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How effective are the closing scenes (from the entrance of Hale) in resolving the conflict presented in Arthur Miller's

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Introduction

How effective are the closing scenes (from the entrance of Hale) in resolving the conflict presented in Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" Arthur Miller was born in 1915 and was only fourteen years of age at the time of the Wall Street crash, this clearly affected his life. His plays often concentrated upon contemporary society and problems it may face. This is why at first sight "The Crucible" seems to break this mould, instead of a play showing contemporary society; it concerns a study in the mass hysteria which led to the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials. The play is based around the Salem Witchcraft trials of the 17th century; however the play is in fact a comment on the mass hysteria which swept America in the 1950's concerning the huge fear, communism. Communism threatened America's capitalist attitude to life, and especially "The American Dream". The "dream" if anyone worked hard they could find great wealth and prosper. Rich and upper class American citizens feared the far left extremists, because the thought of a communist state being established horrified them. This could cause their hard earned wealth being shared evenly among the population. Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" shows a parallel between the America of the 1950's and the Salem Witch trials in 1692. ...read more.

Middle

The central conflict in the play arises from one of Miller's recurrent themes- what an individual does in his life affects the whole society. This refers to Proctor's adultery and the catastrophic events that result but also his decision at the end of the play. Coming after the high drama of the court scene at the end of Act 3, Act 4 begins in a subdued, muted way. It is set in a cell where Tituba and Sarah Good are talking before Herrick attempts to move them. The opening of the Act is a contrast to the hysterical ending of Act 3 where there were more accusations of witchcraft, more screaming and shouting. The subdued beginning of Act 4 is needed as Miller knows by compiling too much tension it would become comical. Miller uses the juxtaposition of the high drama of Act 3 to the subdued but comic beginning to Act 4. The comedy at the beginning of Act 4 is of great importance as it alleviates the tension. Miller injects some comedy into the opening of the act when Tituba and Sarah Good believe the noise of a bellowing cow is the devil. If I were a director of this scene I would have the "mooing" of a cow made from off stage, and then have Tituba claim it to be the devil. ...read more.

Conclusion

The actions of Act 1 and 2 may have seemed private at the time but by the time the play reaches Act 3 these private actions begin to have public consequences. This displays that an individual cannot act alone and that one's actions not only affect oneself but also the rest of society. The entrance of Hale in Act 1 shows him to be a powerful man. He is the man who will rid Salem of the devil; he will save the already broken community. Not only is Salem supposedly harbouring the devil, before this there were squabbles over land, jealousy and vengeance. Hale is seen by the Salem community as a saviour. Nicholas Hytner's film production conveys an image that Hale is a hero, the whole population of Salem come to greet his entrance. Hytner also shows Hale to be very committed to his work, and upon his arrival it seems he is in a rush to begin his work, by rushing to see the inert Betty. I feel Hytner's way of introducing Hale is effective, because as an audience one can see how Hail and his books were seen by the Salem community to be the answers to all their problems. Hale is believed to be an expert on witchcraft. He was initially summoned by Parris to determine whether the devil was in Salem. ...read more.

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