The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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How does Miller use irony in the play The Crucible? Explain. Support your answer with specific reference to the text.

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Situational irony occurs when an unexpected action takes place that is the exact opposite of what we'd expect to happen. A prime example of this comes when Reverend Hale turns up at the Proctors' place and proceeds to test John's faith by asking him to recite the Ten Commandments.

As John is such a proud, God-fearing man, albeit subject to all-too-human frailties, we might expect him to rattle off all ten without any problems. Embarrassingly, however, he only manages to recite nine, and this is the last thing that we would expect. The one he leaves out is, of course, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." In the irony of ironies, John has forgotten the very commandment that he's broken.

And to make matters worse, Elizabeth, the wronged woman in this sordid love triangle, has to jog John's memory and remind him of the commandment he forgot to recite. This uncomfortable moment tells us a lot about John's character and further reminds us of his adulterous liaison with Abigail Williams. It also...

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