The Effective Use of Dramatic Devices in Miller's The Crucible

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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
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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 as act two starts, there is silence. This shows a powerful use of contrast between the acts through the stage directions. This also affects the audience because as the curtain is falling they are left at the edge of their seats and as soon as it drops they are left hanging as they want to know what has happened to the girls. Arthur Miller uses this device