In the opening of the play, how does Miller seek to create an atmosphere of hysteria and tension? Is the opening effective?

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appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The beginn ing of the play portrays a secene of worrying and fear, when Betty Parris is shown bedridden, having had frightening fits and symptoms that are attributed to her being bewitched. The young girls, Betty's friends, who have been playing at black magic with Tituba, a slave from Barbados, are behaving in a secretive and agitated manner, since they are afraid they may be blamed for Betty's condition. Their activities with Titube are forbidden and they are worried about being caught. Ironically, instead of being punished for disobeying or sneaking out late at night, they become key witnesses and court officials in the trials of the townspeople accused of witchcraft.

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The Crucible

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