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How does Miller create dramatic tension in each of the four acts of The Crucible?

Uploaded by Sprintfellow on Dec 15, 2000

In the 17th century a group of Puritans from England immigrated to America to escape persecution for their religious beliefs. The white settlers arrived in New England in 1620, and Salem, Massachusetts had been in existence for about forty years by 1692. Salem developed as a theocracy. This was based on the coexistence of religious prayer and hard work. Entertainment, such as dancing, or any enjoyment at all was perceived as a sin. The isolation of the Puritan society created a rigid social system that did not allow for any variation in lifestyle.

The Puritans felt insecure with the knowledge of the Native Americans in the forest. They felt persecuted and constantly under attack. Abigail mentions her past when she says that she witnessed, ‘Indians smash my dear parents' heads on the pillow next to mine’.

Throughout the play it is apparent that the community becomes more divided. In the beginning there were arguments about ownership of land between some of the villagers. As the story progresses people fear for their own safety and begin accusing their neighbours of witchcraft in order to escape being hanged.

HALE 'They have confessed it.'
PROCTOR 'And why not, if they must hang for denyin'it? There are
them that will swear to anything before they'll hang;

This is like when Abigail accuses Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft so that she will know that there will be a clear path to John Proctor whom she had an affair with and now is in love with.

Salem becomes overrun by the hysteria of witchcraft. Mere suspicion itself was accepted as evidence. As a God-fearing community, they could not think of denying the evidence, because to deny the existence of Evil is to deny the existence of Goodness; which is God.

A crucible is a container in which metals are heated to extract the pure element from dross or impurities. This definition is easily connected to the play. To start with, witches supposedly use cauldrons to brew their magic potions, and a synonym for cauldron is crucible. Not only do witches use cauldrons, but the word crucible also could have some metaphorical meaning. The actions in Salem were like that in a brewing cauldron, there were many heated arguments, and people were being ‘stirred’ and ‘mixed’ around like a vile potion.

The plays central theme is the spiritual development of John Proctor. He changed from thinking solely about himself to thinking about who was in need most beside...

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Uploaded by:   Sprintfellow

Date:   12/15/2000

Category:   The Crucible

Length:   13 pages (2,913 words)

Views:   2447

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