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Examine the end of act one in 'The Crucible.' Consider its importance of this scene to the rest of the play and analyse how Miller makes it dramatic.

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Introduction

Charlie Partridge 10p set one Twentieth Century Drama Coursework Examine the end of act one in 'The Crucible.' Consider its importance of this scene to the rest of the play and analyse how Miller makes it dramatic. 'The Crucible' was written in 1952 by the twentieth century American playwright Arthur Miller (1915-.) Miller was born in New York and educated at the University of Michigan where he began to write plays. Most of Miller's plays are set in contemporary America and on the whole offer a realistic portrayal of life and society and the theme of self-realization is re-current e.g. John Proctor in 'The Crucible'. 'The Crucible' was the third play Miller wrote. It is a play about the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. It was used as a parable for McCarthyism in America in the 1950s. Miller's play 'The Crucible' has recently been made into a hugely successful film that stars Hollywood actress Winona Ryder showing its enduring themes. The play concentrates on key figures of the trials: Abigail Williams, Mary Warren, John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor and Reverend Samuel Parris. These were all real people trapped in the devastation of the time. The disturbing storyline powerfully depicts people under pressure and certain issues involved, Senator Joseph McCarthy; an important figure in the USA in the 1950's is mentioned somewhat in 'The Crucible.' For instance; a certain similarity between the Salem Witchcraft Trials and McCarthyism was the fact that they both failed to make a plausible case against anyone, both their colourful and cleverly presented accusations drove people out of their jobs (and in 'The Crucible') and their towns and brought popular condemnation to others. The persecution of innocent souls is apparent in both Senator Joseph McCarthy's work and of 'The Crucible.' McCarthyism was when all left wing views were arraigned for un-American activities during the 1950s. 'The Crucible' has much strength, its main and most imminent being its deeper meaning relating to America in the 1950s. ...read more.

Middle

Tituba feels forced into explaining she gave Abigail chicken blood to drink. She realises the only way to get out of this awful corruption is to lie and she makes herself take the blame. Hale is short tempered and offensive towards Tituba, 'woman, have you enlisted these children for the Devil?' Tituba is direct and explains she never trucked with a Devil. She is lost for words and clarifies she loves Betty. The atmosphere becomes very tense due to the topic of conversation: drinking blood and trafficking with the Devil. There are no stage directions because the actions are being created by the words. Hale makes false accusations towards Tituba before he lets her answer for herself. Hale is arrogant towards Tituba due to the fact she is a black slave with no rights and no status. He declares that Tituba has sent her spirit out upon Betty and accuses her of gathering souls for the Devil. Using the idea Hale has insinuated Abigail uses it, much to her advantage and remarks that Tituba sent her spirit out to her in church. Parris supports Abigail's false accusation and recalls; he remembers Abigail laughing in church. That was actually due to the fact she was making contact with John Proctor during Church. Tituba is in a very uncomfortably agonizing situation with not a leg to stand on, with three people resisting her explanations. Tituba's speeches are long, drawn out due to the fact she is thinking on her feet and everything that comes to mind is spoken aloud. Abigail blames Tituba for her own corruptions and actions that have taken place because she is taking advantage of the fact that Tituba is a black, Negro slave with no rights and no status. Tituba turns aggressive and she asks why Abigail is using all these fabrications. Abigail gets carried away and her speeches become destructive e.g. ...read more.

Conclusion

The audience is left in anxious doubt. The significance of the end of this scene and the inquisitions later on in court are relatively alike; the fact that the demoniac ways the girls asserted themselves aggressively, resulting in virtuous lives being lost. Abigail's final accusations are dramatically ironic compared to the fact that when Abigail and John Proctor had a privately intimate talk, she told him they were 'just children being children' and that it was 'so called pretence.' The audience will have latched onto these facts and Miller has dramatically portrayed Abigail as a devious, hypocritical, two-faced, deceitful, lying young woman. Therefore, I can conclude; in relation to the question, 'consider the importance of this scene to the rest of the play and analyse how Miller makes it dramatic.' That this scene contains vast amounts of valuable information that is later relied on in court and also the fact Hales ideas of the devils children's characteristics are later used as a parable in Abigail and her little followers work. Miller uses many different devices to make this scene ultimately dramatic which have analysed each one carefully and displayed my information within this essay. The witchcraft trials in Salem were remarkable, mainly for the numbers involved. Before the witchcraft hysteria was over the girls had pointed the finger at hundreds of supposed witches, not only in Salem but also in places far apart such as Andover and Charleston. They even accused people they did not know e.g. Abigail accused Hales wife whom she had never met. By October 1692 doubts had set in about the girl's testimony. In December 1692 Governor Phillips appointed a new session of the Superior Court of Judicature to clear the jails, and issued a general pardon to all persons still under suspicion. By this time, however, nineteen people had been hanged, one pressed to death under a pile of rocks (Giles Corey) for refusing to speak at his own trial, and at least two more people had died in prison, bringing the number of deaths to twenty-two. 1 ...read more.

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