The Effective Use Of Dramatic Devices In Miller's The Crucible

3629 words - 15 pages

The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a famous play which was written in the early 1950’s. The Crucible is a play based upon the events in 1692, which led to the ‘Salem Witch Trials’, a series of hearings before local magistrates to prosecute over 150 people accused of witchcraft. This was due to the hysteria caused by a group of girls accusing innocent people of witch craft. The play was set in Salem, Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. Salem was a very isolated and puritanical community, so their biggest fear was the devil and witchcraft. A person being accused of witchcraft was the worst thing possible in this society.
The definition of crucible is a container that is used to heat metal in order to separate the pure from impure metals at high temperatures. Arthur Miller used the name Crucible, to convey a message about human nature and how certain people will stand by the truth for example Giles Corey, who was crushed by stones for not confessing he was a wizard, and those who will crack under pressure like, Tituba, the slave from Barbados who ‘confessed’ to save her life and accused others. On the other hand, Millers choice of title implies that only under extreme pressure will people reveal their true character.
The play was written during the time of McCarthyism which occurred during the 1950’s, when the US government blacklisted and accused people of being communists. During this period of time America was afraid of the spread of communism. Communism is a social system based on public ownership. It is the opposite of Capitalism. Throughout the period of McCarthyism innocent people were being accused of being Communists. Many of the people that were accused were actors, authors, play writers and singers. This was because these jobs send a message to people and the government thought that these messages were about Communism. One of the play writers that was blamed was Arthur Miller himself, and he had to suffer the consequence of prison for one year as there were no free trials. After Miller’s time in prison, he wrote the Crucible, an allegorical play in which Miller linked the situation of America going ‘hunting Communists’ to the ‘Witch Hunts’ in Salem.
Throughout the play Miller creates tension between the characters, however this tension is mainly shown in Act Two. Although the main theme of the Crucible is witch craft, this act concentrates mainly on the relationship of John and Elizabeth Proctor. Miller uses a variety of dramatic devices such as, stage directions, long pauses and silences, entrances of other characters (interruptions), use of contrast, length of sentences and punctuation to express mood and feeling, use of figurative language and repetition and how other characters react to a particular problem.
Prior to this act the girls have named the witches and have accused innocent people, for example “I saw Goody Hawkins with the devil...” This scene ends with everybody screaming and being hysterical and as soon...

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