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The Crucible By Arthur Miller. How Does Arthur Miller Create Tension?

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The Crucible By Arthur Miller. How Does Arthur Miller Create Tension? The Crucible is a 'semi-fictional metaphor,' as Miller described it himself, based upon the real life events that occurred in the United States after World War II. Using accurate historical accounts, the play is set during the 1692 Salem Witchcraft Trials when several young girls accuse innocent town members of witchcraft to avoid getting into trouble for participating in witchcraft themselves. The husbands of some of the women involved try to convince the judges of the girls' deceit, but find them hard to break, to say the least. Eventually even the most prominent members of the community find themselves under threat, and the tension mounts, and the small town becomes a circle of lies, fear, and hypocritical accusations. John Proctor, a local man of much respect and authority, must confess to his adultery with the young na�ve Abigail in order to save his own wife from being hanged. ...read more.


Miller uses extremely effective techniques to really bring the character to life. For example, I think Proctor is such a popular character because he embodies the traits of your average story tragic hero, yet is still shown to have flaws within his personality, which makes him quite easy to relate to as a person. His severe lust for Abigail shows he is a human too, with weaknesses, desires and guilt. This really brings the character to life in my mind. John is a stern, authoritarian man, who lives with his wife on a farm just outside of town. He hates himself for his affair with Abi, because, as Miller describes in the notes upon his introduction to the character, not only does he go against the moral way of doing things in the time, but because he is 'sinning against his own beliefs.' John feels terrible, because he hates hypocrisy, yet cannot resist Abi. ...read more.


She hates him for making her feel this way. The speed of the dialogue is increased due to the short sentences. This makes the conversation between the two snappier, and more heated. This is more effective than longer sentences, as the points almost sound listed rather than direct and implanted, when the speech is quicker. The quicker speech patterns open up for a more rigid dialogue. Miller uses a clever writing device as his main tool in creating tension. By manipulating the fact that the audience knows as little about prior events, he can build up tension around this. Miller also uses the complexity of his character's sentences to provide a sense of the stress and emotion the characters feel at the time. When under threat, feeling pressured, the character's phrases become monosyllabic. These monosyllabic phrases litter the play and show the audience the rising conflicts in the community. In conclusion, I would say the techniques used by Miller in the Crucible are extremely effective. There is no doubt that some of the writing methods used by the playwright here have influenced more recent authors and budding stage writers. ...read more.

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