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"Examine the dramatic significance of this extract from The Crucible, showing its importance in relation to the play as a whole".

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Introduction

"Examine the dramatic significance of this extract from The Crucible, showing its importance in relation To the play as a whole" Throughout the history of mankind, the misapplication of power, marring of souls has been a part of life. Human emotion is a major factor in prejudice, politics and persecution in modern day. Persecution can be defined in many ways, but no matter how it is defined it is a tragic event. The Crucible is a play set in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts, written by Arthur Miller in 1953. It is based on the calamitous, witch trials of Salem, at which two young girls deceitfully accused a slave, Tituba of witchery. As a result callous accusations flew from every direction in the town resulting in almost two-dozen innocent men and women hanged and many more jailed. The extract I am studying lays the foundations for the rest of the play, upon which the story line is built on. It is in the first act and comprises the first three pages of the play. The excerpt shows the audience the first lies told in the play by Abigail "It were a sport, uncle" Betty Parris is still unconscious and is thought to be possessed by spirits. Abigail is denying any suspicion of her conjuring spirits. She is opposing against her uncle, saying he has mistaken himself of what he saw in the forest, ' You mistake yourself uncle.' ...read more.

Middle

One character in particular, which is not mentioned in the extract, but is an influential character in the play is John Procter. I feel Miller uses The Crucible to express his views on what was happening in America when the play was written in 1950's. The 'Red Scare' was result of Senator McCarthy wanting to receive public attention, through an anti-Soviet Campaign which searched for people working among others that believed in communist views or someone who might know of such a person became a common act. This crusade itself was based upon non-existent claims that some workers were communists. The hunting down and persecuting of supposed communists were a mere attempt to increase Senator McCarthy's political base. But just like Abigail Williams, his grip on the situation soon crumbled, leaving him disturbed and dishonoured. Arthur Miller engages the audience to a large extent, by toying with their emotions and allowing the audience to think about historical context of the play. For example at the end of each act Miller draws the curtain on the girls' firing frenzy and false accusations of witchcraft against many women in Salem. Leaving the audience with climax at the end of each act enhances the play to be like a soap opera. This ensures that the audience gets deeper and deeper into the storyline. I feel, for a director to produce this play on stage is a huge task. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is all apart of the delusion of making the play look verisimilistic, as the audience will not only get increased interest in the play, but they will also be able to visualise the historical context of which the play is set in. In conclusion I feel that this extract does give us an insight on the play itself. Several significant themes emerge early in the play. One of these that Miller develops throughout the act is the capability for gossip and rumours to disseminate throughout the close-knit society of Salem. Miller establishes that Salem is a society in which little information is considered private; there is no line between public and private conduct, for all information is open to suspicion and question. This correlates to the McCarthy hearings, which probed into the lives of the suspected communists for evidence of their anti-American activity, no matter the actual relevance. A second theme that Miller establishes is the ability of persons to choose whichever position suits their self-interest. Abigail Williams shows the ability to affirm or deny any charge against her, based entirely on whether it serves her needs, while Tituba, when charged with witchcraft, denies it only until she realises that admitting to the crime will save her from further punishment and that accusing others will shift the blame elsewhere. The shift of blame from one character to another will be a recurring plot point, as few characters will accept the consequences of their actions or directly confront the charges levelled against them. Moneeb AHMAD ...read more.

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