The Crucible Literary Devices

Topics: Salem witch trials, The Crucible, Irony Pages: 2 (563 words) Published: April 5, 2011
Literary Devices Essay
Literary Devices Used in “The Crucible.”
“The Crucible,” by Arthur Miller is a politically charged play. It was written in 1953 and made into a movie in 1996. He uses literary devices such as themes, tone, and ironic devices to show the politically strict and crazy ways of society. Arthur Miller shows the theme of hysteria throughout the play in the characters and actions mostly of Abigail. She accuses Elizabeth Proctor of witch craft and gets her sent to jail. Abigail does this to gain control of John Proctor because she believes they are in love. But some people, such as Reverend Parris, thrive on the hysteria Abigail is causing. He is using it to strengthen his position in the village. And then everyone starts getting blamed for incidents such as babies being murdered. “I want to open myself! I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil; I saw him; I wrote in his book...(40)” This quote is when Abigail confessed to seeing many people with the Devil. Also in this play Arthur Miller uses tone. Miller’s attitude towards witchcraft is satirical. The tone is serious, cynical, and formal. He achieves this tone by the terrible tragedy of the innocent people executed, and the mental struggles of John Proctor. Miller shows the irony and the unjustness of the witch trials. This quote from Mary Warren shows how serious society takes witchcraft and such. “Abby, we’ve got to tell. Witchery’s a hangin’ error, a hangin’ like they done in Boston two year ago! We must tell the truth, Abby! You’ll only be whipped for dancin’ and the other things!(19)” 000536-MUBU Weldon 2

Miller also uses ironic devices throughout this play. Miller has few cases of verbal irony.  He uses it in act 3 when Elizabeth tells the court that Proctor did not sleep with Abigail even though she knows that he did. All parts with the girls lying about witches and ghosts are cases of dramatic irony since, while the audience knows that the...
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