The Crucible

Topics: Salem witch trials, The Crucible, Witchcraft Pages: 3 (855 words) Published: March 2, 2008

Throughout the Crucible, Arthur Miller uses many forms of rhetoric to progress and shape the plot. Miller exercises three significant forms of rhetoric to shape the play; symbolism, irony, and suspense. Although only a few instances of deep symbolism occur during the story, there are many important symbols. The title itself has two different meanings; a crucible is a melting metal to be forged into something new and different, which parallels the story to how it is a new society of forming upon change, and it is similar to the word crucify which is indisputably done to many people during the play. Rebellion to the Puritan society is one of the key symbolic meanings of the woods. The woods for the rebellious show how numerous people discharge their sexual wanting and also is the place where most of their witchcraft takes place, but for the Puritans woods are viewed as one of Satan's strongholds, as many people of the era believed (as shown in stories like "The Devil and Tom Walker"). In many tales the courthouse is supposed to represent justice and equality, but in The Crucible the courthouse is representative of inequality and injustice by its many crooked verdicts of the supposed witches. Due to Millers play format, dialogue is one of the most important factors for creating a successful tone and time period. In preserving the 1692 dialect, Miller utilizes Page 3

techniques such as dropping the "g" from the "ing" ending in words such as sleepin' or walkin'. Also, he uses outdated but understandable words such as harlot (meaning prostitute) to illustrate the time period of the characters' talk. Miller's use of biblical words such as gospel and lord help achieve a sense of the community's strict religious fundamentals. Irony shows up numerous times throughout the play, especially in the character Abigail Williams. Abigail is a very ironic hypocritical woman, she claims herself to be pure yet she has had an affair...
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