Tension and drama

Tension and drama is then built up again slightly later on in the act when John Proctor enters the courthouse with Mary Warren, this is on the matter of the needle and the poppet. Proctor states that Mary “Never saw no spirits”, this line is met by great surprise by Danforth, he thinks for a moment and says to Mary “How came you to cry out people for sending their spirits”. Danforth is beginning to get suspicious, as is the reader or viewer because people’s statements are contradicting others. Mary Warren responds “It were pretence sir”, this is met by Danforth, who is baffled.

Danforth is unsure whether this is the truth and asks Proctor whether he knows what he is going through to protect his wife. The tension and anxiety here, is all psychological, it takes the understanding of the rest of the story to come to your own conclusions. The tension is not presented to you on stage, or in the text, but through what and how it is said. Arguably, the time when most tension is apparent is when Abigail and other girls become fixed in a trance, repeating exactly what the members of the court (Hale, Danforth, Cheever etc. ) say. Mary Warren – “Abby, you mustn’t”, and Abigail and the other girls, transfixed say

“Abby, you mustn’t”. This goes on for a good few lines. The tension is here is gigantic, the audience and reader are engrossed by what is going on. The anxiety of this event is too much for Mary Warren, she begins to whimper, as do the rest of the girls, mocking her. But this extremely powerful scene of emotion has not finished, far from it. The girls in their `trance’ have overcome Mary’s sentiment and Mary begins to scream with them, staring up at the `bird’ in the sky as the other girls had done earlier. John Proctor, still in the room is understandably mystified by what is going on.

The pace of the scene is frantic; there is no control over what is happening. The tension is then taken up another level when Mary says to John, “You’re the devil’s man! ” John is mortified at what has just been said, Mary has changed her mind of what she was going to say in court, and instead, she has accused her master of witchcraft. Mary follows this up and says “My name, he want my name `I’ll murder you’ he says, `if my wife hang! We must go and overthrow the court,’ he says”. By saying this Mary has indicted the charge of conspiracy to murder upon John. However, Mary still says she loves God, and she feels she has done the right thing in telling the judge this.

The pace of this part of the scene is hysterical, all characters have been come over with extreme emotion and people seem to say what they please. But, knowing Arthur Miller, this is not the end of the scene. It ends on the slight cliff-hanger of John Proctor being arrested and the Reverend John Hale quitting the court. Miller has used such a technique that makes the scene so dramatic that you feel you have to read on. In my opinion, Arthur Miller goes beyond what is needed to make `The Crucible’ a very entertaining and dramatic play. Miller has made sure that there is something interesting for everyone to observe and read.

By setting the play in 1692, with the communism and anxiety, it is easy to relate the story to modern day events. Although, looking at the story two-dimensionally portrays the events in Salem itself, whereas, looking at it 3-dimensionally will make you aware that Miller has purposely used events that he feels would plague the modern era but in a historical context. All in all, the drama in the play and with human emotions, anxiety, fear and other characteristics thrown into the melting pot that is `The Crucible’, it makes out for a fascinating tale of how human emotions and thoughts can get the better of others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *