The crucible has a very interesting structure, as in it doesn’t follow many of the usual rules of play writing and uses it to maximum effect. The play consists of four acts and no scenes to separate them. This is unusual for a play write to do because it limits the acts location two one place, meaning that the story can not develop in a different place or time which can limit what someone can do with the plot The whole of the play is a subtext for what was going on at the time in 1940’s America.
To more precise what was happening with the red scare and general Joseph McCarthy.
General McCarthy was behind the fight against communism within America. In the end he decided to start broadcasting to America a list of communists living in America at the time. Of course no such list existed and it was obviously just the names of random people living America that had nothing to do with communism in any way what so ever.
This however caused mass hysteria and turned an entire nation against itself and pitted friends and neighbours against each other as everyone hunted for the communists like a mad witch hunt.
Arthur Miller was using the subtext to show how obsurd the idea of mass hysteria based on a lie really was. The main thing that distinguishes the plays structure from others is the way in which it ends on an anti climax. As we can see in the graph the first three acts build up to a gigantic climax.
But then suddenly the audience is left with a very short and depressing act four in which nothing much happens in terms of climax. On might interpret this as the play wrights
way of getting across his message about McCarthyism. If people were left with a happy ending the audience may not have been so shocked by the play that it would make them think because everything turned out ok in the end and wouldn’t have communicated the shocking truth about McCarthyism at the time. I believe that having the play leave on an anticlimax and pretty much on a down communicates the views a lot clearer During ‘The Crucible’ pace is used as a technique to creating tension.
Throughout Act 1, the action is immediate and there is a constant flow of different people being introduced. By placing this within a small room, Miller gives the feeling of the characters being suffocated and a lack of privacy in the village. By using this with Act 2 (for the first half there is only Elizabeth and John), Miller is able to create tension through the amount of space in the set, in comparison to the previous act, and through a slower dialogue. During ‘The Crucible’ pace is used as a technique to creating tension.
Throughout Act 1, the action is immediate and there is a constant flow of different people being introduced. By placing this within a small room, Miller gives the feeling of the characters being suffocated and a lack of privacy in the village. By using this with Act 2 (for the first half there is only Elizabeth and John), Miller is able to create tension through the amount of space in the set, in comparison to the previous act, and through a slower dialogue.
Miller structures the play using prevalent techniques. There is a clear exposition at the beginning of Act 1, although it occurred off scene, the girls dance in the forest. The different themes are developed and the use of the rising of action through the accusations helps the plot to grow up to a gigantic climax when John Proctor is accused at the end of Act 3. The falling action and denouement is the actual execution where John Proctor upholds his innocence and goes to the gallows at the end of Act 4.
Miller uses these techniques to help create conflict to arouse the interest of the audience and an easy structure for the audience to follow. Arthur Miller uses inserted passages within the text in which he comments on the background of the story or the characters which helps the audience to get a deeper insight into the characters so they can be related to. For example, The backgrounds to Thomas Putnam makes his actions seem more horrendous which ultimately the final result of the play seem more brutal.