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"With Reference to Historical Context, Characterisation and Performance, Discuss the Use of Tension-Building Techniques in Act 2 of 'The Crucible'".

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THE CRUCIBLE - ARTHUR MILLER "With Reference to Historical Context, Characterisation and Performance, Discuss the Use of Tension-Building Techniques in Act 2 of 'The Crucible'" "Crucible - A vessel in which metals are heated to an extremely high temperature, melted down and purified" - that is what the dictionary says about a crucible. That one sentence is basically a pr�cis of the emotion that occurs in The Crucible; it describes what happens to people's feelings throughout the play: they reach a high temperature and become purified Abigail and the girls lived in a puritan society. That means that their whole lives were ruled by God and the teachings in the Bible. If you did anything out of the ordinary, it was considered blasphemous. In the world of Salem, the existence of witches was rarely questioned, so any un-puritan behaviour was considered as witchery. Everybody in the society did things the way they were told by ministers of the church, everybody did as the Bible said and everybody tried to keep their lives and actions pure. However this was very difficult, and this was where complications arose in the society. E.g. If you frequently missed Sunday church, you were accused of being in allegiance with Lucifer, "I note that you are rarely in church on Sabbath Day." (53, Act 2) In January 1692, Abigail Williams and other girls were found dancing and drinking blood, in the woods, by Reverend Samuel Parris, "my daughter and my niece I discovered dancing like heathen in the forest." (7, Act1) ...read more.


For the Americans believe that everybody has a right to do what they want, and when they want it in their own life, Communism totally rivalled that. This was the time of the Cold War, in which the USA and USSR were utter enemies, mainly due to the system that they ran their countries. If you were accused of being a communist, you had to confess and tell the government of other people who you knew were communist and you had to give everything in you life to the government, so that they would believe that you were not communist. This was McCarthyism, witch-hunts for communists. There is a clear parallel between this and the events in The Crucible, the ministers are trying to find people in their puritan society who are witches, just because people say so, "I saw Goody Hawkins with the Devil!" (40, Act 1) It is these random accusations that really start all these events. Then people have to try and convince the High Court that they are innocent, even though they all are anyway. So Arthur Miller, who was accused of Un-American Activities himself, wrote this play to show people what was going on in the USA at the time, and make people realise that what was going on in the country was wrong. There are also parallels between this and what is going on in the world today. Two years after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, the Americans are going on witch hunts trying to find terrorists all ...read more.


Fear nothing, Elizabeth." (63, Act 2) It must be at this point that Elizabeth starts believing in John again. All of this happens after John tells Reverend Hale that he knows that the girls are pretending to see witches and that this is all a big cover up. Hale is the first minister of the church, and the first outsider, to be told how they know what is really happening in Salem, and what the alternative motives are for what the girls are doing. It is John's guilt that is central throughout the play. He knows that everything that has happened is down to him, and he has to learn to accept that. It is his actions because of his guilt that make all of these events happen, it isn't until late in Act 3 that he finally comes to terms with what is happening, and the it is at least partly his fault. In conclusion this is a play about real life events that happened in Salem in 1692 that can be paralleled with modern day events. This play helps us to realise the corruption in the world, by showing it to us in its simplest form. This play is a protest to some of the ways of society, and makes us realise everything that is bad in the world. He does all this by giving us information in the written word. He uses many techniques to do this, how can you be anything other than impressed with this play! Shaun Gunner ENGLISH EN2 AND ENGLISH LITERATURE COURSEWORK 11AN Miss Dopson November 2003 Page 1 ...read more.

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