Following The Reverend Parris’ plea to “cast out the devil” Mary, unsurprisingly, is unable to take the circumstances of being pressured much longer and becomes hysterical. She “screams” and has an “evident fit”. The suspense which has been building during Mary’s questioning has come to a climax and the scene becomes overwhelmed with drama when Mary accuses Proctor of wizardry. Proctor’s reaction to the accusation of being “the Devil’s man” is petrifying, a previously outspoken perhaps even courageous in his attempts to bring justice to the court and free his wife, is “stopped in his tracks” and he becomes “numbed” this illustrates the horror that Proctor faces and the horror that is being faced on stage. Once Mary has turned back to “love God”, she is reached out for by Abigail, who is portrayed to the other characters ironically as charitable.Order now
This perhaps is symbolic of her victory. Miller perhaps uses this for dramatic purpose in order to convey to the audience how the hysteria of Salem has progressed into near insanity. Danforth following this exclaims that he is “combined with anti-Christ” “befouled with Hell” and “keeping a black allegiance” these powerful phrases express his disgust at Proctor and it creates a powerful effect upon the scene.
These accusations against Proctor made by Mary would have been considered horrifying claims in a theocratic society, dramatically increased in severity because Danforth reinstates these claims. Miller’s build up in tension throughout the act leads up to the final most dramatic part of the Act and arguably the play. Proctor’s reply “God is dead!” which relates to his belief that God is not part of Salem anymore especially the court, would have outraged the courtroom in this society and stunned the other characters into silence.
The audience, who must realise the importance of religion within this settlement, would be shocked at Proctor’s courage in making these statements and they would comprehend the magnitude of the implications the statement would have. He makes a final speech declaring his belief that Danforth and the others knows the proceedings are fraud in their “black hearts” and he expresses his contempt “I see his filthy face. And it is yours Danforth.” Similarly to the previous remark this would have had a substantial affect upon both the audience and the other character’s. They are astonished and stunned into silence, all the building up in tension and suspense throughout the Act has leaded up to this final moment and the consequences are incredibly powerful.
In conclusion, Miller manages to create a successful dramatic climax at the end of Act III. Fundamental to this success is Miller’s involvement with the audience, throughout the escalation of tension during the act Miller has been able to captivate the audience by the use of moments with drama, tension and suspense. Another way he achieved the involvement of the audience was making them feel emotionally so strongly towards certain characters, perhaps empathy for Mary Warren or hatred towards Abigail Williams. An additional method Miller employs to interest the audience is by manipulating the historical and social context. To appeal intellectually to the audience of the play Miler, in particular the contemporary audience, Miller’s underlying message is to illustrate the absurdity of McCarthyism by comparing it to the Salem witch-hunt.
The engagement of the audience is crucial to the dramatic success of the whole play; this is because the drama occurring on stage at the climax of the play would be completely irrelevant if the audience were not motivated during the Act. The historical setting of the text itself is crucial to the dramatic success at the end of Act III. The context of a theocratic society greatly impacts upon the entire play, it adds to the hysteria, drama and ultimately the frustration of the audience. This is illustrated by all the main scenes within Act III involving religion such as Abigail’s vision of Mary Warren sending her spirit upon her and the accusation of Proctor’s dealing with the devil by Mary.
In my opinion, I think that the theocracy is a major factor contributing to the dramatic success of the climax; it is the reason why Proctor’s exclamation of “God is dead” is so powerful. Finally, to conclude, Miller’s creation of a dramatically successful climax is based upon the importance of involvement with the audience and Miller’s implementation of social and historical context in ‘The Crucible”