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How Arthur Miller controls the rise and fall in act 1 of the crucible

Uploaded by heerpal on Dec 03, 2003

“The Crucible” is a play written by Arthur Miller, which is based on the true story of the Salem witch trails. Miller wanted theatre to “heighten the awareness of what living in our time involves”. Therefore, his play has many links with the modern world, McCarthyism for instance. Breaking it down into many smaller scenes, I will analyse Act 1 of ‘The Crucible’. I am doing this to explore the dramatic effect of character and action. ‘The Crucible’ is a powerful drama and is strongly built to bring out the full dramatic effect of varying shifts of tension and conflict. This is a play that explores the way in which a community can be devastated by a witch-hunt that can place individuals at conflict with their own conscience.
It is very important that we understand the answer to the question ‘What was living in Salem like in 1692?’ If we do not explore this question, the drama is not convincing. The villagers of Salem were Puritans who followed a particular form of Protestant Christianity. Life was hard in the small town due to strict religious codes. Singing, theatre and dancing were all forbidden and everyone was expected to attend worship on a regular basis. The people of Salem did infact believe in witchcraft and the outbreak of accusations in 1692 gave people an excuse to wreak revenge upon old enemies and to settle old scores with land ownership. This caused many innocent people to be blamed and so the accusations to spread like wildfire.
We have no way of being sure what the language of the time really sounded like - there are no recordings! There had been settlers in Massachusetts for quite a short time, so the American English that we know today wouldn't have existed. But by looking at documents from that time, including verbatim (word for word) transcripts of the court proceeding, Miller was able to create an historical feel to the language, which makes it easier for us to feel we are being transported back to the community of that time. Miller is trying to establish a society that is unfamiliar but that we can believe in. He uses various features of language to help do this. Miller used old-fashioned, archaic words, which where still authentic. For example, “bid” is used instead of the...

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Uploaded by:   heerpal

Date:   12/03/2003

Category:   The Crucible

Length:   21 pages (4,762 words)

Views:   2144

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