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Explore the dramatic significance of Act 2 in 'The Crucible.' What might Arthur Miller have been suggesting to the original audience about society at that time?

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Explore the dramatic significance of Act 2 in 'The Crucible.' What might Arthur Miller have been suggesting to the original audience about society at that time? At the end of the previous act several younger members of their puritan community had been caught dancing in the forest, instead of admitting their guilt they accused several older woman of being in league with the devil. These women had been arrested and were placed in court and then in prison for offences that they had not committed. Abigail was the main accuser and she has command over the other girls. She is a very charismatic leader and she can get the girls to do what she wants. The whole plot revolves around her and her affair with John Proctor. Act 2 is set in the farmhouse in which John Proctor lives with his wife Elizabeth. When he walks in she is still upstairs and he tastes the food that she has cooked for him. When she walks downstairs he starts talking to her, but he isn't how you would expect him to act, he is polite and refuses to do anything wrong because he is still trying to regain her trust. She is still untrusting to him still though it has been 7 months since his affair, this is shown when he kisses her because she merely 'receives it' they also talk in very short exchanges, thereby creating a very tense atmosphere. ...read more.


The younger generation don't believe in it as much because they were dancing in the forest, and they don't mind ruining where they were brought up because else they wouldn't have accused the community of being in league with the devil. The character John Proctor is fascinating because he is unpredictable and his temper can flair up at anytime. At the beginning his conversations with Elizabeth are broken and uncommunicative. This creates the impression to the audience that they are not very comfortable in each others company. This is a low point of tension, the tension in Act 2 rises and falls depending on what people are in his household. As soon as Proctor enters the household the audience can tell he is an interesting character. The way he seasons his food and then calmly compliments her on it is a good example of dramatic irony. This suggests that John likes to be in control without people realising that he is. Also he serenely suggests that she should bring some flowers in, again he is taking control without her realising it. Dramatic irony is effective because it shows the audience what he knows but not what the other characters know. The storyline has high points and low ones. When they are alone together there is a low point though the air is strained as though it might break through sheer nervousness. ...read more.


Hale starts to talk but Proctor cuts him off, this is successful as a dramatic effect because it demonstrates the anger in him and his protection for his wife, and informs the spectators of what their relationship is like. Their relationship is unclear because of his affair with Abigail. But during act 2 the exactness of their relationship is publicized. At the end of Act 2 John Proctor speaks in soliloquy to the audience. This is used dramatically because the audience can see how he feels. It is effective because he has broken down, and he tells exactly how he feels because in the play he isn't talking to anyone, and no-one is near him except for Mary who is still sobbing over what she has to do. The correlation between the 1950's and the 1690's is strong. This play would never have been written of the times were unfamiliar to Arthur Miller, he would never have needed to suggest that the modern times were comparable to the long ago Salem Witch trials, if Joseph McCarthy has not been so opposed to communist. Perhaps Arthur Miller thought that the 1950's America was going backwards in development of free thought. I think that Arthur Miller's idea to write this play during this time was a talented way to get his point across to all of America and show that Joseph McCarthy was wrong to accuse people without evidence- like they did in 1690's Salem. ...read more.

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