The Crucible - Form and Structure Essay

The Crucible - Form and Structure Essay

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The Crucible - Form and Structure

Arthur Miller uses various different techniques in the form and
structure of ‘The Crucible’ to create suspense and maintain the
audience’s interest. Of course, one of the main factors of the form
and structure of the play is its genre. ‘The Crucible’ can be
described as being a symbolic play, a tragedy, a political play, an
historical play and a narrative play in naturalistic form. It is
symbolic, political and historic as although the story revolves around
the Salem witch trials, the ideas and morals behind the plot can be
viewed as Miller’s criticism of McCarthyism. The play can also be
seen as being narrative in a naturalistic form due to the lengthy set
descriptions and stage directions followed by regular, natural yet
stylised conversational prose. Obviously, the plot of ‘The Crucible’
is tragic as it ends with Miller killing off the main characters.

One method Miller uses to keep the audience excited and interested is
his use of high tension and climaxes. He ends each of the four acts
with a climax, for example, Act Three finishes with Hale exclaiming,
‘I denounce these proceedings, I quit this court!’ as ‘he slams the
door’ behind him. Climaxes such as this will always keep an audience
alert and wanting to know more. Scenes like this particular one also
create an engaging atmosphere and help the audience to understand
extreme Puritanism more clearly. The theme of witch hunting in ‘The
Crucible’ is an exciting factor which will also maintain audience
interest. Miller also changes the focus of the play in each act. For
instance, Miller’s main idea in Act One is ‘fear of the unknown’ which
he shows through Parris’ insistence on there being ‘no unnatural cause
here...


... middle of paper ...


...d his wife creating tension not only by the change of space
on stage, but also by adapting to a much slower dialogue with pauses.

Through acting out various scenes from ‘The Crucible’, I have learnt
that by ending each act with a cliff-hanger it is human nature which
makes one feel like they must know more and what happens next. By
forming each act as a story in itself, Miller heightens the atmosphere
of mass hysteria due to this ongoing use of tension and climaxes.
Miller succeeds in keeping the audience’s interest flowing despite
this way of a different story in each act by using subplots, for
example, the rivalry between Giles Corey and Thomas Putnam.
Altogether, ‘The Crucible’ is written with an easy to follow form and
structure using pace, dialogue and action to aid builds of tension and
climaxes and therefore remain interesting to the audience.

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