Creating Tension in Act 2 of The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller's play The Crucible is set in Salem in 1692. At that
time there was a lot of tension, as many people were being accused of
witchcraft and being against God. In the play Miller shows how the
accusations affected everyone in Salem.
Miller creates a sense of tension by setting the scene in a "low, dark
room." This room is quiet and gloomy as very little light is getting
in. Miller does this to create an atmosphere which is unhappy and
depressing. The tension is already high as the scene before ended with
satanic accusations. The room is bare, which is unwelcoming, and it
seems unlived in as nothing is out of place. Miller uses the scenery
to bring atmosphere to the stage before the characters enter, he also
uses the bareness to get the audience to focus purely on the actors
and the dialogue.
The stage directions show how John and Elizabeth act when they are
around each other, for example "a sense of their separation arises".
Here we can see that even though they are married they seem very
alone, the cause of this is due to their different personalities. "She
doesn't want friction, and yet she must". Elizabeth dislikes the way
John treats her. She also is upset with him as in previous scenes we
see that he has had an affair with Abigail. Miller uses the affair and
the fact that John is keeping secrets about the background to
accusations, to build a sense of conflict between Elizabeth and John.
The language used is from the period the play is set in, the 1600's.
The dialogue in this scene, begins quite softly but becomes harsh, as
Elizabeth and John argue at the climax of the scene. When Elizabeth
and John converse they begin politely as if they are trying to be
nice, but both characters seem tense when they are talking. John
addresses his wife as "Elizabeth" when being affectionate, but this
changes to "woman" as the tension rises. Elizabeth appears to be
suspicious of John, we see this when John tells Elizabeth that he was
alone with Abigail. This builds up most of the tension in the scene.
Miller has done this to show how upset the character is. We can see
this in the way Miller makes the character...