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How does Miller create tension in Act I of "The Crucible"?

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Crucible Essay How does Miller create tension in Act I of "The Crucible" Arthur Miller wrote "The Crucible" for his beliefs in McCarthyism, rampant at that time. He was against it - being a hunt of the communist figures, no matter how questionable they being communist in the slightest. It was sparked by a fear that Russia was going to take over the world. Making people scared and suspicious, Miller had to be subtle in expressing his anti McCarthyist views, so he used an allegory - a play. This play used the Salem witch hunt, similar because of the unsupported accusations, the people encouraged to denounce their friends, and fear and suspicion. The Salem witch hunt was more brutal, with the "witches" being killed, with only people's accusations as evidence. Miller had to recontextualize the story, to stop accusations against him. The first words spoken being "My Betty be hearty soon?". The title is fitting as a crucible is a container where metals are purified after heating. It reflects how Proctor has been heated by his ordeal and came through to die, his conscience clear - purified. I will explore the techniques used in creating the play, to create various moods in the mind of the audience, in Act I. ...read more.


This inverted language makes it seem more Biblical and legal, heightening the impact they have as does the syntax. The older time distances us, making the characters seem austere and quite oppressive. The double-negative furthers the tension by adding confusion, making it more farcical, which further distances us. Claustrophobia, furthers the tension as there is no escape for the characters, they are trapped which makes the audience feel trapped as well. The first thing we find is that Parris's room is small, with narrow windows and leaded panes like a prison - this creates claustrophobia. Parris is trapped, making the audience more susceptible to panic. He is also kneeling - he is suppressed by God, it bears down on him. Laws and limitations create claustrophobia as well. "Not have permitted anyone to read a novel" This shows how small minded the laws were, consequently making the people small minded. Not being able to explore themselves and their emotions, making them bland with no escape from reality. "Their creed forbade ... vain enjoyment" Shows how religiously they stuck to their beliefs, making their lives bland and boring, and possibly more excitable over the out-of-the-ordinary. "The edge of the wilderness was close by" The wilderness was the Devils land, they were locked in their town nothing else existed. ...read more.


The audience will have an affinity with Proctor. Conflicts between characters - Abigail and Elizabeth both love Proctor, Proctor and Parris: Parris isn't godly and is a hypocrite etc. these conflicts are like smaller plots in their own way and add to the audience's excitement, also annoying us when they don't resolve, theocracy religion says the you cant, but they want to. The structure is broken up with the overture and prose which the actors interpret and use the instructions to show it to the audience. This adds an extra dimension to the play, incorporating the prose, with its history and explanations. Intertextualism, the themes that link Salem and McCarthyism, spark questions - it is years since the Salem trials but we still haven't learnt, human character prevails. The questions - dramatic devices that go unanswered, especially at the end with Proctor being hung, should he have been? He doesn't want to go back to the same society that tried to hang him - a dramatic device, people are ready to persecute when that is what they are trying to escape - irony. The irony, people went to America to escape and be free, supposed to have got better - satiring the American Dream. These themes mean more to a 1950's audience, with the exact same one present. Sean Fabri ...read more.

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