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

'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller - Discuss the appeal of 'The Crucible' to its audience.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

English Literature Coursework: 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller Discuss the appeal of 'The Crucible' to its audience 'The Crucible' is a 20th century play that focuses on the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. These events led to mass hysteria over the persecution of those who, allegedly, participated in acts of incantation. Over-exaggeration, emotion, tautness, suspense and the eradication of characters (due to their alleged involvement in witchcraft) are the main themes of the play throughout the four volatile scenes of 'The Crucible'. The audience observing would be enticed by the mood swings of characters and their persecution for such crimes in the theocratic village, where interrogated citizens in the dense society were forced to name other possible witches. If they failed to produce names of others, they would be hanged ruthlessly. The inhabitants of Salem believed in witches and the Devil and that the Bible had instructed them that witches must be hanged. A feeling of inequity is sensed here. The events of the play, first performed in England in 1954, are analogous to the McCarthy era in the USA , where anyone suspected of criticising the government or its direction was to be brought before a court to respond to the charge of 'Un-American Activities'. ...read more.

Middle

The persecution of various wives in the village over allegations of witchcraft holds a clamorous atmosphere, in contrast to the muted tone of the interrogation of the innocent in court (over accusations of casting spells with the Devil). At the end of Act One, the tempo of the character's speeches increases as the girls accuse others of dancing with the Devil, screaming and bellowing (Betty): I saw Alice Barrow with the Devil! (Hale): Let the marshal bring irons! (Abigail): I saw Goody Hawkins with the Devil! (Betty): I saw Goody Hibber with the Devil! (Abigail): I saw Goody Booth with the Devil! This is a fierce scene as the girls are desperate to accuse alleged offenders of witchcraft, squealing so they are heard well. The repetition of exclamation marks mimics a chant by the girls. This may intimidate the attendees but also grips them as they sense a climax to the scene. The curtain falling leaves the audience with an anticlimax but eagerly anticipating the scene to follow. Miller uses characterisation in the play to affect the appearance and personality of a character. This may appeal to the audience as the individuals on stage seem more stereotypical but also add realism to the play. The girls in the play are valets and specialized in domestic drudgery, for example Mary Warren was John Proctor's servant. ...read more.

Conclusion

they were punished fairly, according to moral laws, and were executed if others felt they represented a threat to the community, like witches. The American society in 1950s was afraid of communism. The public would ostracize a communist, which is linked to Salem because their society was afraid of witchcraft and this shows that both communities were concerned about the welfare of their state. Both societies were determined to act harshly on individuals who were not acting as their government expected them to, such as involvement in witchery. Though the play itself has very few examples of symbolism beyond typical witchcraft symbols (rats, toads, and bats), the entire play is meant to be symbolic, with its witch trials standing in for the anti-Communist "witch-hunts" of the 1950s. Miller's appeal for an audience of his time would be related to the controversial message that McCarthyism was unfair prosecution of the innocent. An audience in today' society would be interested in historical events such as witchcraft, as they may be enthralled to find out how people lived in the late 17th century in America. The society and cultural changes that have taken place since this time period have transformed people's lives drastically. This may attract an audience who are interested in these changes, such as punishment and general welfare. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Sean Flynn 10 KO ...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. How does Miller handle the theme of Justice in 'The Crucible' and what message ...

    In the crucible Proctor is fighting for his right to have his freedom and to be respected. Unlike Shakespeare's play Macbeth where Macbeth is fighting for his right to be the king of England, Proctor is only fighting for his right to be a respected member of society.

  2. Discuss the role that grudges and rivalries play within The Crucible by Arthur Miller

    Tituba is an innocent character; however, she is somehow always blamed for other people's crimes because she is a slave and has extremely low social status, "trouble in this house eventually lands on her back." From this stage direction the audience recognises that Tituba has low social status and she

  1. Why Did Arthur Miller Call His Play 'The Crucible'?

    and stand up for themselves when he didn't help his friends, this shows how much his self respect mean to him. From this you can tell something was going to happen because Proctor was too strong to give his name away like that, so the other option was to get hanged.

  2. How does Miller capture and maintain the audience's interest in The Crucible?

    audience and gives us an expeditionary introduction of character and gives us background information. I think that this is a brilliant technique to use. This is because it creates the effect that Miller is alive and talking to us. It also gives us the impression that the characters and the

  1. How does Miller dramatise political and moral concern through Reverend Hale, Reverend Parris, Goody ...

    She gives the impression of hatred towards Goody Osborne who was her midwife three times she forces Tituba to say her name whilst confessing "compact" with the devil. Abigail is a character in The Crucible who when first introduced is worrying with "apprehension and propriety" this reveals that in the

  2. The theme of evilness in 'The Crucible'

    It is obvious to the reader that Elizabeth only said that to save his name. At this point Danforth and Hathorne should have realised that no man would give up his name like this. No man would call himself an adulterer, for a lie.

  1. Tragedy and Realism in 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller

    For example, the mention of Proctor's farming at the dinner table with his wife, which would be a snippet of their lives, and then there is the mention of John's poor church attendance, which would be an important element to the plot.

  2. The Crucible

    goodness in you [and] whatever you will do, it is a good man does it" (p.109). In realising John's true character Elizabeth also gains an insight in to herself.

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