• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Miller create a sense of tension and conflict between John and Elizabeth Proctor at the beginning of Act Two (to the point where Mary Warren enters)?

Extracts from this document...


How does Miller create a sense of tension and conflict between John and Elizabeth Proctor at the beginning of Act Two (to the point where Mary Warren enters)? The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller in 1953, is one of the most famous modern plays. It is based around the 1692 Salem witch-hunt and trials, although it also draws many parallels to the communist 'witch-hunt' of the 1950s when Senator Joseph McCarthy set up the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). It was the HUAC's job to investigate thoroughly any one suspected of 'Un-American (Communist) activites'. Large numbers of the press and the film industry were accused, including Miller himself. Many individuals accused other people that they knew in an attempt to escape from the accusations. This led to mass hysteria. Although The Crucible is about the Salem witch-hunts it is now widely acknowledged that it was written as an allegory. The main theme of The Crucible is that of witchcraft. Witchcraft is supposedly the way in which humans have been able to work magic. The words witch and witchcraft come from the Anglo-Saxon word Wicca; the name for a male witch. Witches were, and are, thought of primarily as women although some men were classed as being witches. ...read more.


This information contains descriptions as to how the scene should look e.g. at the beginning of act 1 Miller tells us that it is in "a small upper bedroom" and that "A candle still burns near the bed, which is at the right. A chest, a chair and a small table are the other furnishings." This helps the people who produce the scenery to create a suitable setting for each act of the play. Miller also provides sound effects throughout the play such as "a psalm is heard being sung below". These sound effects help to enhance the audience's perception of what is happening around what they can see. Both the setting and the sound effects help to create a sense of tension and conflict. This is due to the fact that everything is quite plain and drab, and that there are very few sound effects. The lack of anything interesting in the scenery makes the audience concentrate on what is happening on the stage and what the characters are doing. The lacks of sound effects ensure that the audience listen to the dialogue between Elizabeth and John. The Proctor's living room, the setting for Act 2, is very plain. This is shown by "It is the dark, dull, and rather long living room of the time." ...read more.


This also links into the historical context of the play; McCarthyism. By the end of the act hysteria has set in on the town of Salem. People try to save themselves by convicting others. However it isn't just self-preservation which leads some to some of the convictions; lots of people attempt to settle personal quarrels. Abigail, Reverend Parris and Thomas Putnam all manage to settle some of their personal quarrels by condemning others as witches. This is similar to what happened during McCarthyism. Those who found themselves before the HUAC accused their own friends and neighbours in an attempt to escape from their own accusations. However some people, such as the initiator of the "hunt" Joseph McCarthy, also used it to try and settle personal quarrels. By the end of the scene the audience should be feeling very worried and tense. Everything is beginning to get out of hand by the end of the act. These are the same thoughts and feelings, which were being felt within the American public at the time of McCarthyism. All of the afore mentioned methods help to create a perfect sense of tension. When they are all combined it means that the atmosphere is created holistically so that all the senses can be used to experience it. Luke Lobo Sunday, 12 February 2006 - 1 - ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. The Crucible - "How does MIller create tension in Act 1

    When Betty does not awake when Abigail tries herself, her threatening behaviour and its consequences emerge. As soon as Putnam and Reverend Parris leave the scene, Abigail proceeds to Betty and asks her to awaken immediately. Abigail "furiously shakes her" and threatens to beat her.

  2. Consider the relationship between John Proctor and Elizabeth, paying particular attention to their exchanges/conversation ...

    Their first few words are short and simple, 'The child?' 'It grows.' It's as if there's so much to say, that they can't say anything, and as their conversation continues there are a lot of pauses that show this. They are both very emotional and Elizabeth is close to tears,

  1. Discuss How Tension Is Created Through Character, Language and Action in Act III of ...

    Throughout the Act, Proctor is supporting and encouraging her, trying to keep her strong. 'Now, remember the angel Raphael and what he said to the boy Tobias. Do that which is good.' This creates tension because we know that she is weak.

  2. Dramatic tension is created by Miller throughout the Crucible in many ways. Straightaway, the ...

    Miller creates tension throughout "The Crucible" with the short size of sentences his characters speak. This type of tension can clearly be witnessed in Act 4 when Proctor and Elizabeth talk together alone. Miller builds up the tension by Proctor and Elizabeth speaking to each other in very short sentences.

  1. How Does Arthur Miller use Theatrical Techniques and Dramatic Devises to Create and Sustain ...

    John Proctor would rather give up his life than his name. The exclamation mark at the end and the word 'cry' shows he should shout the words with a lot of emotion and passion. I can imagine the actor looking very angry and yelling the line with his arms spread

  2. By What means does Miller create a sense of Expectations within his audience in ...

    was over Eddie's head he realized that he should move but instead smiles. As this happens Eddie's grin disappears and realizes what he's done to Rodolfo and he starts to absorb his look as if Eddie's scared of Marco. Another technique Miller uses is foreshadowing.

  1. How does Miller use the concept of witchcraft for dramatic effect and to expose ...

    This particular scene exposes hypocrisy, too. Hale is a hypocrite in this part of the play because before he was on the girls' side, he helped the girls and extracted evidence from them but now he appears to be in disbelief of them and on Proctor's side.

  2. Examine miller's presentation of the marriage of John and Elizabeth proctor in the crucible. ...

    Arthur Miller uses the title of his play The Crucible as a Metaphor constantly throughout the text. A crucible is a container used to heat metals at a high temperature so the metal can be cast, often using intense pressure to do so.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work