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The Crucible Form And Structure

805 words - 3 pages

The Crucible - Form and Structure

Arthur Miller uses various different techniques in the form and
structure of ‘The Crucible’ to create suspense and maintain the
audience’s interest. Of course, one of the main factors of the form
and structure of the play is its genre. ‘The Crucible’ can be
described as being a symbolic play, a tragedy, a political play, an
historical play and a narrative play in naturalistic form. It is
symbolic, political and historic as although the story revolves around
the Salem witch trials, the ideas and morals behind the plot can be
viewed as Miller’s criticism of McCarthyism. The play can also be
seen as being narrative in a naturalistic form due to the lengthy set
descriptions and stage directions followed by regular, natural yet
stylised conversational prose. Obviously, the plot of ‘The Crucible’
is tragic as it ends with Miller killing off the main characters.

One method Miller uses to keep the audience excited and interested is
his use of high tension and climaxes. He ends each of the four acts
with a climax, for example, Act Three finishes with Hale exclaiming,
‘I denounce these proceedings, I quit this court!’ as ‘he slams the
door’ behind him. Climaxes such as this will always keep an audience
alert and wanting to know more. Scenes like this particular one also
create an engaging atmosphere and help the audience to understand
extreme Puritanism more clearly. The theme of witch hunting in ‘The
Crucible’ is an exciting factor which will also maintain audience
interest. Miller also changes the focus of the play in each act. For
instance, Miller’s main idea in Act One is ‘fear of the unknown’ which
he shows through Parris’ insistence on there being ‘no unnatural cause
here’, whereas the focus changes swiftly to adultery in Act Two, and
this is highlighted particularly well when Proctor fails to remember
the commandment ‘adultery’.

Miller wrote ‘The Crucible’ in a chronological order. Time changing
is shown not only through the number of hangings and confessions that
have occurred but also through Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Miller uses
exposition to make past events seem clearer such as the girls dancing
in the forest at the beginning. By reference to past events by the
play’s characters, the audience can create an image in their mind’s
eye of what has happened without the need for flashbacks. For example,
Thomas Putnam’s past makes his actions seem even more inexcusable.
Adding even more to the natural flow of the play, Miller does not use
any non-naturalistic techniques such as monologues, so the audience
feels directly...

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