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How Does Arthur Miller use Theatrical Techniques and Dramatic Devises to Create and Sustain Tension in the Crucible

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Introduction

How does Arthur Miller use theatrical techniques and dramatic devices to create and sustain tension in The Crucible? Ella Park Going to the theatre is both an intimate and exciting experience for the audience. It creates a tense atmosphere by having the action so close to you. The theatre offers a completely different experience than sitting alone with a book. At the theatre you are sharing your experience, atmosphere and emotion with everyone around you. When you're reading a book you have to use your imagination and make up images about the characters in your head. You may feel closer to the characters whilst reading a book but in a theatre you are physically closer to the characters, which adds to the reality of the situation. I think that the way a theatre production happens in a short amount of time makes it a lot more dramatic than a book, which is spread out, and you can put it down whenever you want. At the theatre you feel more part of the drama than if you were reading a book. This is because you are a witness to all the events and if you know something that a character doesn't you feel involved. Theatre therefore creates such a tense and emotional atmosphere because of the live actors and reality of the performance. Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, illustrates how people react to hysteria created by one person or a group of people. ...read more.

Middle

In all four acts the setting is very similar. All the acts take place inside dark, small rooms without a lot of furniture. Throughout the play the settings are dark with a small amount of light 'seeping' through the windows. This creates claustrophobic and brooding atmosphere, which makes the audience feel nervous, they are anticipating something sinister from when the scene starts. Act four is the only act that isn't set in the daytime, however it is lit, like every scene, by a small amount of light coming through the window but in this scene it is moonlight instead of sunlight: 'The place is in darkness but for the moonlight seeping through the bars.' At the end of act four the sun rises to represent a new beginning after the highly dramatic end to the play. One of the ways Arthur Miller creates tension is by using dramatic dialogue to show the characters' increasing hysteria. 'Proctor (with a cry of his whole soul): Because it is my name!' This powerful line comes in act 4 when Proctor reluctantly confesses to seeing the devil. He is now passionate about making sure his name doesn't get put up on the church door. This is the line that starts the incredible build up of emotion and frustration leading to the dramatic climax of the play. Saying it 'with a cry of his whole soul' shows how much his name means to him. There isn't a more emotional way he could say it than with his whole soul. ...read more.

Conclusion

Elizabeth was then asked if she knew about the affair but she denied all knowledge of this. This was a particularly tense moment because anxiety and frustration was high; the characters along with the audience wanted her to tell the truth, fearing the consequences of a lie. This had the affect of making me feel nervous that something could go wrong and also involved because I knew about Proctor's confession. I felt that Abigail's character was especially strong and influential in the play. She was the root of all the troubles. I felt pity for Elizabeth because of Abigail; her affair with Proctor and her accusations about Elizabeth's involvement in witchcraft destroyed her life. Miller has the ability to pull the audience into the lives of the characters by his use of dramatic devices and theatrical techniques, which maintain interest and participation throughout the play. Miller made me feel nervous and frustrated in The Crucible. He made me feel sympathy, fear and anxiety towards the characters. For example I felt great empathy for Elizabeth Proctor as her husband betrayed her and then she was accused of being a witch. Miller uses the other characters to portray Elizabeth as a cold person but through our knowledge of her as the play progresses we become emotionally involved with her and come to realize what a strong courageous woman she is. With Elizabeth, as with many other characters, Miller allows us to make up our own minds about their honesty and strength as we are drawn into the characters lives and we begin understand the double standards and different tensions that are operating throughout The Crucible. 6 1 ...read more.

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