Essay Analyzing The Crucible's Dramatic Structure

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Analyzing The Crucible’s Dramatic Structure

Aristotle believed that drama and poetry should have an unmistakable beginning, middle, and end. Originally, it was a three-act structure, but in the following years this view of Aristotle’s was expanded to include more divisions in a five-act structure. This new format for drama, known as Freytag’s Pyramid, gives each act a purpose, helping the audience progress from exposition to resolution. Though The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, is only a four act drama, the play can still fit into Freytag’s Pyramid by applying more than one element to an act.

An exposition introduces the characters, setting, and problems that are currently taking place. In Act I of The Crucible, the stage is set in Salem,
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It also begins to elaborate on the themes introduced in the exposition. The rising action typically begins in the second act, but The Crucible is an exception and it begins at the end of Act I, when Betty and Abigail begin accusing women of witchcraft. Act II is when all of the chaos and madness stirs about. The innocent, unwilling to fall to such foolishness, become victims as they are accused by the weak, who are afraid of being accused, or by evil-spirited people seeking revenge. As the accusations progress on through the story, Elizabeth Proctor was accused by Abigail, who was driven by greed. John Proctor, though hesitant at first, was pushed to his limits and admits to the crime of adultery in hopes to save his wife, but that plan was not successful. Now known as a sinner, Proctor faces even more wrath from the court and his peers.

The turning point of the play is known as the climax. It involves a dramatic change and is usually the most intense part of the play. In The Crucible, the turning point occurs at the end of Act III when John Proctor announces that God is dead. His words shocked all of Salem and showed a change from Proctor being a godly man to being one who doubts his own faith. Now at the penalty of being hanged, John Proctor must decide his
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