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Explain how Dramatic Tension is built up in the Scene, Paying Particular Attention to the Character of John Proctor

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Explain how Dramatic Tension is built up in the Scene, Paying Particular Attention to the Character of John Proctor Both acts 3 and 4 employ a variety of dramatic techniques to engage the audience in the fate of John Proctor. Miller continually shifts the focus from character to character throughout the scenes, which as a result produces a strong overall effect in the play. The play was written in the early 1950's during a time when there was a lot of unnecessary hysteria in the United States surrounding Communism, and although the play is based on the Salem witch hunts of 1692 they're similar to what was happening in America at the time. As the hatred towards Communism, the red plague, grew, the subsequent McCarthy trials and investigations into un-American activities were set up. This was very similar to what happened in Salem in 1692. However, the tragic dilemma of Proctor also teaches a universal issue understandable to us all. First, I will consider the dramatic function of the character whose views are closest to the audience Reverend Hale. He is a well-respected man in the community, as he is a witch hunter, and he provides the audience with a character that they are able to empathise with. His changing views resemble the audience's feelings, evidence for this is in that as the act progresses Miller makes him dramatically change his opinion toward the court case and the legal system. ...read more.


One such example of this sentence ending is, "They've come to overthrow the court, sir! This man is -". Miller uses Giles Corey a lot during the beginning of the court case but he disappears towards the end, but he uses Giles against Danforth in that Danforth views Giles, even the old man that he is, as a threat against the court, which subsequently creates friction between them. An illustration of this point is when Giles says, "They be tellin' lies about my wife, sir, I -". Danforth then replies by saying, "Disrespect indeed! It is disruption, mister. This is the highest court of the supreme government of this province, do you know it?" there is also in that some of Danforth's hyperbolic use of language too, to produce more dramatic tension. Furthermore Danforth's bullying of Giles and Francis Nurse illustrates that the court is indifferent to the people of the highest and lowest in society. Miller uses the next minor character, Francis Nurse, as a man who respects the authority of Danforth, but still questions him in the court case. He questions him by telling him the truth quietly and with respect. When Francis comes on stage though, Miller turns the focus to him as he does with the other characters when they come on stage. ...read more.


Miller also uses Proctor very well in that he gets the audience to sympathise with Proctor and changes him to the status of a hero. However this heroic status has a tragic flaw in that he is dependent on three other characters in the court case, they are: Elizabeth, Abigail and Mary. He needs these characters to back up his version of events, but when one or more of them go against him, then he stumbles heavily. Miller here is exploiting the contextual background of the play - this is Salem, women would have no rights and no power, so it's ironic that the play is built around the testimony of women. Overall, though Miller has produced a well-executed play with a lot of dramatic tension built up in this, the strongest act and most important. At some points the audience is stunned and at others they are on the edge of their seat. This is what Miller intended to happen with this play as it portrays the true nature of the events in the 1950's surrounding Communism, the red plague, and the McCarthy trials. They are similar to what is now happening today in that there is a lot of racist hate among Americans toward the Arab world and particularly the Islamic states and people. Andrew Foreman 10T - 1 - ...read more.

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