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'The Crucible' is always played exactly in its historical context with Puritan clothes and sets, it is rarely updated. What dramatic features does Miller employ to ensure the play maintains its relevance for a 21st century audience?

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Introduction

'The Crucible' is always played exactly in its historical context with Puritan clothes and sets, it is rarely updated. What dramatic features does Miller employ to ensure the play maintains its relevance for a 21st century audience? Ideas * Relates to McCarthyism - Could learn a lesson - prevent similar events happening again. * Play can be easily understood * Structure of play - tension escalates - Elizabeth lying about Proctor's lechery - Quite fast pace, keeps the audience's interest - Climactic curtains - cliff-hanger - like soaps - makes you want to see next act - All springs from one man's infidelity * Human nature hasn't changed since 1692, despite times changing. Example of realistic human nature: all characters are different, and Proctor ripping warrant. Also explores human feelings: rivalry between Proctor/Parris and jealously between Abigail/Elizabeth * Balance between repressions of order vs. individual liberty. * Dramatic irony - audience knows that girls are lying - enjoyably frustrating to watch - we are drawn in to the action - we are part of it - another example of irony is that the play starts in Spring, which is usually a happy season. ...read more.

Middle

The people of Salem had a religious theocracy, which was designed to keep the community together and to prevent any disunity in the neighbourhood. In this respect, the theocracy worked well. However, all governing systems must have rules of prohibition, or they simply will not work. Evidently, in Salem, the time had come when the repressions of order became too harsh in comparison to the dangers against which the order was set. The witch-hunt was a sign of the disarray when the balance began to swivel towards more individual freedom. An example of this paradox in modern society is the war in Afghanistan. Afghanistan was ruled by a religious theocracy, under the command of the Taliban. In order for the theocracy to be effective, the Taliban imposed prohibitive rules, such as the rule that all men must wear beards. Perhaps it was excessive individual freedom that led to the September 11th tragedy. Clearly, 'The Crucible' is a parable for many events like the Afghanistan situation with the Taliban. Just imagine the reaction of the Taliban if a child had started playing at 'being an American', like in 'The Crucible' children play at being witches. ...read more.

Conclusion

Cultured people will revel in the artistic quality of the play, for example, the series of rapid, rhythmic entrances and exits in the first act, whilst younger viewers will be entertained by the excitement of the girls' hysteric mimicking of Mary Warren, even if they do not understand the play. Having said that, the play is quite easy to understand, so the majority of the population would be able to understand the play at least at a simple level. By making 'The Crucible' suitable for all these people, Arthur Miller has ensured that it will still be enjoyed in the 21st century. The dictionary definition of a crucible is a 'small melting-pot'. I think that 'The Crucible' is an appropriate name for this play, because the heat gradually becomes more and more intense throughout the play as if the characters are in a crucible, and because the word carries overtones of witchcraft. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading 'The Crucible', and even though it is about events that happened over 300 years ago, it still holds an uncanny relevance because, sometimes, we can see ourselves in Arthur Miller's characters. Perhaps 'The Crucible' can so relevant that it helps to stop terrible tragedies like the witch hunts happening again in the future. ...read more.

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