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Examine how Miller creates dramatic tension in the 'yellow bird' scene of The Crucible and consider how an audience might react

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Examine how Miller creates dramatic tension in the 'yellow bird' scene of The Crucible and consider how an audience might react Arthur Miller's play, 'The Crucible', is set in Massachusetts in 1692, where mass hysteria led to the Salem witchcraft trials. The same kind of situation occurred in the1950s resulting in the Anti-Communist frenzy of that time known as McCarthyism. In my essay I intend to examine how Miller creates tension in the Yellow Bird scene by using dramatic effects to engage the audience in the play and keep them engrossed, involved and on the edge of their seats. At the beginning of act three, the mood is set by the stage directions and descriptions. It says, "the room is empty but for sunlight pouring in through two high windows in the black wall." It gives the impression of solemnity and depression, and also makes the small room seem claustrophobic so the girls have nowhere to escape. This reflects the stifling society and the situation that the girls have got themselves into. ...read more.


Mary immediately springs to her feet and protests in shock, pleading Abigail to stop with the deception and to tell the truth. Abigail says that she cannot stop because it is God's work that she does and this creates even more frustration and hatred towards Abigail from the audience because we know that Mary is innocent and Abigail is such a convincing liar. The other girls pick on the a trance and Mary gets more and more agitated as she cannot defend herself against the large cluster of girls in hysteria. They act like bullies, ganging up on her because she is weak and the tension builds up, as Mary gets more and more distressed. The girls start mimicking Mary, which is a typical playground-bullying device, which is guaranteed to undermine her. Abigail targeted her as she chose to confess and she will do anything to get her way, as she is frightened that Mary would reveal the truth. They then advance further to imitating Mary's actions - stamping feet and shaking fists, strengthening the tension, and maddening the audience even more with aggravation. ...read more.


Hale leaves the court and the scene ends with Danforth shouting to him to come back, leaving a cliffhanger into Act 4. Danforth became hysterical towards the end as a result of the chaos occurring. The continued action through the scene keeps the audience on the edges of their seats and feeling like they are part of the play, which keeps them interested and involved, because they are feeling the emotion and distress as Proctor and Hale are so they feel as though they are going through the dramatic situation with them. The vast amount of action keeps the scene moving and there is always something happening as when ever the situation is diverted, Abigail steps in and takes the Yellow bird to another level. The short, sharp sentences during the scene also contribute largely to the tension building up and everyone is cutting over each other's sentences, which creates the idea of more chaotic occurrence. The negative words that are used by Abigail and against her create a negative atmosphere, for example. "I cannot stop! She sees nothing, mustn't, never, don't don't. ...read more.

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