It is revenge and envy that caused the minor problem to spiral out of control and into suspicion and hysteria, as when John refused Abigail, she became very angry and upset and started to plot to get Elizabeth accused so she will hang, and hopes John will turn to her instead. There are also other characters in the play who want revenge on other characters that have not really done anything wrong for example Goody Putnam, a bitter and twisted woman, wants revenge on Goody Nurse, who was her midwife, as with seven of her babies dead, she wants to know why “I take it on my soul, but who else may surely tell us what person murdered my babies?”, so when the question of witchcraft arises, she thinks it is the explanation, even though the audience know it was natural occurrence that her babies where dead, but even though Rebecca Nurse is known throughout the village as a good and religious person “We have all heard of your great charities in Beverly”.
Revenge makes scene 3 dramatic because it raises the tension, as throughout the play, the village seems to split into two sides, the side with John and Elizabeth Proctor, Giles Corey etc on one side and Abigail and the girls, the Putnam’s, etc on the other. The judges and reverend Hale do not take side, although the judges seem to favour the side of Abigail to avoid looking like they have made a mistake as when Tituba and the girls confessed they believed them when they accused innocent people, and could not put it to one side when they named people in the village who had good names, e.g. Rebecca Nurse, as otherwise it would look suspicious.
While Hale realises the ridiculousness of the situation and at the end quits the court and joins Proctors side as he can not bear to sign another death warrant due to overwhelming guilt. Throughout the play the play we can see him starting to break, as at the start he is ready to do his work and proud of his reputation, although when the situation starts to develop, he becomes doubtful and decides to do some investigating at the Proctors “I note that you are rarely in church on a Sabbath day”. When he learns that Rebecca Nurse is accused he is shocked and we see him starting to side with the others, and in Act 3 we can see the strain of what signing death warrants has done to him “I have signed seventy-two death warrants”, and in the end the guilt overwhelms him as he knows these people are innocent, and by the end of Act 3 he quits the court in anger, so he dose not have to be the one who signs the death warrants.
Act 3 causes us a rollercoaster of emotions, as there is a lot of tension, as we are constantly changing our minds to whether or not Proctor will succeed, which makes act 3 really dramatic, although I personally thought that act 4 was more dramatic because that is when we find out what the characters are really like. I think this is also the most emotional part of the play because of the feelings that are admitted between John and Elizabeth.
At the start the only description we have had of Elizabeth is off Abigail, but think it may be just because Abigail wants John and that is why she describes her in that way. In act 2 we see her as quite a gentle motherly character “Softly singing” to her children which makes us again doubt Abigail’s description, although when we learn that she won’t forgive John and she does not anger, she appears emotion less, and continues that way and does not even cry when she is told he is to be hanged that morning. When they are left to talk she “pours out her heart”, and confesses her love for him, which convinces him to confess as he feels after betraying her he “Cannot mount the gibbet like a saint, for it is fraud”, he feels he is a broken man, which at the start of the act he was “He sits like some great bird”, this is dehumanising him, and makes us pity him and makes us think that he may not have the strength or soul to pull through.
Again Miller raises the tensions here, as we think it’s finally over, but then there is a problem as he doesn’t want to right his name down on paper as it would hurt his pride and his name would be looked down on throughout the village, and decides that his name and pride is more important and he will not allow himself to be used “I am John Proctor! You will not use me!” In the end he feels he could not raise his sons and live with himself knowing he had sold his friends, and so decides to die a hero, and in away was washed of his sins as he was able to die with his pride and good name, which was one of the most important things to him.
The way the stage was set in Act 3 also adds to the drama, as we can see nothing but a light shinning “but for sunlight pouring through two high windows in the back wall”. This could represent many things, like hope, or to say that God is watching over, as religion plays a big part in the play. We can also see no characters on stage, but only hear voices of a trial that is going on and then interrupted by Giles who is then “half carried” into to the room for causing the uproar. The fact that he is crying he has evidence, raises our hopes, as the disruption makes us think the evidence must be good enough to solve the situation.
Miller continues to add to the drama showing Judge Danforth to be wise and fair, but we can not be sure of which side he will take, as although he is respectful towards John etc, he does not want to look like he has been fooled by a group of young girls, so although he appears to consider all the evidence carefully, he always seems to be able to counter it, making us think that something will have to be sacrificed in order to win him over, but when that to does not work, we are left with out hope, which builds up the drama for act 4 as we are unsure of what is going to happen.