This sample essay on Now Hell And Heaven Grapple provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
Going to the theatre is both an intimate and exciting experience for the audience. It creates a tense atmosphere by having the action so close to you. The theatre offers a completely different experience than sitting alone with a book. At the theatre you are sharing your experience, atmosphere and emotion with everyone around you.
When you’re reading a book you have to use your imagination and make up images about the characters in your head. You may feel closer to the characters whilst reading a book but in a theatre you are physically closer to the characters, which adds to the reality of the situation.
I think that the way a theatre production happens in a short amount of time makes it a lot more dramatic than a book, which is spread out, and you can put it down whenever you want.
At the theatre you feel more part of the drama than if you were reading a book. This is because you are a witness to all the events and if you know something that a character doesn’t you feel involved. Theatre therefore creates such a tense and emotional atmosphere because of the live actors and reality of the performance. Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, illustrates how people react to hysteria created by one person or a group of people.
This happened during the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s and the Salem witch-hunts of 1692. In the McCarthy hearings many Americans were wrongly accused of being Communist sympathizers. The activities of the House of Un-American Activities Committee began to be linked with the witchcraft trials that had taken place in the town of Salem. This provided Miller with the catalyst to write ‘The Crucible’. Without the knowledge of the McCarthy hearings and the Salem witch hunts, The Crucible may be seen as a melodrama and the events in the play, sensationalized.
It is not a melodrama because it is actually not overly dramatic; the McCarthy hearings and the witch-hunts inject realism in the play. The play deals with historical events and with characters that have a historical context. The Crucible is based upon the happenings of the witch-hunts in Salem. The Salem community was made up of Puritans who had emigrated from England to escape persecution for their religious beliefs in 1620. The community was insular living by it’s own rules and regulations.
Being Puritans they were very church loving and against the devil and ungodly acts such as dancing. The village was tightly knit, everyone knew each other and social status was very important. Arguments were common in such a claustrophobic environment. A community living in a puritan society like Salem could easily fall into a chaotic state and have great difficulties dealing with what they considered to be the worst form of evil. In the strong Puritan community, young males and females weren’t allowed normal social interaction, which consequently often led to sexual tension and jealousy.
Superficially, Salem’s society seems to be one of ‘belonging’ in that everyone shares the same values and religious beliefs, and complies by the rules; but the fact that Proctor and Abigail have an affair shows that this is not always the case. Abigail’s speech – ‘I know how you clutched my back behind your house and sweated like a stallion whenever I came near’ – is highly dramatic in its animalistic imagery. Abigail presents herself to Proctor as the object of his desires. She uses language in an attempt to arouse Proctor to be drawn to her again.
Abigail and Proctor’s relationship has a big effect on Elizabeth and Proctor’s relationship. At the end, Elizabeth is in the moving situation of performing an act that allows her husband to choose death: ‘Only be sure of this, for I know it now: Whatever you will do, it is a good man does it’. The key word is ‘now’ because it tells us that there was a time when she doubted his goodness. Their love is what they belong to. We also become aware of Thomas Putnam’s desire to acquire more land. Both Giles Corey and John Proctor mention that the Putnams had a habit of claiming land that didn’t belong to them.
We also know that the Putnams blame Goody Osburn, Mrs Putnam’s midwife, for all their stillborn children. Looking for someone other than themselves to blame for these dead children, they point their finger at her for murdering their children: ‘I begged him not to call Osburn because I feared her. My babies always shriveled in her hands! ‘ This shows how determined Mrs Putnam was to put the blame on witchcraft. This quote came in Act 1 just after Tituba had named Goody Osburn and three others accusing them of coming with her to the Devil. Another heated relationship is John Proctor and Reverend Parris’s.
Proctor dislikes Parris since he sees the Reverend as a greedy, ungodly man. For example, Parris complains of low salary. The Crucible is structured in four acts. Each act begins with low tension, then rises to a climax by the end of the act. For example at the beginning of Act Two there is a calm discussion between John and Elizabeth Proctor. The tension then starts to rise as Mary Warren gets back from court and angers John Proctor. The tension continues to rise as fingers are pointed and accusations made. The scene ends with Innocent Elizabeth Proctor being dragged off by the officials of the village.
The climax of the scene is Mary Warren hysterically weeping because Proctor demanded that she tell the court how the doll came to be in his house with the needle stuck in it: ‘Proctor (grabbing her by the throat as though he would strangle her): Make your peace with it! Now Hell and Heaven grapple on our backs, and all our old pretence is ripped away – make your peace! ‘ This would make the audience feel Proctor’s anger but also feel slightly sorry for Mary, she is having pressure and blame placed on her by Proctor. At the climax at the end of each act the curtain falls and there is a blackout.
This leaves the audience in a state of shock and frustration and allows them to reflect on and absorb what has just happened. Miller uses a variety of techniques to ensure that tension is not lost and is kept at a peak throughout the play. By using a basic form and structure, The Crucible is easy to follow; it uses the dialogue and pace to aid the building of tension to the ultimate tragic climax of Proctor’s death During The Crucible pace is used as a technique in creating tension. Throughout Act 1, the action is immediate and there is a constant flow of different people being introduced.
By placing this act within a small room, Miller gives the feeling of the characters being suffocated and a lack of privacy in the village. In all four acts the setting is very similar. All the acts take place inside dark, small rooms without a lot of furniture. Throughout the play the settings are dark with a small amount of light ‘seeping’ through the windows. This creates claustrophobic and brooding atmosphere, which makes the audience feel nervous, they are anticipating something sinister from when the scene starts.
Act four is the only act that isn’t set in the daytime, however it is lit, like every scene, by a small amount of light coming through the window but in this scene it is moonlight instead of sunlight: ‘The place is in darkness but for the moonlight seeping through the bars. ‘ At the end of act four the sun rises to represent a new beginning after the highly dramatic end to the play. One of the ways Arthur Miller creates tension is by using dramatic dialogue to show the characters’ increasing hysteria. ‘Proctor (with a cry of his whole soul): Because it is my name! ‘