In act one of ‘The Crucible’ Arthur Miller uses many dramatic techniques in order to emphasize the events that he is describing and to suggest there relevance to us today. One technique that he often uses is that he stops the main dialogue and has an intermission which is almost always entirely factual. These intermissions often describe different characters or events that are happening in the play. They serve a number of purposes, first of all to set the scene and to give you an idea of what these people are like and their background.
For example on page 22 there is an intermission describing John Putnam describing why he has such a vindictive nature and why he is the one to lay down most of the accusations. Also at the beginning before the dialogue has started there is a long passage which describes the village of Salem and Reverend Parris. It’s in this passage where you learn why people want to take Parris away from his pew and thus why he is so wary of pronouncing that there has been witchcraft in his house later on in the play.Order now
As this play is on the surface about a witch hunt the breaks in the dialogue are emphasizing people’s superstitions and show how cautious and suspecting the people of Salem are. It helps explain why these people are so afraid of being called a witch as if they are accused then that’s it and they can’t dig their way out of the hole as people will take denial as an accusation on whoever accused the person in the first place. The second reason why I think he puts in these passages of pure fact is because of the idea that this play is meant to be compared to the spy hunts in America during the cold war.
The purpose of the intermissions in this case is to add credibility to this comparison and to the story of the witch hunt by adding small details about he characters and also by adding dates and events which occurred. For example the opening passage is one full of sates and events which are historical i. e. they occurred which as well as setting the scene makes the story more credible. If there weren’t these intermissions then people would come out of the play thinking that it was simply a good play written by a man with a wild imagination.
They wouldn’t actually believe that the events described were true which of course they are and so wouldn’t understand the story as being very relevant to today’s age which it is as even today people make mistakes in trusting others and so are naturally very mistrustful of other people and nations. What these intermissions do is add credibility to the story as with fact the reader is more likely to understand that these events actually took place.
You could also look at it I he way that if Miller increases credibility with some factual intermissions then the audience are more likely to believe any fiction that he puts on top of the basic fact. This makes him freer as an author to make up some details which will enhance the story and make it more readable. So it’s almost a development of trust between the author and the reader. The author puts in some fact which makes him more able to put in some fiction. A third reason why these intermissions serve an importance is that they suggest to you in a way which characters are going to be important throughout the course of the play.
The characters who have had intermissions have turned out to be playing quite central parts in the play, such as John Proctor on page 27 and Parris right at the beginning. So Miller has also used these intermissions to set out who his main characters will be to the viewer. This is probably because if the viewer knows who is going to become very involved in the play then he or she will know to look at a characters actions and to pay more attention to why the character will urn out to be so important. Characterization is another dramatic technique that Miller employs in the first act.
He uses the actions on the characters and their personalities to stress not only how enclosed and mistrustful the people in this society were but also how they were actually very human. For example with John Proctor we see someone who has made mistakes and has done stupid things like to cheat on his wife with Abigail. However isn’t it normal and human to make mistakes? So although we look at his character and think how badly he has acted and how deceitful he has been we must also realize that we also make bad mistakes even though they might not be quite as bad as the one John Proctor made.