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'The crucible' - Importance of the beginning of scene one to the play on the whole.

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Introduction

'The crucible' coursework. Importance of the beginning of scene one to the play on the whole. In the year 1692, in the small Massachusetts village of Salem, some village girls fell ill, falling victim to hallucinations and strange, unexplainable behaviour. In the Puritan New England, startling incidents were often blamed on the devil. Soon the girls, and then other residents of Salem, began to accuse other villagers of associating with the devil. The Massachusetts government and judicial system, heavily influenced by religion, rolled into action. Within a few weeks, dozens of people were in jail on charges of witchcraft. By the time the 'trend' had finished, in late August 1692, nineteen people had been condemned and hanged for witchcraft. In Salem there was a suspicion around anyone outside social normality, because a non- conformist private life acted as a threat. Danforth says in Act III, "a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it." Structurally, every scene has its own story and the story could be understood without the previous acts. The first and second are explanations, the third is action-oriented and provides the strongest climax, while the fourth the conclusion, and also a tragedy in itself. ...read more.

Middle

Hysteria overcomes logic and lets people to believe that their neighbours are committing strange and unbelievable crimes-involving the devil, killing babies, and making love potions. The most obvious case is Abigail, who uses the situation to accuse Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft and have her sent to jail. The ruthless Thomas Putnam gains vengeance on Francis Nurse by getting Rebecca, Francis's wife, convicted of the murders of Goody Putnam's babies. Others prosper on the hysteria as well: Reverend Parris reinforces his position in the village, by making scapegoats of people like Proctor who question his authority. For my coursework I chose to do the beginning of Act 1. I chose to do this scene as it is the starting point of the play and contains a lot of background information and then goes on to back up this information by showing many relationships and reactions of many of the characters to an unusual situation. As the play opens, Reverend Parris kneels, praying in front of Betty's bed. Parris is a strict man suffering from paranoia. Betty Parris lies in a motionless, unresponsive way. Parris has sent for Reverend John Hale of Beverly, a specialist on witchcraft, to decide whether Betty is bewitched. ...read more.

Conclusion

It shows the human necessity for survival, and the lengths at which a person will go to save themselves. There is the idea of honor and truth. Proctor tries to save his life but gives it up to reveal the truth and keeps his reputation. Through his struggle he achieves righteousness. 'The crucible' the film was produced in the 1990s. The film has been changed from the play in some minor respects. For example, the film opens with a scene of the town girls sneaking into the woods and participating is a ritualistic dance with the slave woman Tituba- until they are all caught by Parris. In the play this scene was referred to, but not performed. Another change is that the Slave woman Tituba is portrayed as black, when she was actually an Indian. I conclude that act one is the most important scene in the play as it sets the scene and gives the audience important information on many aspects of the history of the characters and the town in which the play was set. The play reminds its audience of a nasty time in human history. It reminds us that man is not perfect, and that we can make mistakes. However, even with these mistakes, we can cleanse ourselves and purify ourselves by making what is wrong right. ...read more.

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