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How does Miller use the children in Act 3 to make the scene dramatically effective?

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Introduction

How does Miller use the children in Act 3 to make the scene dramatically effective? Miller wrote The Crucible in 1953, as an allegory about how out blown the McCarthy witchhunt had become. Miller used the play to expose various concepts and themes that had come out of the hysteria of the Salem Witch trials. Miller uses the children throughout the play to help bring out these themes clearly for the audience and I feel uses the children particularly strongly to reveal the theme of Mass Hysteria and how everyone ends up feeding off each others' emotions and how everyone can become warped into believing it was all truth. He uses the children in Act 3 strongly as it is a time of high tension and suspense as the play reaches its climax and Miller uses the children effectively in a variety of ways, to convey this. The children are used to create emotion and suspense for the audience and they are constantly used to move the play forward as they are central to the plot. The children show Mass hysteria through Act 3, as they use each other to together work themselves up into a mad frenzy and how together they end up believing themselves the lies they are producing. I think from "The Crucible", Miller wanted to show how lying can turn into a vicious circle, and how this sort of hysteria can end up tearing apart the entire community and its own morals and values. ...read more.

Middle

This suggests that Miller wanted to show how the court make people feel worthless for being honest and how this was a serious problem at the time. The structure of the scene changes again as the other girls enter, and immediately mass hysteria is brought into the court through the children. Once Abigail and the other children enter Danforth questions the children, "Will either of you change your positions now?" and Abigail is quick to respond that it is Mary who is lying. Through the questioning and evidence of the poppet the audience is edging the court to accept the truth and there is also dramatic irony as we know Proctor has had an affair with Abigail but is not revealing it and all this leads to a huge suspense created for the audience. Mary Warren is then used to show how mass hysteria works as Paris tries to get her to faint, but Mary Warren says she cannot, "I have no sense of it now... I heard the other girls screaming and you, your honour; you seemed to believe them... it were only short in the beginning but then the whole world cried spirits, spirits..." This explains how the mass hysteria has affected the girls and shows the audience how everything has got so crazy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Danforth is used throughout Act 3 to show the corruption of justice, but the main example of this is when Danforth is reading Mary Warren's deposition. Miller uses plenty of stage directions to show how he wants this to be strongly shown. In the RSC production, they closely followed Miller's directions to create a long pause that was needed to give the audience a chance to realise what might be going through Danforth's mind. He realises where the truth lies and he has to decide whether to risk his reputation and admit the truth, or overlook justice and save his own reputation. The pause creates dramatic suspense for the audience, as they wonder what Danforth will decide and whether he will go with the truth or the more convenient choice. In conclusion, I think in Act 3, the children are key to revealing the various wider concepts, themes and relationships within the play that Miller wanted to be uncovered through "The Crucible". I think the children definitely helped to create emotions that "grabbed the audience by the throat, rather than presenting an emotion which you could observe and then walk away from," which was the effect he wanted to achieve, which they quoted in the RSC's programme. Miller uses the children to deliver hidden meanings and to help achieve what the characters possibly are not saying, as well as creating different emotions for the audience, through emphasis and physical actions. ?? ?? ?? ?? Julia Bodkin Page 1 English coursework ...read more.

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