The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, what are the literary techniques in this quote? "Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you... I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!"

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In this scene from act 1, Arthur Miller uses indirect characterization to shape the character of Abigail Williams. Her threat, uttered to Mercy Lewis and Mary Warren at the bedside of Betty, suggests that she is a character who seeks to control others through fear.

Miller employs imagery to add menace to Abigail's threat. The "black" of night connotes darkness, evil, and concealment.

The ambiguity of the words "some terrible night" serves to make Abigail's threat even more worrisome. The intention is to impress upon Mary and Mercy that Abigail is prepared to strike without warning if they give her a reason to do so. She also leaves vague "the other things" the girls did, likely to avoid an outright admission that she was practicing witchcraft. It is only Mercy and Mary who use direct language about the nature of the events in the forest.

Rhetorically speaking, Abigail presents an if/then conditional sentence . Her warning is that if the girls confess and implicate her in wrongdoing, she will be...

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