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Arthur Miller Case

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Discuss the dramatic techniques Arthur Miller uses to create tension in Act 3 of The Crucible.

In Act 3 of The Crucible the author uses a wide range of techniques to convey a sense of tension and dramatic impact. Through the setting, characterisation and type of language used the audience is forced to sit on their edge of their seat. Similarly, because the audience knows about the truth (exposition) they will even feel more involved as they are angry about the wrong accusations been made, this generates a lot of dramatic impact.

However, not only the exposition plays a part in building that tense atmosphere but the type of setting does too. In this case we are located in Salem, Massachusetts during the 16th Century; a time in which everything was ruled by the church and where witchcraft was considered a sin. Likewise, the scene takes place in Salem's meeting house, now serving as the General Court. It is stated that the room is empty and solemn with only a few pieces of furniture serving as the benches. It is an unpleasant, cold and uninviting dark environment. With all these things adding up and with all the past events that have been happening Salem isn't the nicest place and especially the courtroom where you can feel the tension and the pain and anger of the accused innocent people.

Secondly, dramatic tension is created through the portrayal of the characters.

Let's look at Judge Danforth for example. This deputy governor of Massachusetts uses tyranny to get what he wants, believes he is doing the right thing and is said to rule the courtroom like a dictator. He is an educated cold hearted person and has a confident and grounded walk. Whenever a person speaks he listens but judges at the same time as he is not willing to give in.

Linking into this, the unfair questioning throughout the act by for example Mary Warren and Judge Danforth is another example of how tension is created. "Mary warren, how came you to this turnabout? Has Mr Proctor threatened you for this deposition?" "No, sir." "Has he ever threatened you?" "No, sir." "Then you tell me that you sat in my court, callously lying, when you knew that people would hang by your evidence? Answer me!"(Act 3, Page 81) These short, sharp and snappy sentences in this passage of speech create anxiety. Through this constant backfiring of questions and giving Mary Warren no time to think for reason her actions she blacks out. This is a very manipulative technique that keeps the audience on their edge of their seat as they wonder how Mary Warren will save herself.

To conclude all of this, we can see that there is clear evidence of what dramatic techniques are used and how this influences the play and the reaction of the audience members. However, not only the above mentioned things influence the atmosphere



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