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The Cruciable

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Introduction

The Crucible The crucible is a play set in the town of Salem in 1692, in was written by Arthur Miller who saw similarities between the Salem witch hunts and the McCarthyism which gripped America in the 1950's. Both showed how hysteria, paranoia and malice could be the driving force for evil persecution and also the true power of false accusation. Arthur Miller throughout the play tries to create many themes and messages. I believe that this was done to make people think about what was happening in America at the time. The first theme is the idea of self interest and reputation. These two themes feature heavily throughout the play. Salem is a Christian society where not going to church is looked down upon and where all the villagers believe the Good News and that you should love thy neighbour. Yet underneath their niceties they seek to attack each other. Giles Corey did state several times that he has been to court over allegations of missing cows and other such accusations. Giles himself talks to Danforth about a case Danforth father tried "Y'see, I had a white mare that time, and this fellow come to borrow the mare." The case that Corey talks about happened thirty-five years ago which shows that there had been a hatred brewing in the town for some time. Giles also continues to go on about how Thomas Putnam constantly goes after his neighbours land. ...read more.

Middle

Francis in order to save his wife tells Judge Danforth "the girls, sir, the girls are frauds." Danforth studies Francis and the audience will be hanging on the next word he says as it is his decision as to whether the girls will, in the end, get away with it. Danforth replies to Francis "Do you know who I am, Mr Nurse?" This question is important as it shows how important pride is to Danforth. If it becomes known that he was deceived by a group of young girls his judgement may in the future be questioned. Arthur Miller then raises the tension is the scene may bringing in the character of Mary Warren, who is described as near collapsing to the ground, head bent and eyes to the floor. The viewer will be asking themselves what has she got to say and how will it affect the proceedings. Hale says to Danforth "I think you must hear the girl, sir, she-" but he gets cut off by Danforth and Danforth begins to question Mary. In the beginning she won't speak, not helped by the frustration of John Proctor. The tension builds, but Mary keeps her mouth shut and so John answer for her that she never saw any spirits. The sentence ends with an exclamation mark. This is there for the actor to realise that he has to really emphasise this sentence as it is a pivotal point in the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

Saying she sees a bird that is Mary's spirit sent to hurt them. The tension builds as Danforth continues to buy into their performance. Mary who is know so scared of the gallows due to Abigail and the other girl acting as if Mary were attacking them; starts to break down and declares that she "loves God" and that Proctor is the "Devil's man!" The children who are all now hysterical after their sudden performance welcome Mary back in to their group, while the adults turn their attention to Proctor. Danforth now feeling the full extent of his power again asks John "What are you?" John is beyond speech in his anger "You are combined with anti-Christ, are you not? I have seen your power; you will not deny it! What say you, Mister?" The audience will anticipate Proctor's frustration. John soon replies, breathlessly "I say - I say - God is dead!" At this point the audience will know that Proctor has sealed his faint and that he has also committed blasphemy. The clever use of the exclamation mark shows to the extent at which Proctor is angry with the court. He has lost everything and is now utterly selfless. Hale ends the scene with "I denounce these proceedings, I quit this court!" Hale quitting the court show to the extent at which he is embittered by the court. Danforth shouts after "Mr Hale! Mr Hale!" his wisdom now seems useless and this victory to Danforth now seems like a defeat. The audience will now be expectantly waiting for the consequences of the actions in scene three. ...read more.

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