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How Does Arthur Miller Create Dramatic Tension Within The Play 'The Crucible'.

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Introduction

How Does Arthur Miller Create Dramatic Tension Within The Play 'The Crucible' Arthur Miller wrote 'The Crucible' in 1953. The play was written so that Miller could show how the McCarthyism in 1950's America related to the witchcraft that happened in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. A man called Senator Joe McCarthy began McCarthyism. Joe exploited the American fears about Communism and managed to create a national campaign against Communists. As Chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee, he interrogated many witnesses and tried to make them inform on friends and colleagues. Powerful figures were happy to support McCarthy. McCarthy was gradually brought into disrepute and in 1954; he was removed as Chairman of the Committee after it was proved that he and his associates had been falsifying evidence. However, the witch-hunt continued for a few years and Arthur Miller himself was called in front of the committee in 1956. Miller refused to give the names of friends who might have been interested in Communism. As a result, Miller was fined for contempt of Congress. McCarthyism and the witchcraft in Salem are related because in both circumstances, innocent people were punished. ...read more.

Middle

(Danforth replies)." Sometimes Miller mixes different types of character on stage at the same time which heightens the tension. This works especially well in the courtroom in Act 3 when Abigail pretends to be clutched by a spirit, all the girls do the same and then the person being tried (the innocent) is convicted! "Abby, stop it!" (Mary says). "Abby, stop it! (girls repeat)." This takes the attention away from Abigail just as she may be found out. Miller makes the characters speak at different speeds (sometimes quick, sometimes slow), which creates tension, it sounds more realistic. Miller sometimes has the characters interrupt each other at critical moments. A good example of this is when Abigail and Proctor are talking to one another in Act 1, and Betty claps her ears suddenly and whines loudly. This brings Parris rushing in. "What happened? What are you doing to her? Betty!" At this point, Mrs Putnam, Thomas Putnam and Mercy Lewis also enter. In the play there are many such interruptions that create tension. The audience then wonders why the person is interrupting, what do they want or need or what have they done? ...read more.

Conclusion

This draws the audience into the play, making them frustrated again as well as giving the play more tension as the audience will be expecting something to happen. This is illustrated in Act 3, the courtroom scene. After Mary has given a disposition to the Court, swearing that she never saw apparitions, Judge Danforth decides to question Abigail and the children, in an attempt to find out the truth. Miller wants the audience to think that Abigail is about to be found out. "But if she speak true, I bid you drop now your guile and confess your pretence, for a quick confession will go easier with you. Abigail Williams, rise. Is there any truth in this?" However, Abigail doesn't tell the truth. "I have naught to change, sir. She lies." Miller makes Abigail pass the blame onto Goody Proctor. She does this by lying about the poppets. "Goody Proctor always kept poppets." This creates another storyline which frustrates the audience as they wonder what's going to happen next and whether Abigail will be found guilty or not. Having studied the play 'The Crucible', I have come to the conclusion that Arthur Miller has used various techniques such as speed of dialogue, character interruption, curtain use, empty stage and activity off stage to create dramatic tension for the audience. 1 ...read more.

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