Miller creates interest, tension and intrigue by using the girls to have an effect on the audience. The play opens with Betty lying unconscious in a trance and Abigail enters to tell her uncle of the suspicion of witchcraft, the audience know that spirits were being conjured, or, that is to say, the girls were performing such rituals but as to whether the actions were harmful or not is unknown.
The fact that the audience knows that Parris saw the girls creates a lot of tension and intrigue, the audience asks how he will deal with it, whether he will keep quiet for the girls sakes or whether he will come clean for his conscious. Abigail tries to bully and threaten the other girls into keeping quiet, now giving the audience the chance to draw their own conclusions. It later becomes clear that there was a physical relationship between Proctor and Abigail which Elizabeth found out about, which led to Abigail’s dismissal.
The drama is further increased when information is withheld from us and in doing so Miller again arouses curiosity about the events of the previous night on the audience. Another question that the audience is constantly asking is whether Betty is pretending or not. Once more, we are kept in doubt, Miller wants to audience to enter the spirit of the play to create theatrical tension, this a very theatrical element. Miller keeps our attention focused on the build-up of tension between Proctor and Abigail.
The audience is taken by surprise when the focus on the Proctors turns to the doom of John Proctor and the play is strengthened at the very last minute by Proctors actions. In conclusion, (minus the conclusion drawn from the end of the play due to absence) the play is a ‘roller coaster ride’ of emotions for the audience. Miller takes the audience on this ride by making them experience, hatred, love, confusion and intrigue by using the characters as different tools.
The audience are to have mixed feelings for certain characters, some members of the audience do not like Proctor for his adultery, others give him sympathy come the end of the play in the dramatic finale. The play in its entirety is an oblique comment on the current (1960’s) situation in America, of course, it was not simply that, it has emotions and ‘real’ characters. It is an intricate web of relationships and hidden priorities from each character, which together makes for a complex, but encapsulating play.