The Crucible - Form and Structure Essay

880 Words 4 Pages
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
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Miller wrote ‘The Crucible’ in a chronological order. Time changing is shown not only through the number of hangings and confessions that have occurred but also through Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Miller uses exposition to make past events seem clearer such as the girls dancing in the forest at the beginning. By reference to past events by the play’s characters, the audience can create an image in their mind’s eye of what has happened without the need for flashbacks. For example,
Thomas Putnam’s past makes his actions seem even more inexcusable.
Adding even more to the natural flow of the play, Miller does not use any non-naturalistic techniques such as monologues, so the audience feels directly involved in the action.

The time span of ‘The Crucible’ stretches over about three months. To emphasise the change of time, Miller writes each act in a different location, leaving about a week between each act. Although this technique may be seen as being disjointed, the action is continuous, allowing Miller to create tension and suspense gradually and the audience to identify with the different characters, which is most easily shown through the character of John Proctor. Throughout the play’s events, Miller introduces different dimensions to Proctor’s character, so that the audience can only fully understand him by the time he dies. For example, Proctor suddenly becomes a hero in Act
Four by

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