Explore Arthur Miller’s use of the stage directions in Act 1 of The Crucible to create drama and inform the audience about the nature of the society in Salem The Crucible is a play written in the early 1950’s based on the truth of the accusations and trials of witchcraft in Salem around 1692. The main story line of the Crucible concentrates on a group of girls who are believed to have had an encounter with witchcraft.
People of Salem were unable to find any evidence of medical illness, which these days we may class as ‘psychosomatic’, so they had no other option but to blame the dramatic change of behaviour of these girls on the Devil or Satan.
This led to trials and convictions, hanging and jail sentences. Miller used real data and facts, from past convictions and court records to create characters based on the actual events. He admits however that very little was known of the characters; “They may therefore be taken as creations of my own, drawn to the best of my ability in conformity with their known behaviour”.
In The Crucible, Arthur Miller uses drama to capture the audience in an exciting play based on witchcraft and lies. Although history tells us that the events and the people were real, he develops and manipulates the facts and characters to suit his interpretation of events. Miller uses stage directions to set the scene; he describes the tone of voice as being either loud or quiet to reflect the characters personality or emotion, such as calm, despair, anger, fear etc.
Miller is able to manipulate the audience by setting these scenes giving the story a highly charged emotional feel to it.
The sets and costumes are used to depict the 1600’s and the attitudes and beliefs of the Puritans. Miller leads us to believe with his descriptions that this was a simple life style and any type of luxuries would be seen as sinful. The direction is excellent in the way it describes the characters tone of voice, the screaming, the shouting and the rising panic as the story progresses. To fully understand the story, it is important to have knowledge of the social and historical context.