Dramatic Irony in the Crucible

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English 10, essay
The Crucible, option 2
In “The Crucible”, Arthur Miller uses dramatic irony to create anxiety, frustration and to demonstrate the tension between the people about the lies of witchcraft in Salem.

I. The author creates tension in the story by using Abigail who accuses innocent people of witchery.
1.) Abigail wants Elizabeth to get hanged so she can be back with John again.
2.) Abigail turns herself against Mary Warren after she confessed in court.

II. The author creates anxiety in the story by making the court so powerful.
1.) If the court thinks you are a witch, you can’t defend yourself.
2.) The court believes the lies of Abigail which causes a lot of people to hang.

III. The author creates frustration in
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“Abigail Williams, seventeen, enters - a strikingly beautiful girl, an orphan, with an endless capacity for dissembling.” Here, the reader also knows that she is not always as she appears. The affair of John Proctor and Abigail is another example of dramatic irony. We know what has happened between them but the rest of the characters, except for Elizabeth, are still oblivious. Not only Abigail is lying about this, but also John Proctor for the sake of his reputation in town.

A third instance of dramatic irony is the situation with the needle in the doll. With this, it was Abigail´s goal to get Elizabeth Proctor accused of witchcraft. Mary Warren made this doll when Abigail was sitting next to her. She left the needle inside. Mary gave the doll to Elizabeth as a gift. Abigail knew the needle was in the doll, so she stabbed herself in the stomach with a needle. With this she made the people believe Elizabeth used Voodoo on her and therefore used witchcraft. The audience knows this is not true and that Abigail is a false and lying girl. We know she does this is because she wants to get rid of Elizabeth. She is in the way of Abigail and that has still to do with the affair only the Proctors and the audience know about.

When Elizabeth is asked to tell the truth about John Proctor being an adulterer is another part where dramatic irony is used. She is a very honest woman but for the sake of her husband’s good name she lies and says that
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