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Long Essay - The Crucible

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Long Essay - The Crucible * How is language used in The Crucible to express the emotional intensity if characters in conflict with each other and/or society and to convey the abstract ideas that emerge through that conflict? The Crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller in 1953. It is a prime example of dramatic theatre using powerful language to express emotional intensity of the characters in conflict with each other and their society. The language used also helps to convey the abstract ideas that emerge through that conflict by providing insights into the characters' personality and values through their dialogue. The language spoken by the characters in The Crucible is intended to give us the feeling of a society which is different from ours in both time and manners. When he was researching for the play, Miller was intrigued by the language of the court records and adapted some of the forms and usages for his dialogue. Of course, he didn't use the exact form of English that the people of Salem would have recognised as this probably would have proved too difficult for a modern audience to understand. ...read more.


When Elizabeth is speaking about Abigail in Act II, she says, 'where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel', which is a reference to the parting of the Red Sea, when Moses led the Israelites in their escape from Egypt. In Act IV when Danforth is asked to delay the executions, he replies, 'God have not empowered me like Joshua to stop the sun from rising', which refers to Joshua, 10. Such prominent references to the Bible provide a powerful, dignified way of speaking for the characters. This helps to create the impression of a different society, one which is isolated and deeply religious. It is a deliberate and simple language, which is appropriate to the period in which the play is set, without being too difficult for the modern audience. Within this form of language, some characters are made to be more expressive than others. For example, Abigail is a very articulate speaker, whereas Mary Warren is more subdued and timid. The English spoken at the time of the events in Salem was strongly influenced by Latin. ...read more.


Apart from the obvious use of double negatives, some words are used in a way that we would not use them now. A prime example of this is when John Proctor expresses amazement that Hale would 'suspicion' his wife. Modern usage would be 'suspect'. Another example is when complaining about his wife's reading habits, Giles Corey says, 'It discomforts me!', using 'discomfort' as a verb, whereas we would say, 'It makes me uncomfortable'. Most characters in The Crucible use a lot of simile and metaphor. A simile is a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds, whereas a metaphor is where an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity. Some examples of simile and metaphor used in The Crucible are, "There be no blush about my name", "A very augur bit will now be turned into your souls until your honesty is proved", "My daughter and my niece I discovered dancing like heathen in the forest", and "I know how you sweat like a stallion whenever I come near!" ...read more.

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