The Crucible and Mrs Putnam

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In the opening of the play how does Miller seek to create an atmosphere of hysteria and tension? Do you find the opening effective?

The Crucible is a play by Arthur Miller written in the 1950’s. It was set in the 1690’s in Massachusetts. The play is about the witch trials and how something like a group of girls in the woods could lead to about 200 people being hanged and accused of witchcraft. The people of Salem were new to Massachusetts as they were puritans who went off to America to set up a new religious colony . The people were new to their surroundings had the Native Americans as enemies because they took their land. Although the Crucible is about the witch trials, it is thought to be a metaphor for the McCarthy Communist trials that was happening during the 1950’s. It was very similar to witchcraft and many people in the Hollywood were accused. You could be dismissed from the accusations of being communists after naming other people who you think were communists. Many innocent died because of both of these events. It was a way to get rid of your hatred and anger against others. The very opening of the play portrays a worrying and fearful scene, when we see Betty in bed not moving and Reverend Parris knelt down and praying. A child unconscious in bed creates tension because we don’t what is wrong and grabs the attention of the audience as the audience would be keen to know what is wrong with the child. More hysteria is caused when Tituba comes in through the door, which makes Parris angry and shouts at her “Out of here!” This sharp and imperative sentence allows Miller to show that even the minister of Salem sees a black “negro slave” as an animal. This would gain sympathy from the audience who is tensed from all the mysteriousness that is taking place. It would also make the audience jump and be frightened and this gives Parris an authoritative figure. It also shows that Parris is tensed because he is even shouting at people who says that his child...
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