abigail at the Centre of the Action?

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Introduction

Crucible: what Dramatic Devices does Miller use to Keep Abigail at the Centre of the Action? Abigail is constantly at the heart of the action in the play through either her direct actions or speech. Miller concentrates on Abigail as a consequence of her being one of the real historical figures. It is obvious that Miller has tried to get his play as historically correct as possible and therefore had lots of facts available for him to weave into the play about Abigail. Although he did change certain points such as Abigail's age because it would not have been morally correct in a play to have a child and a man in a relationship. It is also to give a greater impression of love, lust and want from Abigail, which a child could not express as meaningfully. I also think that she is concentrated on so much because she is so volatile throughout the story and therefore offers so many dramatic possibilities. Abigail was innocent and shocked with the judges making her story extremely believable. She would be fierce and extremely manipulative with her 'friends', and yet coy, persuasive and kind with John Proctor. Through these endless possibilities, Miller guarantees that Abigail is at the centre of the play's action I think that Miller was writing a play based around fact, but still holding a warning that the dangers superstition and 'witch-hunting' can cause to a modern audience. ...read more.

Middle

By the time the naive witch-hunter, Reverend Hale arrives to examine Betty, Abigail appears to be in even more of a dilemma with the religious authorities. Abigail is kept at the centre of the action by new evidence that has been discovered. It now appears that Abigail has been lying, and her, 'dancing in the woods', is beginning to sound a lot more like witchcraft. Miller then reveals another side to Abigail; a victim. She has been raised in a very hypocritical community and the townsfolk are now blaming and condeming her for following their rules and examples. Miller uses this attention on Abigail to help her remain at the centre of the action. Abigail blames Tituba; a black female slave from Barbados for everything that has occurred. "She made me do it! She made Betty do it!" (pg 45) A now bewildered Abigail is extremely important in Hale's investigations and is at the heart of the action. She has presented a new story that people are more inclined to believe and therefore a vital part in the play. Hale is desperate to know who else was in league with the devil and so Abigail starts accusing various townsfolk of consorting with the devil so that she might avoid punishment. The tension here is enormous and Abigail is extremely powerful and remains at the centre of the action through this clout. Tituba and the other girls are ready to follow her,leading to the extra-ordinary commotion of the final moments in the act, in which Abigail is incredibly compelling. ...read more.

Conclusion

She has realised just how powerful Abigail and the other girls are, and so she says that Proctor is in league with the devil. "Don't touch me - don't touch me!... You're the devil's man...Abigail I'll never hurt you more." (pg 104) We can tell that Abigail is slightly shocked that Mary has surrended herself, but rushes to comfort her. Miller has shown that Abigail has immense manipulative power over the action, and the other characters within the play. Abigail was never seen again. We hear that she ran away with Mercy Lewis and thirty-one pounds belonging to her uncle Parris. In the film screenplay, written by Miller, she goes to the jail to plead with Proctor to run away with her, although this scene does not appear in the play. Abigail's motivations never seem more complex than simple jealousy and a desire to have revenge on Elizabeth Proctor. She had a frustrated need to be loved and cared for in her community, of which before she has been denied. Although Abigail is at the centre of the action for most of the play, Miller does not appear to want to blame her. Miller persuades us to feel sympathy and pity for Abigail. She is the villain of the play driven only by a sexual desire, jealousy and a lust for power, but yet we feel she should not be held responsible. She drives the chaos along, but it is the authoritative Parris, Putnam and Danforth; the respected elders of Salem town that we are meant to despise and bear the moral responsibility for the tragedy. ...read more.

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