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The Crucible by Arthur Miller - Discuss how Miller builds up the dramatic tension in the latter part of Act 3 in his play 'The Crucible'

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Introduction

20th Century Drama Study: The Crucible by Arthur Miller Discuss how Miller builds up the dramatic tension in the latter part of Act 3 in his play 'The Crucible' The Crucible is a very enthralling play to read and especially to watch. The way that Miller is able to build up his characters and put them into such exaggerated situations in The Crucible is breathtaking. He has the ability to illustrate what might naturally happen in situations such as this, showing us periods within the whole scenario where things calm down, or reach a climax. He is a magician of the greatest kind, using words and stage directions to perform his feats of trickery rather than illusion. Act 3 of the play is undoubtedly a climax and the setting of the scene introduces us to a much more sinister turn of events than might be expected in another setting. According to Miller's own stage direction the Act is set in the 'vestry room of the Salem meeting house', described as a 'solemn' and 'heavy' room. Hence the atmosphere and setting are perfect in creating a feeling of extreme McCarthyism, a period where accusations were thrown out left and right ...read more.

Middle

She also starts to accuse Proctor later on when attention shifts towards her and she is almost exposed, when Proctor admits to 'lechery'. Its alarming how Proctor changes the situation completely by 'leaping' at Abigail, an act of physical violence in desperation that for a moment turns sympathies towards the 'suffering' girl and away from Proctor. Abigail is a loan shark in this match, the one with bets all over the place. Whatever the outcome, she will be the one benefiting most from the fight. This simile is quite adept for this situation, as the tension in this Act is almost the same as that which might be present at a fight. Abigail plays this scene, "crying to Heaven" when she thinks its appropriate and handing out threats left and right when that does not work. Some may think that judge Danforth is the one in charge of the proceedings, but it is in fact Abigail who plays Danforth's emotions, using the fact he sees her as a 'child' some times to get to him. Miller uses these powerful characters, Abigail and Danforth, and their battle for supremacy as a sideline. ...read more.

Conclusion

Right after Elizabeth's lie, as Abigail feels things are slipping slowly out of her control she cranks up the hysteria a notch, diverting attention from herself and Proctor to Mary and the 'supernatural' again. She screams a 'weird', 'wild', 'chilling cry' that instantly diverts the conversation and accusations. This shift is much like a scene change in a movie, the focus changes almost completely. She starts to play the tension again for her own ends, and the hysteria that arises from this situation to the end is inexorable, and it might have slipped out of Abigail's hands a bit. She wished to have Proctor as her own but ends up condemning him as well. She is the victor at the end of the war, and she reaps the rewards of the outcome of the fight. Miller is a master in producing tension on paper, but it also needs to be good, believable acting with excellent direction and timing to pull of the actual tension in a play or movie enactment of this screenplay. As I mentioned before, it is a fine line between dramatic tension and silent comedy. GCSE English Coursework Hasan Haider, 11C 1 ...read more.

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