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The Crucible.

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Introduction

The Crucible The Crucible is an ingeniously written play by Arthur Miller. The story is based on a real life tragedy that arose from trumped up hysteria that gripped Salem, Massachusetts in the seventeenth century. At the same time that this play was being written, a certain American paranoia arose, McCarthyism. This created a perfect parallel between modern day and the story for Arthur Miller. The second act starts in the Proctor household. This is the first introduction of the two characters together and already Miller has engaged the audience's attention. Their marriage is very frosty and cold and this chilliness is portrayed to the audience by the way that the couple speak to each other, using short, harsh words to express their feelings, "Pray now for a fair summer/ Aye." It is clear to the audience from these brief answers that Elizabeth is trying to avoid talking to her husband and is somewhat dismissive of him. Their tentative conversation is mainly derived from the affair that John and Abigail had had: the audience is well aware of this. The audience is also gripped by the way John is trying to forget the past, shown by his declaration of his only intent, 'to please' Elizabeth, whom coldly accepts. Salem is finally mentioned and on that note the tone is set to a standard civilised manner, but Elizabeth's mention of Abigail later on again stirs up heat, "...the town's gone wild...she speak of Abigail." This rekindled heat shows the audience how eager Elizabeth is on dwelling on the past, frequently raising issues related to the affair, "I do not judge you," the two colliding personas intensify drama in the scene effectively. Elizabeth's provocation gives perfect cause for John to get angry and also is vital when Hale enters. Luckily for Elizabeth, Mary Warren walks in. John uses her arrival to divert his rage in a successful attempt to reduce apparent tension between his wife and himself. ...read more.

Middle

Hale is completely oblivious to this fact, which helps add to Miller's intended suspense. With this information the audience watching the play are left to find out how Hale will react and what he will do. The emotions of the audience are stirred up even more when they find that Hale, instead of believing this information; he starts to become suspicious again. "Why- why did you keep this?" Pauses also play a significant piece in this part of the scene, Hale is constantly hesitating and pausing. The audiences is very confused at this point and do not know whether he is thinking suspiciously, doubtfully and this is also adding to sensational suspense that Miller is building for the audience. This is added to when Proctor tells Hale that he has 'no witness and cannot prove' what he is saying. What is Hale thinking? What will he say to this? How will he react? These are just some of the thoughts that Miller is trying to provoke in the audience by adding detail to Johns exclamation. When Hale says, "Sarah Good and numerous others have confessed to dealing with the devil," Hale believes he has outwitted Proctor and is lead to think that Proctor is lying after all. But Proctor tells Hale that they may as well confess ' if they must hang for denyin' it.' This also shows and justifies Hale's scepticism about the witch trials when he enters close to the beginning. The audience find that Hale is shocked, because all his own beliefs and conclusions are from the truthfulness of the confessions that the girls make. Hale's scepticism from before is shown in the stage direction, where Miller clearly writes, "It his own suspicion, but he resists it." Hale then has to accept that he was wrong and had been taken in by a melodramatic performance by a few teenage, adolescent girls. ...read more.

Conclusion

Proctor then gets a chance to protect his wife; this appeals to the audience, as they know he is sincere and trying to forget Abigail. Proctor in a fit of rage tears Cheever's warrant and attempts to get rid of the uninvited company. Miller has opted for Hale to stay quiet throughout this confrontation to show his cowardly characteristics to the audience, as he has not said anything that he had said to the Proctors to Cheever. Proctor also knows this and his hate for Hale is again shown when he himself calls him a 'coward.' This also shows how everyone who is a sceptic of the goings on in Salem does not want to publicise their queries in case the girls, for being too close to the truth, accuse them. Proctor keeps backing up his wife, whom knows there is no point because she will have to go whatever he does. Elizabeth is scared and the audience has now adopted a serious hate for Hale whose words are ineffective and does nothing to stop Giles, Francis's and Proctor's three wives from being arrested, he is frowned upon by everyone as a fake. Before she leaves Elizabeth tells Proctor to continue as normal. The audience may be sympathetic towards Hale because they know his religious status restricts his opinion. There are a few main points when hale enters that form the rest of the play; when Proctor claims that the goings on in Salem had naught to do with witchcraft and the arrest of Mrs. Proctor. This scene is flooded with instruments that create drama, suspense and emotion provoking feeling. The character description is appropriate and lets the audience differentiate good from evil. Miller employs splendid literary skills that keep the tempo and tension levels at unbearable highs. The language is elementary and a lot of it is biblically surrounded reflecting the puritan society. His repressed feelings about the freedom of thought and speech in 1956 are all expressed without regret in the story and gives the Crucible a tailor made, captivating essence for the reader and audience. Saiji Nageshwaran 10Ai English Coursework ...read more.

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