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

How does Miller make the "yellow bird" scene especially dramatic? Explain and comment on Mary Warren and Abigail Williams' varying thoughts and feelings. What techniques do you think are particularly successful in creating dramatic tension?

Extracts from this document...


How does Miller make the "yellow bird" scene especially dramatic? Explain and comment on Mary Warren and Abigail Williams' varying thoughts and feelings. What techniques do you think are particularly successful in creating dramatic tension? Arthur Miller wrote 'The Crucible' in 1953 as a response to the incriminating paranoia surrounding the McCarthy witch-hunts of the time. He related McCarthy's trials against suspected Communists to events of a similar nature regarding witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. Although Miller was liberal in his fictionalisation of the events, the context of the story is historically correct: The strict Puritan views employed by the inhabitants of Salem led to the suspicious hysteria surrounding witchcraft allegations. These fundamentalist beliefs meant the people lived in fear of "the devil" and all it represented, so anybody seen acting differently was likely to be suspected. Witchcraft, or consorting with the devil, seemed the ultimate sin to Puritans, whose lives revolved around what the Bible told them to do. It was an era, like that in America during the 1950s, when a mere accusation could doom a person, and when justice often became secondary to saving face. ...read more.


As the audience begins to notice this, the drama increases because the loss of power to such important names is shocking and disorientating. The judges, Mary, and Abigail were all blinded by power and unknowingly allowed it to control them. They were trapped in circumstances that they could no longer escape. Mary wanted to confess and take back control of the situation but found that it was too late. Abigail lost the one thing she wanted because her own plans went out of control. The fear and paranoia took control of the situation and created madness in the village. It is then obvious to the audience, looking on helplessly, that nobody would escape, not even those who helped spark the madness. Danforth is a good representation of the typical hardworking yet still wrong authority figure. He uses fear to question Mary and the girls, and it seems like he's threatening them to make them say what he wants to hear. He doesn't want to hear the truth. If he finds out, then all he stands for is also a lie, and he will lose his credibility and respect. ...read more.


The main themes - fear and suspicion - could be related to by Miller's original audience in the 1950's, who were living under the Red Scare, or even a modern audience under threat of terrorism such as in parts of Northern Ireland. The universally recognised themes are major factors in creating tension in the play, for if the audience did not understand where Miller was coming from then any additional linguistic or dramatic devices would not be fully appreciated. Linguistically, Miller's use of repetition and varying tone serve to add to the dramatic tension already created by the setting and the well-developed characters. Movement and stage directions play a major part in the play, as is a tendency of Miller, and are used to good effect. Whilst given much guidance from the script, actors and directors are allowed freedom to unfold the scene at the speed they choose and can decide on whether to use such props as the celebrated yellow bird. This artistic discretion is an essential part in the way the play has been presented differently since it was first published, and allows the dramatic tension to develop to full effect within each scene and beyond. ...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. How does the character and language of Abigail Williams contribute to the dramatic effect ...

    Also Abigail is living with her uncle who is the Reverent of the church that would also cause a great animosity between Abigail and Reverent Parris. Reverent Parris is one of the many people who believe that she is a witch, but turns a blind eye to a lot of

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

    During this most tense scene the audience would feel very frustrated with Elizabeth and be willing her to tell the truth. The audience would feel sorry for Elizabeth as she lied to protect Proctor even though it was about his affair, which deeply hurt Elizabeth.

  1. Examine how the character of Mary Warren changes throughout the play.

    She stamps her foot showing a sign of distress, she doesn't want to be there. I feel very sorry for her because she is going through all this pain and Abigail and the other girls are making it even harder for her.

  2. Examine how Miller creates dramatic tension in the 'yellow bird' scene of The Crucible ...

    A yellow bird is mentioned and the girls pretend that they can see it on the beams and behind the rafters, while Proctor shouts that there is no yellow bird. Abigail starts to talk to the bird, to ask why it has come, to keep up the pretence of the dramatic situation.

  1. Examine the end of act one in 'The Crucible.' Consider its importance of this ...

    This is an upsetting reprimand of that fact Negro slaves have unfortunate personas that you should look down upon them. Hale is profusely insincere, yet Tituba does not stand for his 'comfort words' and does not feel secure within Hales 'loving arms.'

  2. The Crucible by Arthur Miller - Abigail Williams - Character Study.

    And suddenly you understand her want of John Proctor. You empathise with her feelings of emptiness as his final rejection dawns upon her. She is now in ruin; all hope has vanished, as she must return to the cruel streets of Salem without John Proctors love to guide her.

  1. Choose one scene from "The Crucible" that you consider to be particularly dramatic, exciting ...

    This she thought would upset John greatly. Elizabeth would also feel very intimidated by Abigail's presence in the room, and we know that they share no love for each other. In Act 2 we hear her claim that Abigail wants her dead and she feels very strongly about this.

  2. How Does Miller Build Up The Dramatic Tension In Act 2?

    This is backed by Proctor saying, "Surely, you cannot think so." As Hale gets comfortable, he begins to question Proctor and find any faults in him, because he is clearly struggling. Proctor tries to come back with arguments that are weaker than Hale but Hale seems to accept them.

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