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

Topics: Salem witch trials, Samuel Parris, The Crucible Pages: 3 (951 words) Published: April 19, 2014
In the opening of the play, how does Miller seek to create an atmosphere of hysteria and tension? Do you find the opening effective?

Premiering in 1953, Arthur Miller’s the crucible was a scathing attack on the Communist scare of the era in the guise of a dramatization of the witch hunts that took place in Salem in the 1960’s. Throughout the beginning the play follows how fear of death, The Devil and the unknown causes people to submit to madness and how the sense of guilt could cause them to lose all forms of their common sense and allow for insanity to overcome a whole community. During the play there are many areas in which Arthur Miller creates an atmosphere of tension and hysteria through many different techniques including rising arguments, fast pace dialogue, negative language and interruptions; all which add to the pressure that builds up throughout the play. Tension begins from the title of the play, crucible can be defined as a heatproof container in which substance may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures, which may cause any impurities to rise to the surface. However, a Crucible could also be defined in two other ways: metaphorically it is a severe test or trail and a place, tie or situation characterised by the confluence of power, intellectual, economical and political forces. The significance of these definitions illustrates how appropriate this titles it to the play. Some of the characters are tested to their limits and crumpled under the pressure. Another interpretation of the word is how a crucible purifies metal, which connotes the people of Salem trying to purify the accused who confess, the accuses are tested to their limits to see whether or not they will fold and tell everyone they are witches to save their own lives or if they will keep honest with themselves and risk their life.

At the beginning of the play, Miller introduces the scene and only one character; it entails phrases that leave the audience to assume...
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