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The Crucible - Act 1 by Arthur Miller In the Crucible each act can be analysed as a series of scenes, each having its own to

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Introduction

The Crucible - Act 1 by Arthur Miller In the Crucible each act can be analysed as a series of scenes, each having its own tone and climax all leading up to the powerful curtain. The play emerged from a true story. It was based on the Salem, Massachusetts Witch Trial in 1692, which links in with Miller's era, were 'witch trails' was known as McCarthyism in the 1950's. At the time there was a modern day witch hunt in America. Instead of hunting the witches, 'Free thinkers'. People who had individual thoughts were accused of disloyalty and communist sympathies, which often resulted in loss of their jobs. The people of Salem were Puritans- descendents of the Pilgrim Fathers, who arrived in America from England in 1690 because they wanted a stricter way of life with regard to their religion, people were extremely religious. There are many parallel links between the two ages such as the accusations and trail laws. The play starts off in a small room which symbolises the narrow mindedness of the community. The three scenes; five, six and ten all lead up to the powerful climax, through structure, language, character and the social history. It is important for the audience to understand the historical background, and understand what living in Salem, Massachusetts was like in the seventeenth century. Their lives consisted of working, eating, sleeping and praying. Any kind of enjoyment was prohibited. This meant that singing and dancing was forbidden and seen as an interaction with the devil. ...read more.

Middle

In scene six there is a huge contrast change in Abigail's mood, which leads to the powerful climax at the end of Act 1. As soon as John Procter enters, her mood changes from being aggressive to more clam and seduced towards him 'stood on tiptoe, absorbing his presence'. The past relationship between Abigail and John Procter is revealed, but now he rejects her advances. John had committed adultery which was a major sin back in the seventeen century and was considered a devilish thing to do. However the audience experience, how their relationship was suggested in various ways: Abigail looks at him wide-eyed; she refers to his strength 'such a strong man'; she laughs nervously and she 'Winningly comes a little closer, with a confidential, wicked air'. There is a clearly an unspoken bond between them. John is curious about the mischief that Reverend Parris might be brewing. Abigail, however, is implying that he wanted to see her 'you came five miles to see a flying girl? I know you better'. This suggests how disturbed Abigail is, because always thinking about herself and not other people. She said that she was waiting for him every night, hoping that he will have sympathy for her, but, when Proctor moves 'her firmly out of his path' she becomes angry. Stage direction reveals how angry she is by saying 'she can't believe it'. She thinks that Proctor is only 'sportin'' with her, and so far, Abigail has been seen as potentially violent and therefore dangerous. ...read more.

Conclusion

With this knowledge, the language used, 'I have made a bell of my honour' does not sound out of context for the time. It is the language which heightens tension and importance throughout and experiences the important themes in the play which Miller is trying to express throughout. This Act can be divided into scenes which create tension and bring it up to the all powerful curtain. The Crucible itself means a heatproof container in which substances may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures, which can cause any impurities to rise to the surface. Metaphorically it means a place of severe test or trails. Although the metaphorical use is the one which Miller intends, he shows us two and contrasting 'heatproof containers': the kettle a sort of witches' cauldron. Images of heat and cold run through the text, ranging from John's lust for Abigail (heat) to Elizabeth's role as a wife (cold). The act is filled with intense conflict and much tension. The act has unity of place as it all happened in Parris's home. The background and characters are revealed through the whole prose commentary, dialogue, and actions. Also I think that Miller uses the Salem Witch Hunt as his way of commenting on McCarthyism in the 1950's, his own time and tells us how it was like for him during the time of McCarthyism. He has brought up a powerful climax at the end of Act1, through the parallel links between the two eras and through the dramatic tension which is build up between scenes all leads up to the powerful curtain. ?? ?? ?? ?? Amdadur Rahman 10/O ...read more.

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