The characters in The Crucible are constructed to create emotion and empathy. The first character who has the power to evoke emotions is Abigail, who uses people to get herself out of trouble and to gain power. One example of her blaming somebody else is ‘I never called him! Tituba, Tituba… ‘ She also blames several other women of being witches. She says ‘I saw Bridget Bishop with the devil’. Whether she wants to get revenge on these women or if she just uses it for power is unclear.
It is clear however, that the audience is encouraged to feel resentful towards her due to the way she treats others, and blames others to get out of trouble. In Act One, the audience feels empathy for Tituba her Barbadian accent shows that she is an easy target, lacking the social status of the other character. Her accent is shown in ‘I love me Betty! ‘ This may be one of the reasons why she is used as a scapegoat and people such as Reverend Parris and Abigail use her to gain power and respect.
She is most likely used like this because she is seemingly weak in their society and cannot up rise against them. The way she is so frightened only adds to our feelings of empathy for her. Her weakness is drawn metaphorically by the way she ‘looks up into his face’ showing her position in society. She is frightened and desperate by the way ‘she is rocking on her knees, sobbing in terror’ her weakness, desperation and feelings of fear all add to our sorrow and empathy for her.
In the beginning of Act Two there is an uncomfortable silence with an awkward feeling, which evokes different emotions from the previous act. Elizabeth is seems wary of John and constantly tries to impress him. This is shown when she says ‘I hurt my heart out to strip her, poor rabbit’ and ‘I took great care she’s tender? ‘ Her nervousness around him is shown by stage directions such as, ‘it is as though she would speak but cannot’ and we get ‘a sense of their separation’. This makes us sombre at the fact that she really cares and loves John although the feelings may not be mutual.
This also gives us background that is necessary for later emotional intensity at the end of the play. At this stage we are encouraged to feel sympathy for Elizabeth and long for their relationship to work out. John in this scene appears to be aggressive which may aggravate the audience and although he later redeems himself by dying for his wife, it allows the audience to see that he is not perfect, hence making him easier to relate with. The aggressiveness is shown by ‘angering’, ‘with a violent undertone’ and ‘with solemn warning’. He also ‘laughs bitterly’ at her.
Although later in the play we find him to be a highly dignified, thoughtful and caring man in this scene we are led to believe he is not. The beliefs we hold about these characters and our feelings towards them, as well as the characters emotions lead to the overall development of emotional intensity, due to Miller’s use of interesting and thought provoking characters. Miller used many dramatic techniques to increase the emotional intensity at the end of Act One. Firstly, many juxtaposing images throughout the act engage the audience, emphasise emotion and create an overall interesting montage.
In and amongst the constant reporting of witches by Abigail and her allies we see ‘Parris shouting a prayer of thanksgiving’ and in the heated argument between Parris and Tituba, Hale says ‘Look at her god given innocence; her soul so tender. ‘ Juxtaposition is used to allow emotion to be exaggerated at certain times hence making the play as a whole more emotive. Violence and graphic images are utilised many times throughout the Act, firstly when Abigail ‘shaking betty’ shouts at her. Another example is when Putnam says ‘this woman must be hanged!
‘ and when Abigail says ‘she makes me drink blood’ which is emotive and creates hatred towards the characters issuing the violence. At the end of the scene there is rhythm and repetition of ‘I saw’ and ‘with the devil! ‘ These phrases are repeated several times with different names in a hysterical, dramatic way building tension up to the climax, where it is released on ‘the curtain’ going down. It is obvious to the audience how dramatic and hysterical the characters involved are through the stage direction ‘on their ecstatic cries’.
This involvement of the characters is powerful and evokes deep emotion. Through the constant use of dire interrogation techniques, Tituba becomes overwhelmed she is asked so many questions again and again, while being threatened. One example of a repetitive question is ‘who came to you with the devil? Two? Three? Four? How many? ‘ These questions overwhelm her, the audience notice changes in her physicality, an example of this is ‘She raises her eyes’ the audience may find this emotional. Miller uses many literary and dramatic devices in order to achieve emotional intensity at the end of one.