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Which scene in 'The Crucible' do you find most compelling?

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Introduction

Lucy Bowcock 11R Which scene in 'The Crucible' do you find most compelling? I think that the most compelling scene in The Crucible is in act three, beginning when Susana Walcott, Mercy Lewis, Betty Paris and Abigail Williams enter the court (page 91), and ending when the curtain falls at the end of the act (page 105). The tension in this scene partly derives from our knowledge of Mary Warren and how timid she is. Often she wants to make up her own mind but finds she follows others instead because it is easier. This has already been shown in stage directions in Act 2 when she claims to Proctor that what she does in court is God's will and that she will not take being treated as a child by Proctor any longer, all the while acting uncertain. "backing away from him, but keeping her erect posture, striving, striving for her way." She does not always know what she wants and tries to stand up for what she thinks she wants. A good example of this is in Act 2 when Proctor orders her to bed and she declares "I'll not be ordered to bed no more, Mr Proctor! ...read more.

Middle

Danforth cannot see this - he says, with apparent conviction, "She spoke nothing of lechery, and this man has lied!" This shows that he is also rather biased, whether it is intentional on his part or not. His use of the word "lechery" may well have provoked Elizabeth into lying. Up until the moment when she is directly asked, "is your husband a lecher?" she hesitates but as soon as he puts the question bluntly to her she lies. This is because she associates the word 'lecher' with a bad person and she cannot see, nor wishes anyone else to see her husband as a bad person and so she lies to save his name. Although Danforth may not have done this deliberately, we as the audience can see his biased view. He cannot believe that the girls have lied, but he instantly proclaims Proctor, and those who say they have not committed the crime of witchcraft, to be liars. To him the girls are young innocent children; this is shown in the way he addresses Abigail as 'child' even after Proctor has claimed to have slept with her. ...read more.

Conclusion

This makes the scene very tense, as the audience wants Danforth to "see the light" and understand what Proctor is saying, but we cannot tell if it will happen or not. Something else compelling about the scene is the "little bird" and it's 'effect' upon the girls, and more importantly, Mary Warren. The audience can see Mary cracking as more and more pressure is put upon her as Abigail provokes her by leading the other girls to copy what she says. "Mary: She sees nothin'! Abigail: She sees nothin'! Mary: Abby, you mustn't! Abigail and all the girls: Abby, you mustn't!..." It is easy for the audience to see Mary's distress and relate to her frustration which makes us more sympathetic towards her. This part of the scene is also very dramatic when performed, because the girls are screaming and running around, which makes it even more compelling. Miller also uses dramatic irony in this scene, by making it blindingly obvious to the audience that the girls are lying and that Proctor is telling the truth, and yet having Danforth possessing such a basic grasp of human nature that he cannot see what is directly in front of him. This makes the scene supremely frustrating for the audience, who, like Proctor, is helpless to change the course of the tragedy. ...read more.

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