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Exploring the dramatic importance of act 4 in Arthur Miller's "The Crucible"

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Introduction

Exploring the dramatic importance of act 4 in Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" We have been exploring and analysing "The crucible", a play by Arthur Miller. A play written during the hysteria of McCarthyism, in the 1950's. This is reflected in some of the issues raised in the play. This essay will focus particularly on the importance of Act 4 to the play, in various forms and will include the social and historical setting of the play itself. We will start of with a short summary of Joseph McCarthy. Joseph lived a complicated life (1908-1957) as a Republican senator from Appleton, Wisconsin. His purpose was to whip up anti-communism during the 1950's, and let me tell you now, he certainly didn't fail! Joseph McCarthy was known to accuse innocent people of being communists. The only way the accused could then be let off was if they too, accused another of being a communist, (even if they weren't.) And so the time of McCarthyism began. Arthur Miller (author of "the crucible") was one of the very few who wouldn't confirm whether or not he was a communist or an anti-communist, this was very agitating for Joseph because he needed a straight yes or no answer to decide the consequence. The play "the crucible" was wrote by Arthur Miller under the influence of this McCarthyism. He has cleverly entwined this into his writing by showing how absolutely anyone, no matter how religious and righteous they have been throughout their lives, could be accused of witchcraft. This is most strongly shown through the Character Rebecca Nurse. "The Crucible" is a play wrote about the unfair blacklisting and singling out of innocent people. Added with a splash of communism, and a thick layer of deep emotions, this play was unfaultable. Arthur miller travelled back and explored the differences between America and Salem in the 17th century. Salem had changed dramatically. ...read more.

Middle

She had not only ruined her reputation but she had just pushed John into even deeper water! Months have past by the time we meet Elizabeth again. By this time she has developed into a warm loving character and we find out that Elizabeth and Proctor have loved each other all along. Elizabeth has changed dramatically. She rises out of her shell because she knows anything that has to be said must be said now before it is too late. Proctor enters and is left alone with Elizabeth where they are both overcome with emotion. This is the first time they have been alone together since Act 2. As an audience we can tell that they are both trying to act calm. Especially Elizabeth, who is trying desperately not to crack the calm atmosphere around her. John asks Elizabeth what he should do but Elizabeth doesn't say to lie directly because she doesn't want to be the one responsible for John damning himself. So Instead she says, "As you will. I will have it." Trying to subtly suggest to John that he should lie by saying "I want you living, that's for sure." Although at the same time, she wants John to be able to forgive himself. She says "John, it come naught that I should forgive you, if you'll not forgive yourself." After that she pours her heart out to John with self-pity. She says "it were a cold house I kept" and "it takes a cold wife to prompt lechery." Obviously, Elizabeth was distraught by the affair. As if her self-confidence wasn't low enough already, the affair had just confirmed to her that she was worthless. Why would a man like proctor love her? Elizabeth shows the audience that she has inner strength, by overcoming her coldness and touching john. Something that she hadn't before, done in the play. Finally, Proctor rips up the confession and Elizabeth is full of uncontrollable emotion. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another technique Miller uses, is dramatic irony. He uses this to create huge amounts of tension, such as the affair between Proctor and Abigail. When John and Elizabeth were alone together for the first time in Act 2, tension was high because we knew, and John knew what he had done, but Elizabeth didn't. He uses pauses to create a sense of someone finding it hard to say something; they might be scared, or even nervous. Arthur Miller uses language with layers of different meanings. I am now going to have a look at some of the sentences he has put together and whether or not they have more than one meaning. In Act 1, John and Abigail are left alone. They use words referring to hot and cold and animals to talk about sex indirectly. This is because it just wasn't a thing you would talk about! For example "sweated like a stallion" this could also mean just sex and no love, like animals. Abigail says, "You are no wintry man" this could mean he is not emotionless and frigid, he is hot blooded and passionate. Unlike Elizabeth who she says is "a cold, snivelling woman." Abigail is trying to say that John is the complete opposite to Elizabeth. She is wondering why John would want to be with her? She is so different and doesn't satisfy him like Abigail does. Throughout the play Miller uses metaphorical language. In Act 2 John says "I will fall like an ocean on that court" I think this means that the court will be overthrown and will have a small amount of power compared to what John will have. Arthur Miller uses this language for a number of different reasons. It may be to enliven ideas, or by making a link through language to another context and most of all to make the audience use their imaginations and think about the play, rather than just sitting down, watching it and never thinking about it again. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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