Miller breaks away from main play to provide lengthy descriptions of characters and their past actions.  What does this break in narrative achieve?How does it help us in generating certain...

Miller breaks away from main play to provide lengthy descriptions of characters and their past actions.  What does this break in narrative achieve?

How does it help us in generating certain opinions about the characters and the nature of the trial to follow.

Expert Answers
rshaffer eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miller includes lengthy descriptions of the characters' so that the readers can gain more insight into the characters' motivations for their actions.  For example, it is essential to understand why Mrs. Putnam would send her daughter to do such an anti-Christian act of conjuring the dead.  It also gives the reader a better understanding of why Mrs. Putnam would be seeking revenge upon certain people in the community such as the righteous Rebecca Nurse, who served as Mrs. Putnam's midwife. Not only do the lengthy descriptions tell of the negative motives and problems within the Puritan community, it also helps the reader to establish the credibility of characters such as Rev. Hale.  The information Miller provides in Hale's description is that he was a well-learned man, believing he was doing good.  It is important for Miller to establish for the reader that not all of Salem Village was corrupt and believed in the girls.  Knowing this about Hale, the reader is more aware of Hale's good intentions in the beginning and can easily understand his change of character in the end.  Without inserting these prose passages, the reader would lack crucial information that dialogue in a script cannot portray.  In viewing the play, the audience can pick up on some of the information necessary to understand the characters by seeing their interaction. Without the prose passages, the reader will not fully understand the reasons behind the mass hysteria of Salem Village. 

Read the study guide:
The Crucible

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question