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How does Arthur Miller create tension in act 3 of The Crucible?

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Introduction

Amy Lange 10 Set 1 How does Arthur Miller create tension in Act Three of 'The Crucible'? There are many ways in which Arthur Miller creates tension, suspense and frustration in the audience throughout Act Three of 'The Crucible'. The dram is based on an outbreak of Witchcraft hysteria in Salem 1692. During this, many innocent people were charged and hanged with Witchcraft due to the intensity of the Puritan beliefs and tight social conventions. A state of tension arises even at the very beginning of Act Three when the stage direction instructs an 'empty room'. This emphasises the forbidding setting and straight away the audience would wonder why no-one is on stage. There would be much tension in the audience as they wait for someone to enter. This empty room also reinforces the plainness of the Puritan ethic. However, the tension is slightly broken when voices are heard through the portioning wall. A question is asked and a woman (Martha Corey) replies, "I am innocent to a Witch. I know not what a Witch is." This would alert the audience because they are straight away informed that someone is thought to be a Witch. Then, when Martha Corey explains that she can not be a Witch because she does not know what a Witch is, more tension is put upon the audience. ...read more.

Middle

This shows that he has read something that has maybe shocked him in a way, causing him to be rather speechless after. This would definitely create tension throughout the audience because they would want to know what it was that he had read. However, the uncomfortable tension of this scene is later relaxed when Giles Corey is being questioned by Danforth about his deposition. It is quite humorous and there is much inconsequential detail included. For example, Giles gets angry and says, "A fart on Thomas Putnam, that is what I say to that!" The audience would have found this quite amusing; relaxing the tension and creating a calmer atmosphere once again. We can see here that there were many disagreements and quarrels between neighbours. These quarrels were often over land issues and can be linked to the theme of 'The individual and society'. There is a quite a lot of repetition included later in this scene when Hale and Danforth are talking. They repeat the words, "fear" and "country" a number of times within four sentences. The word "fear" would definitely create tension in the audience because as soon as it is mentioned they would feel on edge as to why it is being said so often. Soon after we see that Hale changes sides and goes against what the girls are saying. ...read more.

Conclusion

Abigail is then left, alone in the middle of the room screaming. Here the tension in the audience would be incredible and they would be transfixed on Mary. Once again the tension is broken by Proctor striding towards her but it quickly builds up again as Mary notices him and rushes away screaming in horror. She shouts, "Don't touch me- don't touch me!" Here the girls all stop at the door and Mary rushes to Abigail sobbing. She has gone back to Abigail's side and this would create tension in the audience because it is unexpected after everything Abigail has put Mary Warren through. The tension continues to build again as Hale decides to quit the court and slams the door behind him. Danforth shouts after him, "Mr Hale! Mr Hale!" This is the last line of Act three and really leaves the ending of the act at a peak of tension. It would leave the audience very tense and wanting to know what happens in the remainder of the play to the girls and the others. Overall, we can see that Arthur Miller successfully uses many ways to create tension, suspense and frustration in the audience throughout Act Three of 'The Crucible'. The tension is caused by a variety of methods ranging from the use of silences to mass hysteria between Abigail and the girls. However, we can see that all the ways used by Miller are extremely successful. ...read more.

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