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

How Miller creates Tension and sustains the Reader's Interest in The Crucible

Extracts from this document...


How Miller creates Tension and sustains the Reader's Interest in The Crucible The Crucible takes place in Salem, a small town in seventeenth century Massachusetts, where religion, fear and hysteria ultimately lead to the famous witchcraft trials in 1692. At the time The Crucible was produced, Senator Joseph McCarthy was in power as the chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Due to relative events and the paranoid hunting of pro-communists, The Crucible is seen to be a metaphor for the McCarthy era. Throughout The Crucible, Miller employs several techniques and writing styles to create tension and suspense and to stimulate the audience's interest. The most important reason why The Crucible retains the interest of the audience is because the plot maintains a slow burning, yet consistent pace. Act one is a prime example of how information is released gradually and atmospherically. The very start of the play leaves us oblivious to what has happened, with Parris praying over his inert daughter. This is a great method to grab the audience's attention immediately as we are in the dark right from the start, and naturally are curious about what has happened. As the act progresses, patches of information are revealed, but the uncertainty and contradiction present engages the audience as they are forced to decipher for themselves the truth; at one point Abigail is denying all charges profusely: 'We did dance, uncle, and when you leaped out of the bush so suddenly, Betty was frightened and then she fainted. ...read more.


Our hopes that the situation will be resolved and our almost angry views to some of the characters ignorance involves us in the plot and helps to share what John Proctor and some of the other characters must be feeling. In order to maintain the suspense and atmosphere in-between acts, Miller makes sure to end the first 3 acts with suspense and cliff-hangers and Act 4 with a big finale. In the ultimate scenes of Act 1, the tension created throughout the start of the play reaches its climax with Abigail and the other Girls accusing various Salem citizens of witchcraft to relieve themselves of attention. Miller has chosen a fantastic way to draw the Act to an unmistakeable close but still retaining the interest of the reader; it draws the events of the night together, satisfying the reader in one element, but has at the same time unleashed a larger and more complex crisis upon Salem, rousing the inquisitive eagerness experienced right from the very start of the play. Act 2 also ends dramatically with Elizabeth's arrest after Abigail utilizes Mary's poppet to frame Elizabeth. As in Act 1, it draws the night's events to a satisfying climax with Elizabeth's arrest, but also leaves the reader expectant of Act 3's events with Proctor and Mary planning to expose Abigail. ...read more.


Perhaps one of the largest factors which I found captured my interest is the theme of The Crucible in its entirety. The Puritan lifestyle these people lead, the mass hysteria and even the prospect of witchcraft - together they create a truly believable atmosphere which the audience can easily become caught up in; this is very important as, despite the fact it is all true, if the play does not seem so then that factor is redundant. The Crucible is very much relevant to our lives in a more general sense; persecution and victimization have forever been a factor in modern-day life. As an audience, we can empathise with the accused as we too may have experienced a similar situation. The reason the atmosphere and charachters were created so effectively was because of Miller's ability to keep the plot unpredictable; there is never a moment when things have all been worked out, even at the ending. This is achieved by details and information released gradually, giving the reader more motivation to continue. If everything is told simply, quickly and without suspense it is hard for the reader to truly immerse themselves in the plot. In any story, you discover more as the book progresses, but it's when you can leave the reader anticipating the next step, revelation or even a fine detail that you truly capture their interest and create an effective sense of tension like Miller has in The Crucible. ...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. The Crucible - summary.

    Miller portrays Proctor as a decidedly modern character, who eschews superstition for rationality and expresses skepticism for the trappings of organized religion, particularly the obsession with hellfire and damnation that Parris expresses. The particularly modern quality of John Proctor draws the audience sympathy to him, even if he is a self-professed sinner who had an affair with Abigail Williams.

  2. The Crucible.

    Whore!" This is one of the most crucial points in the play and the audience will be stunned as Proctor has now confessed to the one thing he is most ashamed of, the fact that he slept with Abigail.

  1. The crucible.

    This, from what he said, is the first indication of his stern and ethical character and that Mary's character is frail and easily manipulated both by Abigail and Proctor. Not only does the dramatic structure give the end of the act a dramatic finish but also the end of the

  2. The Crucible.

    This allows the audience to question the evil nature of human beings as presented in the drama, and question the manner in which Miller portrayed these 'villains'. Although presented to be acting with zeal and misguidance rather than with malice and deliberate evil, the trait of characters such as Danforth,

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

    This might have the effect of generating sympathy from the audience for both Elizabeth and John. It also adds to the build up of tension creating an expectant atmosphere. Arthur Miller is very good at making the audience feel very involved.

  2. How does Miller use the concept of witchcraft for dramatic effect and to expose ...

    I believe Abigail said that the girls have returned to God because this would sway the judge's perspective of her to a positive mode and therefore make her appear to be honest and telling the truth. She claims that John Proctor is a liar when Proctor says, "It is a whore!"

  1. How Does Arthur Miller Present The Characters of Abigail and Elizabeth and Shape Our ...

    ( He cannot bear to look at her) 'I will bring you home. I will bring you soon', 'Fear nothing, Elizabeth.' This is Miller's way of showing the audience that even though John has been unfaithful to Elizabeth; he still loves and cares for her. Elizabeth and John's last scene together is at the end of the play

  2. How does Miller capture and maintain the audience's interest in The Crucible?

    The main themes in the text are; The Supernatural; Betrayal; Love; Hysteria; Violence; Insanity; lust; Passion; Loyalty and Jealousy. These themes help to add more detail to the play hence making it more enjoyable and interesting because many of them are still relevant to day.

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