Arthur Miller uses the interaction of the characters to create tension by showing the strain on John Proctor and Elizabeth’s relationship. Arthur Miller describes John as ‘another man’, he is ‘filthy, his eyes misty as though webs had overgrown them’, quite contrary to when John Proctor is first introduced in act one. The audience can feel the tension by his change of character and the ‘agony’ he is in. When Elizabeth and John Proctor see each other, the stage directions are: “it is as though they stood in a spinning world”, the feeling was “beyond sorrow, above it”.
This creates a sorrowful scene and makes tension because it sets a very emotional and sad feeling. The stage directions are all emotional and physical demands for the actors playing the roles, which therefore creates dramatic tension. John Proctor is ‘in agony’ and ‘stands as though in physical pain’. There is true emotion between the characters, they are becoming more desperate, and the tension is slowly building up.
John Proctor keeps talking to God, as if to find an answer, “what is John Proctor?
” He is a broken man and the audience do not know which route he will take. ‘Proctor’s feelings for his wife are visibly affected’, Arthur Miller creates tension as the audience can see the character’s innermost thoughts and feelings. The tension is building and building, and throughout the last act Arthur Miller uses drum crashes to symbolise the tension and also to the dramatic climax – Proctor’s decision to die for his cause.
As John Proctor tears up his testimony, he then lifts his wife both physically and mentally, and ‘kisses her with great passion’.
Parris shouts to Elizabeth “Go to him! ” and the audience will still feel tension as they do not know if it is the end until the very last line. “He have his goodness now. God Forbid I take it from him! ” Throughout the play, the audience have a connection with John Proctor. We see the strain he and his wife feel, the way lies and deceit are building up in their usually quiet village, the actions of a normally religious man all leading up to a terrifying climax and eventually the final sacrifice John Proctor takes to save his community.
The audience will almost definitely feel sympathy for John Proctor, as they see him as a person mixed up in desire but also obviously sorry for what he has done. One of the main reasons for the audiences’ compassion is throughout the final act we see that although John Proctor has committed an unpardonable sin against his wife, you can see that when they meet for the final time, Elizabeth has finally forgiven him and their true love shines through for the first time.
The play was filled with various different emotions, sins, politics, forgiveness and morals that altogether made it very real, and the fact that it was based upon genuine proceedings also made it very convincing. I thought the play was a real insight to what religion mixed with power can do to people, and what some of the consequences may entail. I enjoyed ‘The Crucible’ especially because it did not have a predictable ending and Arthur Miller keeps the audience guessing the over all conclusion until the very end of the play.
I also enjoyed it because the overall hero was not completely faultless and his stand against the imploring corruption in his community was an excellent example of how quiet unlikely people can sometimes make the most difference. Arthur Miller uses many ideas as to why John Proctor makes his final decision, and uses character interaction, dialogue and stage directions to convey dramatic tension. The actions of the characters especially show the emotional strain in the last act when finally Proctor shows what a man he actually is.
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