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The Crucible is a fictional retelling of events in American history surrounding the Salem witch trials of the seventeenth century

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Introduction

The Crucible is a fictional retelling of events in American history surrounding the Salem witch trials of the seventeenth century, yet is as much a product of the time in which Arthur Miller wrote it, the early 1950s, as it is description of Puritan society. At that particular time in the 1950s, when Arthur Miller wrote the play the American Senator McCarthy who chaired the 'House Un-American Activities Committee' was very conscious of communism and feared its influence in America. It stopped authors' writings being published in fear of them being socialist sympathisers. Miller was fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials and that human beings were capable of such madness. In the 1950s the audience would have seen the play as a parallel between the McCarthy trials and the Salem Trials. A 21st century audience would look at the play from the perspective of needless hysteria and accusations and would be amazed that human nature when put into these situations reacts the way it does in the play. In modern time we are able to appreciate the play without being concerned with the parallels of McCarthyism. Although my selected scene is only three-quarters way through the play it is very conclusive in the way that it shows the ability of the court to accept the condemnations of people looking for vengeance and the girls' lies throughout the trials. ...read more.

Middle

This also shows that Abigail is not a pleasant person because she can watch people hang that she has accused and not feel guilty for condemning the innocent. When Hale declares "this girl has always struck me false!" Abigail realises she must intervene and deflect the attention from herself because she knows that Hale could reveal her as a fraud. "You will not! Begone! Begone!" This is introducing her fear to the courtroom. It uses short, hysterical which heightens the tension in the courtroom. Danforth becomes bewildered at this and asks Abigail what is wrong. Abigail ignores him to increase her apparent fear and believableness and then as described in the stage directions she raises her frightened eyes to the ceiling and as everyone looks up and when they can see nothing they assume that she really is being afflicted by a spirit. Among those kinds of people, spirits are usually assumed to be invisible. Abigail knows this and is using this to increase her performance's intensity. Then, to show her power the other girls join in, pretending to see the bird as well. This is an example of her power and influence as a leader. The stage direction uses very descriptive adjectives to describe the intensity of the scene and the actions and facial expressions of the girls. ...read more.

Conclusion

The repetition that Arthur Miller uses in the court suggests that there may actually be some paranormal happenings concerning the allegiance with Hell. For example, the repetitions of verbs, i.e. "stop it" makes the scene reach a crescendo when 'stop' is repeated five times and Mary begins to cry. It also shows how much Abigail is willing to do to get her way. Only the girls, Mary and Proctor know to what extent Abigail can manipulate a situation in her favour as well as people. Even when she appeals for help from Danforth they continue to echo her. E.g. Mary: "Mr. Danforth!" Abigail and the girls: "Mr. Danforth!" This may be because Abigail does not want Mary to tell Danforth the truth and Abigail's plot. This therefore prevents Danforth from finding out about Abigail and her manipulation of the other girls. Mary has to show great willpower to oppose Abigail; e.g. "I have no power." In the stage directions it shows Mary summoning all her determination from within to stand up to Abigail. In this scene we can see how powerful Miller's characters can be. Our first impression of Abigail is accurate because she is clearly capable of sending people to death to save herself. ?? ?? ?? ?? Thea Wellband English Coursework MV 1 ...read more.

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