In Act One of The Crucible, you began to see how various events and personalities made the conditions ripe for the witch accusations to occur. Tituba, Abigail, and Betty admit they were in the...
In Act One of The Crucible, you began to see how various events and personalities made the conditions ripe for the witch accusations to occur. Tituba, Abigail, and Betty admit they were in the woods together. Using the details they provide, imagine what Miller might have written about that scene.
Abigail admits to the Reverend Parris, "Uncle, we did dance; let you tell them I confessed it." The audience knows that some of the girls danced, that Mary Warren stood to the side and watched them, and that Mercy Lewis was naked. There was a pot over a fire, and Miller might have had the girls following Tituba's lead in moving their bodies in a traditional West African rhythmic dance around it. Abigail also confesses, when Reverend Hale questions her, that a frog ended up in the cauldron, and Miller could show Abigail or one of the other girls tossing it in. Tituba confesses to conjuring the spirits of the Putnam infants, and Miller could describe her chanting and moving her body in a ritual as she summons them back from the dead. Abigail tells Hale that it was Tituba who summoned the devil, and both Abigail and Parris describe Tituba speaking "gibberish," screeching, and singing island songs. Barbados's religious traditions before the arrival of Christianity were like those of West Africa, and Tituba's belief in spirits and magic could look very natural for her and quite exotic contrasted with the repressive religious traditions the girls of Salem were steeped in: a capella and unison singing of psalms and long sermons that allowed no interaction.
Betty reminds Abigail that "You drank blood, Abby, you drank blood!" in the woods the night before, and Tituba confesses to Hale and Parris: "chicken blood, I give she chicken blood!" Miller could describe the scene in the woods to include the slaughter of a chicken, which could be strung up and exsanguinated from a tree branch as the girls look on in thrall.
I think that a key insight into how Miller envisions both the first act and the entire drama can be seen in his extensive stage directions which end up operating as more of a background into Salem. I think that it comes across that Miller sees Salem as an example of how people in the position of power were able to recognize the opportunity in front of them to seize control and wield it for their own benefits. In the stage directions, Miller details how the people of Salem were convinced of their own authenticity, "lighting the torch" that others were to see. At the same time, Miller speaks of "the predilection for minding other people's business" as well as how children were not permitted to truly be children.
In these examples, Miller is able to see how the conditions were ripe for charismatic individuals to seize the moment for their own benefit. Abigail, if nothing else, is charismatic enough to see how she can generate an entire town's hysteria through the accusations of witchcraft. Miller is able to recognize the disparity between the accusation and the desire to maintain power as a result of making it. In this, Miller is able to view the gap between political rule constructing fear in the body politic and immensely benefiting from it as a result. In this, Miller is able to construct the first act as something in which the scene helps to illuminate this condition of political and social being.
Throughout the Prologue, Miller introduces the setting of the play and provides insight into the nature of Salem's population. Salem is an extremely strict community, where individuals are forced to repress their emotions in order to maintain positive reputations. Holiness is revered, and the citizens believe "they held in their steady hands the candle that would light the world." The wilderness is considered the "Devil's last preserve," and children were expected to be completely obedient. During Act One, Tituba, Abigail, and Betty all admit that they were dancing in the woods together. It is also confirmed that Tituba was speaking in her native dialect to conjure the spirits of Mrs. Putnam's dead children. The audience also learns that Abigail drank blood in order to curse Elizabeth Proctor, and Mercy Lewis was running around naked in the forest. Miller would likely give a description of how uninhibited and free the children felt as they danced around Tituba in the forest. Their sense of liberty and excitement would be palpable as they willingly engaged in the taboo behavior. Abigail's hate for Elizabeth and lust for John Proctor would also be described as she drank the blood. Tituba would experience feelings of control and power as she spoke various incantations. Miller would likely describe Betty as another thrilled participant until Reverend Parris made himself known.