The Use of Language in The Crucible
The Crucible is the study in the mass hysteria which led to the 1692
Salem witchcraft trials, concentrating on the fate of some of the key
figures caught up in the persecution. It powerfully depicts people and
principles under pressure, and the issues and motivations involved. At
the same time it is also clearly a parable for the events of the
McCarthy era in the USA of the 1950s when anyone suspected of left
wing views was arraigned for ‘ un American activities’
‘The Crucible’ consists of many dramatic acts involving a lot of
tension but Act III is significant to the whole play as it involves a
lot of dramatic irony and anxiety. Act III is opened with a build up a
tension from the previous act where Elizabeth Proctor is accused of
witchcraft and taken away by the court. This immediately builds up
tension to the next act as the audience wait for the trial.
The structural importance is an important key aspect involved in Act
III as it creates tensions and contrasts in with the next event. This
creates the right atmosphere for upcoming episodes such as the news of
Elizabeth’s pregnancy and what influence it could have on her fate.
Act III consists of many emotions such as guilt, regression, anger and
hope. Each character changes within the act depending on their
individual circumstances. Proctor is known to be a good man but then
he is forced to admit to adultery, his wife Elizabeth a very honest
woman is forced to lie for her husband and Abigail still continues the
same throughout Act III with her dramatic character unable to change
in her circumstances.
In the opening of Act III Giles, an elderly but honest farmer is being
held and forced into the vestry by Herrick, Hale enters and sees the
aggravation that this is causing Giles and tells them both to be calm.
“They’ll be hanging’ my wife!” Giles reveals that his wife is to be
hanged; this signals tension that a argument is about to come in
between some of the characters
Giles’s entrance creates elements of suspense and tension. We first
see this when he breaks in roaring “I have evidence for the court”.
His tone and straight to the point language suggests that he is
desperate to save his wife despite the fact he is in a court room and
his behaviour is not acceptable. The fact that he claims he has
evidence builds up tension in the audience as to whether or not this
can change the trial.
Judge Harthone, a hard and unforgiving man then enters shouting at
Giles for creating such a scene “Arrest him Excellency!” by Harthone's
commands we see his superiority. Danforth and Giles then have a
disputed conversation where Giles gets pretty upset and he is
“beginning to weep” as shown in the stage directions on page 69.
Giles’s break down shows that he has broken down from anger to weeping
from the desperation to save his wife from being hanged by speaking in
her defence. “Your hearing lies, lies!” Giles’s use of...