In Act Two, what are the purposes of handling the events of court through narration rather than through dramatic presentation?

Expert Answers
appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One possible reason for this technique is to reiterate the historical nature of the play. In researching the Salem witch trials, Arthur Miller read historical records, including testimonies from the trials themselves. Since the only way for contemporary audiences to learn about the trials is via these historical documents, it makes sense to portray this portion of the play with narration rather than with dialogue. In this way, readers and audiences of the play are reminded that history is relayed through the records created by those present. In this case, the portrayal of the witch trials came from court officials and clergy, both groups that were predisposed to sanction the persecution of the accused.  Narration is a way of communicating that our understanding of history is only made possible by interpreting the records left by those who lived it.