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Write about the dramatic significance of Act One of the Crucible. How does Miller develop the scene structurally?

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Introduction

Write about the dramatic significance of Act One. How does Miller develop the scene structurally? The Crucible has a true historical background. It is set in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts. All the characters were real people who took part in real the witchcraft trials. Miller has created their personalities using his imagination as well as historical notes from the time. This makes the characters seem like real people with real lives. To allow the plot to go ahead, Abigail's age was changed from twelve to seventeen. The whole back story between John Proctor and Abigail would have to be omitted from the script if Abigail was to remain as twelve years old. The inclusion of the Abigail and John sub-plot story shows the audience that John regrets his mistakes and feels guilty about what he's done. It makes him seem more human and makes Abigail seem more manipulative and devious. The way John acts towards his wife, aware that she knows what's gone on, makes him seem like a more benevolent person. By including this story, Miller can control the audience's opinions of these characters. Sub-plots are just one of the ways Miller can make us see the characters from his point of view. ...read more.

Middle

He was able to show his views through literature. He is able to show that he didn't think that the people deserved to die. When Miller himself was summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee, he felt himself being placed in the same situation as his character, John Proctor, when he was asked to name others who may be going against the law-as himself. He refused, just as John Proctor does, although he has later played down this similarity saying, "I was just trying to stay out of jail". So, on this count, there are links between the fictional world, the old theocratic world and the modern democratic one. The book was also seen as a political parable. Had Miller expressed his political views in a more direct fashion then the outcome of his appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee might have been very different. Miller seems to structure the play into waves of hysteria and chaos, and calm and placid. Take, for instance, scene one. The action starts immediately. Betty is lying unconscious on the bed and within a few pages, the room is full of people and very soon, they are all arguing and shouting. Because there are so many people coming and going this creates a sense of confusion. ...read more.

Conclusion

The girls were obviously doing something which wasn't allowed otherwise they wouldn't act so anxiously around the subject. The film had an interesting take on the opening sequence. Whereas in the book, the girls were supposed to have been dancing in the forest to Tituba's songs, the film shows them performing proper black magic. They have a cauldron and are standing in a circle around it. One by one they drop a herb or some flowers into the mixture before, finally, Tituba kills a bird and puts that in as well. This was an interesting way to start the film as it makes it look as if the girls were actually dabbling in the occult. This is another example of how Miller uses confusion constructively as it makes you think about what's really happening. This play has roots on many different levels, not least in the domestic family life - Most referred to in Act One and Act Two. It is a kind of commentary on family life, neighbourly feuds and shrouded affairs gone public. Miller's play tells a story of guilt, regret, darkness, anger, vengeance, mass hysteria, hope, benevolence among the unscrupulous and heroism. In his lavish text Miller makes sure that there is always at least one emotion which you can relate to and that there is always a saving-grace for each character, something to make you sympathise with them-if only a little. ...read more.

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