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The Crucible: A Masterpiece Of Dramatic Writing

3308 words - 13 pages

      The Crucible provides us with an example of a masterpiece of dramatic writing. In this play Arthur Miller gives us a stimulating example of the use of a variety of theatrical techniques. His most powerful scenes in "The Crucible" have common characteristics: very effective use of stage actions, long build-ups of suspense that come crashing down in thundering climaxes, intense displays of emotion and an abundance of dramatic irony. These are my three chosen scenes: p46-50: "Tituba........Devil!", p98-100: "She thinks.......Oh God" and p101-105: "You will.....Mr Hale!". Because of the importance of these scenes as key moments in the play Miller makes them dramatically superb so that the "No,sir" by Elizabeth that decides the outcome of dozens of lives and of her own and her husband’s, John Proctor is also the climax of the most effective build-up of suspense in the play. The effectivness of these scenes is also enhanced by powerful characters such as John Proctor and Danforth who display such intensity in their emotions and actions that the audience can not help but be moved. But most of all, these scenes show Miller’s theatrical qualities so that by the end of each of these scenes we not only understand his message but also find ourself convinced by his arguments .

The dramatic impact of a play is enhanced when the audience understands all the different aspects of the main characters. It helps them become more involved and at the same time gives the author the chance to display some dramatic irony. Miller uses stage actions to that end in the first chosen scene of "The Crucible". In this scene Tituba’s inner conflict and Hale’s resolution is clearly expressed through the stage actions. Tituba first denies having seen the Devil but under Hale’s harsh questions she "falls to her knees" and "weeps" and is pushed to admit to it, she breaks as is shown in the stage actions: "She is rocking on her knees, sobbing in terror". When she starts to weaken, much to the dismay of the audience and starts to ‘play Hale’s game’ the stage actions change accordingly to Tituba "suddenly bursting out" and in a "furry". We know Tituba to be a good person, eager to save herself yet hesitant to denounce any people that she might have seen with the Devil as she knows it would probably cause their death.

Hale comes across as a man proud to be a minister; he "rises with exaltation" when speaking to Tituba and takes pity on her as is shown by the stage actions when he takes her hand which causes Tituba to relax , yet at the same time he is very "resolute". We see Parris as the sort of person who will do anything to advance in society and clear his name after Hale says: "It is the best the Devil wants, and who is better than the minister?". The false screaming of the girls is also apparent through the stage actions so that we understand the hypocritical side of their personnality: "staring as though inspired..... She is enraptured, as though in pearly...

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