How Does Arthur Miller Create Drama and Tension in Act 1 of ‘the Crucible’?

1678 Words Sep 30th, 2012 7 Pages
How does Arthur Miller create drama and tension in Act 1 of ‘The Crucible’?

The Crucible is a play, which explores the witch- hunting hysteria that happened in Salem 1692. Miller uses this “organized mass-hysteria”[1] to comment on his own similar experience during the 1950s. Through “The Crucible”, Miller is able to draw an analogy between the hysteria of the Salem witch-trails and its modern parallel of the anti communist ‘witch-hunts’ which occurred due to the HUAC-House of un-American Committee, which were lead by Senator Joseph McCarthy; who with the help of the committee were “ruthlessly determined to hunt out communists as the Salem judges had been to hunt out witches”[2]. Miller used “The Crucible” to criticise this unmitigated
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Take, for example, Abigail's line of "Give me a word John, a soft word" where she appears to be attempting to seduce John. In this part of the play we see how Abigail can manipulate how she speaks to, in a way, toy with John's emotions, however it is likely that at this point in the play the audience will be aware of how young Abigail actually is, and will therefore realise she is embarrassing herself. Although this isn't creating high levels of immense tension, the embarrassment the audience is provoked to feel due to Abigail's actions is likely to leave them feeling highly uncomfortable in the situation, hence causing a tense atmosphere to be created. In contrast to Abigail's approach, John talks more as a father, giving a very patronising response, which begins with him calling her "child", thus furthering the embarrassment felt.

As previously mentioned, Abigail’s hatred for Goody Proctor is seen in the beginning of Act One. In the middle of Act One we find out why she is filled with such hatred for Elizabeth. It all begins with the entrance of John Proctor. The way all the girls, except an inert Betty and Abigail, promptly walk out the room shows he has a lot of power and we hear in his introduction that he is a well respected man in Salem. There is a part where there is some dramatic irony when Abigail and Proctor are talking alone. “Give me a word, John. A soft word.” This tells the

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