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

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

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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 impure metals at high temperatures. Arthur Miller used the name Crucible, to convey a message about human nature and how certain people will stand by the truth for example Giles Corey, who was crushed by stones for not confessing he was a wizard, and those who will crack under pressure like, Tituba, the slave from Barbados who ‘confessed’ to save her life and accused others. On the other hand, Millers choice of title implies that only under extreme pressure will people reveal their true character.
The play was written during the time of McCarthyism which occurred during the 1950’s, when the US government blacklisted and accused people of being communists. During this period of time America was afraid of the spread of communism. Communism is a social system based on public ownership. It is the opposite of Capitalism. Throughout the period of McCarthyism innocent people were being accused of being Communists. Many of the people that were accused were actors, authors, play writers and singers. This was...


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...d in the play, how the pure people were separated from the impure. ‘The Crucible’ is certainly an allegory to the McCarthyism era and the similarities between the two events are very clear. The device that I thought was the most successful in creating tension in Act Two were the stage directions. Mainly because they showed how a particular character reacts to what was said and their body movements. One stage direction that used this device very well was at the beginning when Miller described the setting of the scene. ‘It was low, dark and rather long...room was empty.’ This straight away gave me the impression of how the relationship between the Proctors was empty and lonely and there was no affection between them. It also gave the impression of a threatening and unwelcoming place and the fact that awkwardness is shown between Elizabeth and John throughout Act Two.

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