Arthur Miller’s Play, “The Crucible” is a story where events are carefully organized by the playwright in order to show how a situation can be worked out. In Act 3, we come across a situation, where the plot reaches its climax. In Act 3, we find characters of the plot or people have to face this situation, since the people in the plot are good or bad, clever, likeable or unlikeable. But we find the characters change a lot in Act 3. In Act 3, we find all the loose ends of the plot are tied. All the unsolved points are explained.
Act 3 has the most dramatic element of the whole plot, it consists of constant rising of suspense, whether the characters are guilty or not. In Act 3 the dramatist is trying to show how the rich people of Salem can manipulate the less fortunate. The dramatist also tells us through his play that the 17th Century was an era of a strong belief in supernatural, etc. So even the authority in power, were very cautious of dealing with anyone who threatened them. The Play’s issues and concerns are shown through dramatic devices and effects as played by characters in the plot.
Act 3 is played in the meetinghouse vestry, which is also used as the General Court. In the Courtroom, we are presented with a strong case of struggle between superstition and reason. The opening of the Act 3 is based in the General Court. Judge Hathorne can be heard questioning Martha Corey, who denies hurting the children. Miller has also used a very powerful dramatic effect, when the Act 3 opens, the curtain rises, the room is shown empty, but for sunlight pouring through two high windows in the black wall.
The room seem solemn, even forbidding, when all of a sudden Giles voice comes roaring, ” I have evidence for the Court, Thomas Putnam… Land”. Giles dramatic entrance grabs the interest of audience. While Giles is ignored as he is a poor farmer. Though Giles Corey cry of “Thomas Putnam is reaching out… Land” is a clear example of the cry of people who have suffered under law and are oppressed. Giles is removed from Courtroom by Herrick. Superstition element in the play is revealed when Giles think his wife has been arrested because he said she read strange books.
Following this, Proctor enters with Mary Warren, who cannot bring herself look at anyone in the room, claiming she is sick. She speaks about witchcraft and saying it was all pretence. Mary Warren, “I cannot lie no more, I am with God, I am with God”. It appears now that Judges don’t really want to listen to Mary, but only want her to change her mind. Abigail and girls are brought in. Another example of dramatic effect when in Court, Danforth says to Abigail “that a poppet was discovered in Mr Proctor’s house, stabbed by a needle”. The judge asks how Abigail had witnessed Mary struck her needle into the poppet for safekeeping.
To which Abigail said, “Goody Proctor always kept poppets”. Another dramatic effect when John Proctor confesses about is affair. ” Everything depends on Elizabeth’s evidence. Elizabeth is brought in. Proctor and Abigail hold their breath and Elizabeth answers very hesitantly. Most dramatic part and dramatic Irony used, is when asked by Danforth in Courtroom, “Has he ever threatened you? ” Mary Warren – “No Sir”. Here Mary Warren lies to Danforth as she says Proctor has never threatened her, when he forced her to testify the truth.
Despite Elizabeth’s denial. Hale insists on Proctor’s word being true. Just at the moment, the most dramatic incident happens, Abigail screams and claims that there is a yellow bird on the beam, and that it is attempting to attack her. She speaks to the bird, as if it has been sent by Mary. When Mary tries to stop her. Abigail repeats Mary’s words “Abby, you mustn’t”. Abigail’s power is once more evident as she goes to control the girls psychologically just as much as she did physically in Act 1. The girls soon join Abigail in mimicking Mary.
The girls also flee from the yellow bird they say is attacking. There is a mass hysteria, and Proctor’s attempt to persuade the court that the girls are merely pretending does not works. The dramatist shows the character of Elizabeth, which is full of kindness forgiveness and loyalty, who denies any knowledge of affair between John and Abigail. Proctor’s attempt to persuade the court that the girls are merely pretending, does not works, when Mary cries out “You’re the Devil’s man! ” She further claims that Proctor tried to make her sign the Devil’s book.
Proctor is arrested and accused of being ‘combined with ‘anti-Christ’. Hale denounces the court and leaves with Danforth angrily calling after him. Proctor is put under pressure to confess by the judges when Proctor says, “I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another”, and “They think they can go like saints. I like not to spoil their names”. It means that Proctor knew most of the crimes or sins committed of the characters in the play. But he himself became a martyr and paid up with his life for other people sins.
Act 3 is quite successful in showing the play’s issues and concerns through its use of dramatic devices and effects. Many of the events in “The Crucible” occur because of the oppressive nature of the society in which people lived in the 17th Century. Act 3 takes place in the courtroom and presents us with the life or death struggle between superstition and reason. Hopes are raised and dashed. A crucial point in the drama is reached when John confesses to his adultery to Elizabeth. But it is Mary who denounces John Proctor who is arrested.