Suspicions of Reverend Parris, throughout the audience, rise as act one progresses because of his actions. Later on, Parris becomes a member of the court, dealing with the witchcraft hysteria. The suspicions of the audience are confirmed.
Arthur Miller introduces most of the important characters in Act One. Reverend Parris is first introduced. He is introduced “praying”. Then the audience are introduced to Tituba, “His Negro slave” his meaning Parris’s. The audience immediately have sympathy for Tituba because the overture states, “trouble in the house eventually lands on her back”. The audience feel sorry for Tituba because she seems so helpless and innocent. They cannot understand why Parris is so obnoxious towards her. “(Backing to the door) Out of my Sight!” Tituba exits so suddenly that the audience are left wondering if Tituba is in the play again.
Abigail Williams is the next to be introduced into the play. “A orphan with and endless capacity for dissembling.” This is the description the audience are given about Abigail by Arthur Miller. This means she is quite an untruthful character and is full of lies, which the audience find out as Act One unfolds. Immediately, the audience then have suspicions about her. The uncertainty of Abigail grows as the Act progresses. “My daughter and my niece… dancing like heathens in the forest”. Although she denies being linked with witchcraft the audience do not believe her because of the high suspicions they have of her already. The audience are almost certain that Abigail is bad news and that she is going to play a main role in the growing hysteria. As we find out later on.
The hysteria of witchcraft is introduced in act one and it gives the audience a glance of what is about to happen in the rest of the play. The audience’s suspicions are gradually raised throughout act one about the subject of witchcraft, as the characters become more involved. The play becomes more intense and exciting. When Hale arrives everything starts to speed up and things gets more interesting. This is when the hysteria starts to get out of control. He sets the fear alight. “If she is truly in the devil’s grip then we may have to rip and tear to get her free.” This frightens many. “I think I’ll go, then. I am too old for this.” As Hale questions more and more, Abigail blurts out “I never called him! Tituba, Tituba…” The audience are immediately shocked because she seemed so helpless and innocent. The audience’s feelings should change towards her and they should feel angry but the audience’s suspicions about Abigail just grow. When Tituba cries out to Hale wanting her freedom from the devil “terrified”, I don’t desire to work for him.” The audience again feel sorry for Tituba but when Abigail shouts, “I want to open myself” the audience are still wary about her because of the reputation that has stayed with her throughout act one. Abigail makes her self out to be innocent when the audience clearly know she is not. This happens all the way through the play with Abigail trying to claim her innocence. She does this by passing her guilt onto others. “I saw Goody Booth with the devil.” When she accuses people believe her and as the story goes on, people still keep believing because the hysteria becomes so out of control.
Arthur Miller uses language for specific reasons in the play. The language throughout act one, reveals themes and ideas through imagery and symbolism. A key example is the use of the words black and white “Your name in the town is entirely white, is it not?” White symbolises purity and black symbolises bad or evil. The idea of this carries on throughout the play. “I will black my face”. The idea of black symbolising evil does not prove good news to Tituba. “Abigail points at Tituba.” All of the fingers pointing at her may have been influenced by her skin colour. She is different to everyone else who is white. Parris also describes her as a “dumb beast” this shows he does not have any respect for her and the way he treats at the start also shows this “Out of my sight!” Tituba is a prime target for the witchcraft hysteria.
At the end of the play Betty and Abigail start chanting names. We see the fear and much of the hysteria coming out at the end of act one and this gives the audience a quick glance of what is yet to come. The audience may wonder. If this is happening at the start of the play what is in store for the rest?
The beginning of Act One in the Crucible holds the key to the rest of the play it gives you an insight to what is about to happen and really unfolds the story for you. The beginning does give you clues to the rest of the story and because of this, the audience are feeling tension and excitement, leaving them desperate to know what will happen later on.