The Crucible offers us with what can just be described as work of art of dramatic writing. Written by Arthur Miller in 1952, the most effective scenes in “The Crucible” have numerous typical attributes; extremely reliable usage of stage directions, long accumulations of thriller that come crashing down in rumbling climaxes, extreme displays of feeling and an abundance of dramatic irony. The play, set in 1692, is based upon the break out of allegations of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.
Miller composed the play using this 17th-century case (and fictionalising it) to talk about a 20th-century phenomenon– the exposure of presumed communists.
In 17th century Salem the inhabitants feared witchcraft as America feared communism in the 1950’s; and lots of resemblances can be drawn between the events of the 2 durations. Both were overemphasized out of all affordable proportion and each includes communities that display an unreasonable fear of an ill perceived hazard to their stability of life. Certainly, the theme of responsibility that runs throughout the play is mirrored continuously in modern-day society, especially in politics, where those in workplace are often blamed for incidents that are completely beyond their control.
The writing of this play stemmed from Miller’s individual interest in the Salem witch trials and at the time, America remained in the middle of the McCarthy political “Witch Hunt”. Miller himself was called before a committee, and he began to discover a certain resemblance between the two trials, such as ‘calling and shaming’ by people distressed to divert attention from themselves, together with confessions given under duress. This has actually resulted in the play being seen as a political allegory.
At the beginning of act 4 we see symbolic setting and scenery developed through Miller’s smart usage of stage instructions, which in turn, introduces and establishes the tone that will continue throughout the remainder of the play. For instance, the recommendation to “moonlight seeping through the bars” of the dark cell metaphorically recommends to the reader that there is still wish for the wrongly accused sufferers of the witch hunt, the light being a positive aspect in the otherwise bleak environment. This strategy of utilizing light symbolically is revisited later in the scene; “the new sun is gathering”, enhancing the style of significant lighting that is so extremely crucial within the play. It is maybe this expression that finest sums up the strength of relief felt at the end of the ordeal, and stresses the theme of shift and modification, highlighted in particular by the word “brand-new”.
Another way in which Miller effectively develops stress within the play is through the use of apposite props and expressive surroundings, most especially in the jail; “… a high disallowed window, near it, a fantastic, heavy door”. This evokes a strong sense of injustice, in particular the “heavy door” which could be perhaps be viewed as a metaphor for the lack of knowledge displayed by the townspeople of Salem. In addition, we see the play end on a really dramatic note; “The final drumroll crashes, then heightens strongly”, surely emblematic of the last brutal act of the witch-hunt; the violent demise of the hero and completion of the suffering of those persecuted by worry and lack of knowledge.
Significant theatre would be nothing nevertheless, without the powerful characters at the heart of the story, and the depth they bring to it through their emotions and actions. At the very beginning of the scene, we see a representation of the main theme of the story; the helplessness of the villagers against the vicious authority of Danforth, shown by the forcible removal of Tituba and Sarah Good from their cell. The power struggle in between those in office and the commoner draws terrific compassion from the audience and strengthens the cruelty of the entire experience. Certainly, the females’s response to the guards; “We goin’ to Barbados, soon devil gits here …” highlights the villagers’ great superstitious notion around Satan, offering the audience insight into how the circumstance has actually spiraled out of control, and how their worries fuel the fires of hysteria, permitting the injustice of the villagers to continue unabated.