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How would you direct the key scenes to reflect Miller’s ideas in‘The Crucible’ ?

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Introduction

How would you direct the key scenes to reflect Miller's ideas in 'The Crucible' ? Miller wrote 'The Crucible' as a parallel with the 'Mcarthy, Communism paranoia that terrorized America in the 1950's. The play highlights the tendency in America to gather in masses against the individual. Although may not be clear, the play is meant to show how people haven't changed in hundreds of years and this is reflected by the paranoia and the way that many people are accused in the Salem witch trials. Although the symptoms that are thought to be witchcraft are historically correct and did actually happen at the time, recent research suggests that the destruction of crops and the illness that 'victims' suffered from actually had nothing to do with witchcraft and were in fact caused by ergot poisoning. The ergot forms on Rye in certain weather conditions. The symptoms can include hallucination, fever and convulsions. The weather conditions around the time of the Salem witch trials were such, that that ergot may have been present in the Rye fields around Salem. The ergot may have taken hold, with people hallucinating and believing they saw things that they didn't, leading to accusations of witchcraft and helping hysteria to rise. If this is true then a great many people were killed during the Salem witch trials unnecessarily, in much the same way as the false accusations of people who were accused f being communists during the 'Mcarthy era'. ...read more.

Middle

When John and Elizabeth are arguing, they should be walking around, pacing back and forth. When Elizabeth mentions Abigail's name and the affair that John had with her, John should avoid her eyes and possibly look in the other direction, to show his embarrassment and guilt about the affair. As I want the play to be performed in 'the round' I think the characters need to move around in order to let the audience feel part of the argument. Also the lighting must be used in order to show Elizabeth's coldness towards John. These could then change to warmer colours when Hale enters and they start to work together against the court. At the start of the scene when Elizabeth says, "The noose, the noose is up!", she should say it with a sense of real fear and emotion, it should be said quietly when she says "The noose" for the first time. She should say it quietly and then say it louder for the rest of the phrase with the emphasis on the "is up!". This is because she feels that she is as good as convicted and is imagining the noose being already up and waiting to hang her. When Elizabeth says "She wants me dead", she should emphasise the word "She" as she is referring to Abigail and has a great dislike for her. Elizabeth thinks that due to Johns affair with Abigail, she now wants her dead so that she can have John all to herself. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Hale enters, Elizabeth and John are shocked and worried that Hale might have heard them saying something that could incriminate one or both of them. They both see Hale as a sign of trouble and their fear of authority, the court pulls them together. This needs to be conveyed by the way that John and Elizabeth act. They need to "suck up to him", just incase he has heard anything. Hale is very authoritative, this is shown by his confidence in inviting John and Elizabeth to sit down, although it is their own house. As soon a Hale enters, the atmosphere becomes quite tense and awkward, John and Elizabeth feel threatened by his presence. His could be reflected by the lighting changing to match the tense atmosphere. There could be a dull spotlight on John as he recites his commandments, to also emphasise the pressure that is riding on him. When John is repeating the commandments, he forgets the commandment "adultery". This is significant as he also forgot that when he has the affair with Abigail. He tries to cover this up by making a joke of it. The atmosphere should still remain tense, with Hale and Elizabeth looking at him, as if to make him feel "on the spot". Hale points out that even a small fault is not acceptable. Hale should appear worried at this point, as he is not sure what to think about the Proctors. His inner conflict becomes clear. A Cambridge 11B 28.9.01 ...read more.

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