Explain how the tension within Arthur Miller's The Crucible affect the enjoyment and understanding of the audience.

Expert Answers
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is clear that this is a very dramatic play, and we can see the way in which Miller deliberately raises the tension at key moments, for example at the end of each scene, to increase the emotional involvement of the audience. I don't know if it helps increase our "enjoyment" of the play, as this is a rather exhausting, rollercoaster of a ride, but it does certainly show us precisely what is at stake in this strange world where it suddenly becomes logical to pretend to be a witch in order to save your own life.

You might want to examine any of the endings of the various Acts in order to look at this further. For example, at the end of Act II, after Elizabeth has been taken off in chains, Proctor uses the following words to address Mary Warren as he assures her that she will testify against Abigail and the other girls:

Make your peace with it! Now Hell and Heaven grapple on our backs, and all our old pretense is ripped away--make your peace!

Such a critical and crucial assessment of what is really happening at this time greatly increases the tension of the play and helps the audience understand that what is really going on is something much more significant than just a few people being accused by some foolish girls. We are being confronted with evil.

Read the study guide:
The Crucible

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question