Miller Tension

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Discuss Millers use of tension throughout act 3 of the crucible?

The play ‘the crucible’ illustrates how people react to mass hysteria created by a person or group of people, as people did during the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s. Miler lived in America at the time of the McCarthy hearings and linked the Salem witch trials analogically to the events of the time. This meant that miller could use the same type of dramatic tension he was witnessing and use it in his play.

Miller masterfully builds suspense and tension in act 3 through a number of elements. Firstly the judges and ‘afflicted girls ‘for once in the play have a worthy opponent in John Proctor. He comes to court armed with Mary Warren (who can but does not testify that the girls are faking), a petition testifying the ‘goodness’ of his wife signed by many of the townspeople and a willingness to confess his adulterous relationship with Abigail. At this point it seems that the tide may change in the trials if john is successful. Miller builds tension in acts 1 and 2 towards this point between the girls and john proctor as all the evidence that the audience has witnessed, finally accumulates into a climax in the courtroom.

The courtroom setting is used frequently by miller as a battleground for public opinion and conflicting parties. The judges, Hathorne, Danforth and Giles often use repetition and rhetorical to make the audience feel sympathy, anger or worry. Miller uses this in his dramatic build up of tension throughout the act. The effect is seen by the audience on the crowd in the courtroom and the audience is also indirectly affected by this flair of dramatic tension.

In act 3, Danforth, the deputy governor, who is in his sixties and plays an important part, is introduced. He is very sophisticated and respectful. Danforth plays the part of a very loyal man in which he makes antagonizing decisions. During the hearings he exclaims ‘I judge nothing of no one’. This tells the audience that...
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