The Crucible, Act I, by Arthur Miller
Literary Analysis: Drama: Dialogue and Stage Directions
Arthur Miller's stage directions in The Crucible are extensive, detailed, and full of historical information. They provide the setting, background on the situation, and information about characters' backgrounds, motives, and personalities. A reader of the play benefits from Miller's background information by gaining an understanding of the characters as people and why they act the way they do. Still, The Crucible is a play. As in all plays, the dialogue carries the burden of communicating to the audience. From the dialogue a reader or an audience member learns how the characters think, how they express themselves, and how they feel about one another and about the situation at hand. It is only through the dialogue that the plot develops.
DIRECTIONS: Refer to dialogue, stage directions, and background information in Act I as you an- swer the following questions.
1. What do you learn about Reverend Parris's relationship with the community in Act I? Where do you learn this information? He has people that are after his job. I learned this from him and Abigail’s conversation.
2. What are Abigail's circumstances? What led her to reside with her uncle? Indicate where you find this information. She is an orphan. Her broken relationship with Goody Proctor led to her living with her uncle. I found out this information through reading Abigail’s and Parris conversation.
3. What relationship exists between Abigail and Proctor? How do you know this? Proctor loved Abigail in a very peculiar way.
4. When Mrs. Putnam enters the story, how do the stage directions characterize her? As a woman who has been hurt numerous times by the death of her children.
5. In what way do Mrs. Putnam's words and/or actions in Act I support her description in...