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Show How Arthur Miller Creates Tension and Excitement for the Audience in Act one of the Play

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Show how Arthur Miller creates tension and excitement for the audience in Act One of The Play

Arthur Miller had a very difficult time in the 1950s when McCarthy's persecution of communist happened. This created an unwelcome atmosphere of suspicion and fears too many people's lives such as writers and artists who were accused of being communists. This turned in to a huge investigation of many leading figures, who were described as 'un-American' and that they had communist sympathies. Miller was unfortunately put on trial. The methods HUAC used to investigate were fear, suspicion and false accusation. It turned out to be a witch hunt. This led Miller to write an allegorical play called The Crucible about an earlier incident of a "witch hunt" in Salem during 1692 in which 24 people were hung on false accusations.

Witchcraft was a real threat in the1600s. As people believed that witches existed. Being accused of being a witch was a death sentence; there was no way out because you could not prove your innocence. The people were less knowledgeable to know why the small things happened in life for example why cattle died etc. In the play the villagers were all completely terrified of witchcraft as the village operated by theocracy laws meaning 'In Gods laws'. This made their lives a lot more difficult. At the beginning of Act One Reverend Parris is praying passionately over his daughter, Betty Parris, who lies unconscious on her bed. The stage directions indicate that the room is quite dark with only a candle burning and sunlight through the window lighting the room this creates a gloomy atmosphere for the audience and also starts to build up the tension as they want to know why this man is praying over the girl. Parris is frightened, confused and angered by Betty's illness, perhaps wondering what he has done wrong to be inflicted. Parris is completely terrified in case it is witchcraft as it would ruin his reputation. This builds the tension as there are rumours going around the village about his family which makes him alarmed and frustrated. As he begins questioning his niece Abigail Williams about the incident, the audience get involved and the tension begins to rise. "What did you do with her in the forest" Parris gets straight to the point showing the audience that he is angry and desperate for answers. Next he says "I cannot blink what I saw, Abigail for my enemies will not blink it. I saw a dress lying on the grass." At this point Abigail acts innocently, which brings Parris to his next question about how he saw a naked women but Abigail still denies it and says "no one was naked!" This does make Parris angry and inpatient as he knows what he saw. "I saw it!" the exclamation is placed there to show expression and tone in his voice. The next question is about Abigail's virginity. "Your name in the town- it is entirely white, is it not?" tells the audience she does not have a good reputation and she may have done something terrible. As she answers, "there be no blush about my name." with bitterness in her voice, it builds an atmosphere of fear between the two characters. This makes the play more negative. The dialogue ends with signs of complete resentment making it sound even more exciting and also creates more tension as the audience are left with more questions.

The structure of the Act helps the audience understand all the issues and complications in the village. The structure also allows the audience to understand the different ways Miller used his ideas to create the tension in the play. Stagecraft is specially positioned for certain characters to have their own private conversations, like Parris and Abigail "What did you do with her in the forest" Abigail replies "nothing we danced" This dialogue was just between Parris and Abigail which also showed us that they both think mostly about their reputations which is a major theme of the play. The next dialogue is between Parris and the Putnams, "How high did she fly how high?" said by Ann Putnam which makes Reverend Parris, already afraid of the accusations that will come out of people's mouths, say "No, no, she never flew." This conversation also was taken in the same place but with different characters as Abigail stands back quietly watching. Then the dialogue is between the four girls Abigail, Mercy Lewis, Mary Warren and Betty Parris this conversation answers some of the audience questions and creates a lot of tension between the girls. As Abigail shows the other side to herself and threatens them "now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam's dead sisters. And that is all. And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you..."this explains to us that she is powerful and that she is the ringleader. It also tells us that she has been through it herself as she says "

I saw Indians smash my dear parents heads on the pillow next to mine," this does make her sound grieved by her parents death but she's not afraid to do it to someone else. She is a dominant person. This completely terrifies the girls who all make their way out one by one with certain excuses, leaving the next two characters in the room, Abigail and Proctor. Their dialogue creates tension and excitement in the scene as we find out that they were having an affair and that Abigail wants to carry on with the affair but Proctor says no it's wrong. "No, no Abby. That's done with," says Proctor as Abigail asks for "a soft word". This revelation has shocked and surprised the audience, but we realise Proctor not only wants to forget about what he did but also regrets it very much. However Abigail has a whole different story and she says "John- I am watin' for you every night." This tells us that Abigail still has hope of getting back together with him.

Then unexpectedly Hales enters the witch finder! This creates a lot of tension as it shows him that Parris is not running a great village and that's when Parris quickly cuts out of the conversation. Hale does have a lot of dialogue but not privately as most of the characters in the last dialogue are still in the room. First Hales questions Abigail, "What sort of soup were in this kettle, Abigail?", "What jumped in" as Abigail somehow managed to get out of the corner places then blames it on Tituba. "I never called him! Tituba, Tituba..." This does create tension as Abigail tries to get herself out of blame starts to pass it on. Next Tituba is questioned. "Woman



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