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How does Miller sustain tension in Act III of 'The Crucible'

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Introduction

How does Miller sustain tension in Act III of 'The Crucible' Arthur Miller combines frustration, injustice a claustrophobic environment to create a crescendo of pure tension in Act III. As the seventeenth century is very different to our modern world, Miller recreates life without freedom of speech, rights, justice, equality and beliefs to the maximum, achieving his main aim of frustration. Miller also draws a parallel with this event and the McCarthyism that gripped America in the 1950's. Miller uses the audience expectation to create tension, as witchcraft has been branded in Salem. He uses tension as an entertainment experience, the accusations of devils and witchcraft appeals to the modern audience as the court's beliefs in the seventeenth century seem ridiculous to the twenty first century audiences. Miller relates this mass hysteria of witchcraft with the anticommunism mass hysteria called McCarthyism where people were burnt at the take for apparently being a communist. The audience is actually being challenged by Miller as he poses questions to them through the actions of the characters. ...read more.

Middle

Mrs Proctor is introduced to prove the new accusation to Danforth. During this Act a consistent occurrence of new accusations and stories unfold building to a huge crescendo where Elizabeth falsely Danforth denying her husband had slept with Abigail; 'I had confessed it.' After the removal of Elizabeth, again the frustration unravels with Abigail and the girls pretending to see the devil, however this time they view Mary Warren as the evil spirit. 'Oh Mary is this a black art to change your shape?' Finally after all the emotional trauma and tension, Mary Warren unexpectedly sides with the girls. Then she claims Proctor to be the devil. The girls again perform a convincing drama involving Proctor. Miller excellently the audience a frustration burst and uses fatalism to vary the tension. Miller conveys the tension with the settings. The 'vestry room' of the courthouse is significant as it is the place of action. The directing introduction is extremely useful in setting the tone of frustration; ' The room is empty'. ...read more.

Conclusion

We will prove ourselves. Now we will' Danforth is very much the opposite as he is perceived as bold, educated, legalistic, calm and unbending also Miller ironically symbolises Danforth as the enemy and the evil sprit. As the audience see Danforth shielding justice in the court he creates a huge amount of frustration, ' You will surely tell us the name'. The language used is inherently dramatic and emotional, but the legalistic, manipulative language of Danforth creates a contrast between the main characters: 'In case I have no choice but to arrest you of contempt of a hearing' Danforth's manner towards Proctor highlights his flawed characteristics which enables the audience to identify him with his characterisation point. Miller shows frustration through the eyes of Proctor which relates to the audience as they share the same frustration. Through the act Miller uses a wide range of techniques; structure, audience expectation, setting, language and description to concoct a crescendo of tension. Also Miller uses many motifs swell as tension; frustration, anger and fear to show the dangers and realities of mass hysteria. Alex Shelton ...read more.

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