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Here are some examples of silence and gaps from the play The Crucible.
The most obvious structural gaps are between the acts. For example, there is a linear gap between Acts One and Two. When Act One ends, Abigail and Betty accusing multiple women of witchcraft. Act Two begins eight days later at the home of Elizabeth and John Proctor. Over the preceding eight days, the tension has been building in town because of the accusations of witchcraft. Because of this and John's affair with Abigail, the tensions between Elizabeth and John are also heightened.
There are many pauses within the acts as well. In Act Four, Hale makes a final effort to persuade Elizabeth to convince John to confess because it will save his life. Some time has passed and John looks different. He feels defeated. He might want to save his life by confessing but he hesitates to sully his own name, one of the few things he has left. There is a silent pause when he is brought in and when he and Elizabeth first see each other:
A pause. Herrick enters with John Proctor. His wrists are chained. He is another man, bearded, filthy, his eyes misty as though webs had overgrown them. He halts inside the doorway, his eye caught by the sight of Elizabeth. The emotion flowing between them prevents anyone from speaking for an instant.
The Crucible is often performed with Act Two, Scene 2 omitted, but the scene is sandwiched between Elizabeth Proctor's arrest at the end of Act Two and the first court scene in Act Three. It is usually attached as an appendix in published versions, and it is inserted in the 1996 film version for which the playwright, Arthur Miller, wrote the screenplay.
In Act Two, Scene 2, John Proctor arranges to meet Abigail Williams in private in the woods, at night. There are two moments of silence in the scene that are notable. The first:
Proctor enters with a lantern glowing behind him, then halts, holding lantern raised. Abigail appears with a wrap over her nightgown, her hair down. A moment of questioning silence.
In their ensuing conversation, John communicates his determination to clear his wife, Elizabeth, of Abigail's accusation of witchcraft, even if it means ruining both his and Abigail's reputation by confessing to their affair.
The second moment of silence in the scene comes at its end when Abigail exits after she tells John "from yourself I will save you." As the scene ends,
Proctor is left alone, amazed, in terror. Takes up his lantern and slowly exits.
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