• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. The Crucible - summary.

    developed a willful sense of community to guard against infiltration from outside sources. It is this paradox that Miller finds to be a major theme of The Crucible: in order to keep the community together, members of that community believe that they must in some sense tear it apart.

  2. The media techniques used in the making of The Crucible and what they connote ...

    She was tortured into lying by Parris. Once she has made this confession, Hale says 'He (the devil) has you by the throat even now, doesn't he?' As we are shown a point of view shot of Hale to Tituba, Hale ironically has her loosely by the throat as well.

  1. The Crucible.

    Danforth then sees that he is now going to have to do some hard questioning and gives both the girls a chance to change their positions, claiming to be telling the truth, but both refuse. So Danforth proceeds to question Abigail.

  2. How is the theme of Fear and paranoia created in the crucible?

    The ordinary of the folk in the town have simple minds and can easily be manipulated or taken advantage over by the more superior of the town members, they can therefore easily be afraid of witches and their powers. These people also believed that their religion, Christianity was the only

  1. The crucible.

    He has also called in a specialist in witches: "they say you have sent for reverend hale of Beverly" creating the sense that this is a serious matter. Abigail and Proctor's conversation mid-way through Act One, shows Miller creating a dramatic passage with a vast change in their emotions which goes from romance and love to regret and anger.

  2. The Crucible - "How does MIller create tension in Act 1

    Abigail "furiously shakes her" and threatens to beat her. This threatening behaviour would cause tension in the audience as they start to realise how desperate Abigail but it may also illustrate her fury. When Betty awakens, she starts to shout out loud and in the attempt to restrain her, Abigail "smashes her across the face".

  1. How does Miller build up tension in Act 1 of the Crucible?

    Parris: "Out of my sight, out of my..." Parris is shouting at Tituba because he is angry and confused about what has happened to his daughter and what had been going on in the woods that night. Tituba is taken back by Parris's shouting, as she seems only to be concerned about little Betty.

  2. The Crucible.

    Although she disempowers herself by calling herself 'cold', the two are presented in an egalitarian sense, once again complicating the power relationship between the two. The manner in which The Crucible deals with the problem of gender inequalities further complicates and confuses traditional stereotypes, thus enabling the audience to reject them.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work