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Tragedy and Realism in 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller

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Introduction

Tragedy and Realism in 'The Crucible' Tragedy in 'The Crucible' is used alongside realism to create a believable piece of theatre, making the audience feel as if the action on stage is a real scenario. Aristotle laid out six rules of tragedy, which he felt defined a tragic play. 'The Crucible' follows some of these rules, mainly Plot and Character, which are my main focuses for this essay. The headings to these rules are; Plot, Character, Reasoning, Diction, Song and Spectacle. The first two headings apply the most to 'The Crucible' while the others vaguely or do not apply. Plot seems to be the most important part of a tragedy, because this is the topic to which Aristotle devotes the largest amount of detail to. The 'plot' is split into eight different sections. The first of these sections is 'Completeness', which states that to be a tragic plot, it must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, where the plot moves from happiness to misfortune. This is apparent in 'The Crucible' because we se a time where, though it is not seen on the stage, the characters speak of the time where the young girls danced and this is seen, by Paris especially, as the reason for the change from good to bad. We can also watch the happiness of the characters progressively decrease; for example, from dancing in the woods (the beginning) ...read more.

Middle

We see his faults and his virtues throughout the play and because they are small, everyday virtues, this keeps his character in a light of believability to the audience as they could occur in everyday life. John also portrays the 'tragic hero' in 'The Crucible.' His hanging shows the audience incredible strength and is incredibly admirable. The role of a tragic hero is filled by this character because John has not upheld morals as well previously in his life, shown by his affair with Abigail, but makes the right decision at the end of the play, and acts as a martyr to his cause, and dies merely due to an error of judgement, such as Mary Warren's confession and his believing in Elizabeth's truthfulness. The play is written to be viewed as a 'slice of life' or using the audience as 'the fourth wall' where the action taking place does not involve the audience at all, with no asides directed towards them and as if the audience was not involved and was 'looking through a window' at the lives of the characters. The appearance of reality draws on several different ideas to make it effective and believable. 'Unity of Time and Place' is not one that 'The Crucible' uses well. However, it is said that to effectively use this technique, the action should take place in real time. ...read more.

Conclusion

The sub-text of the piece is what really involves the audience and makes them feel as if they are there. For example, although it is not outline clearly in the text, we can see Elizabeth's struggle with her emotions for John. Her closed presentation of her character would allow us to see that she is almost a woman scorned, angry at his betrayal, but her willingness to try and help him do the right thing shows us that she is truly hurt by his actions and truly does love him as she has stayed with him and supported him. The aspect of Elizabeth and John's conversation that deals with John's affair with Abigail never directly mentions the affair, it is a sub-text, left to the audiences imagination to picture what happened, as they merely talk about the way Elizabeth has acted since and how John has earned the treatment. This also builds tension between the characters in a greater sense than it would had they been open and stated the facts about the affair. This sub-text is also explored at the beginning of Act 1 when Paris asks Abigail if her 'name is good in the village.' The whole aspect of realism is deeply written in with the involvement of tragedy, allowing some aspects of a 'typical' realistic piece to be diminished to allow for the tragedy to be involved. ?? ?? ?? ?? - 1 - ...read more.

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