The Crucible

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The Crucible is play written in 1952 by Arthur Miller that is based off the Salem witch trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts. More than 150 people were accused of witchcraft during this time period. Nineteen people were hung between 1692 and 1693, and one was pressed to death. The Crucible is known to be one of the hallmarks of American literature and has been produced consistently since the 19th century. It was first recognized as a standard piece of literature and was commonly known as a melodrama. Arthur Miller was an accused victim of the “red scare,” and used this play as an allegory to the accusations that he faced. In order for a play to be successful, the play needs to have a strong beginning with conflict and tension so that the audience does not lose interest within the first few minutes. The play needs to be suspenseful and use dramatic irony effectively with a purpose. Conflict must be apparent, but it cannot overwhelm the audience with too many problems. In the Crucible, Miller uses a three part structure which uses in medias res that is flawed in the middle, a subplot that keeps the audience drawn in and employs dramatic irony that is appealing and humorous. Arthur Miller incorporates a three-part structure in order to make the reader more interested and drawn into the play. In the beginning, he introduces the conflicts along with the characters and “throws” the audience right into the action, which is known as in medias res. This method is not common in standard literature and the exposition is usually the slowest part of the novel. Although Miller throws us into the play without any knowledge of what is going on, the audience is left to interpret the situation based on what is happening. The first part of the play begins with Reverend Parris praying by a child’s bedside; she is immobile and appears to be dead. The child, Betty Parris, is suspected to be a victim of witchcraft. Reverend Parris suspects his niece Abigail and his slave...
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