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I am Innocent to a Witch. I Know Not What a Witch is.”: An Analysis of Arthur Miller’s Use of Diction, Syntax, and Metaphors in The Crucible.

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“Now, Hell and Heaven grapple on our backs, and all our old pretense is ripped away… It is a providence and no great change; we are only what we always were, but naked now. Aye, naked! And the wind, God’s icy wind, will blow!” (205) This powerful quote is taken from The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller during the Red Scare of the 1950’s. Miller, accused in the McCarthy trials, wrote the play about the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 to criticize the way history was repeating itself and how hysteria was taking over the masses. Arthur Miller’s writing style adds to the retelling of the Witch Trials by his use of diction, syntax, and metaphors. These techniques help give insight to how the people of the Trials felt and give the characters a more solid feel, enhance imagery, as well as make the setting vivid and believable. Diction is essentially the word choice used in a medium. In The Crucible, the use of diction to create a believable image of the Puritan life and speech is crucial to the story. Miller uses archaic vocabulary in The Crucible often to create a more feasible Puritan setting and to enhance the characterization of the people involved. Puritans, being a highly pious people, were more likely to use words such as “penitence” (239) and “harlot” (221) than we would today. In today’s times, instead of penitence, one would be more likely to say regret and, instead of harlot, say whore. Danforth is the highest in rank of the judges of the Trials. Miller has to use
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