To start, lets think about some useful literary terms that you can use when writing about The Crucible:


A story that has two different meanings, sometimes with a moral attachment.

In The Crucible? There is a parallel between the witch trials of Salem and the anti-communist sentiment of 1950s USA.


Mood or feelings created by language, action or setting.

In The Crucible? Suspicion and claustrophobia in the tightly controlled, religious community.


Everyday speech often particular to a region.

In The Crucible? The letter ‘G’ is often dropped from the end of words “whippin'”, “searchin'”.

Double Negatives

Non-standard form, using two negatives, when only one is needed. Represents an older English.

In The Crucible? “I don’t compact with no devil”


Straying from normal word order in a sentence

In The Crucible? “I know not what I have said”


Likening on thing to another

In The Crucible? “I have made a bell of my honour! I have rung the doom of my good name!”

Religious Language

References to God, Christianity and The Bible

In The Crucible? “Praise God!” “Do you know your Commandments?” “the crowd will part like the sea for Israel”


Likening one thing to another using ‘like’ or ‘as’

In The Crucible? “Put out like the cat”

Extract Analysis

Use the extract below, from Act 3, to find examples of some of these literary terms;

PROCTOR: Mary, tell the Governor what they – [He has hardly got a word out, when, seeing him coming for her, she rushes out of his reach, screaming in horror.]

MARY WARREN: Don’t touch me – don’t touch me! [At which the girls halt at the door.]

PROCTOR: [Astonished]: Mary!

MARY WARREN [Pointing at PROCTOR]: You’re the Devil’s man! [He is stopped in his track.]

PARRIS: Praise God!

GIRLS: Praise God!

PROCTOR: [Numbed]: Mary, how – ?

MARY WARREN: I’ll not hang with you! I love God, I love God.

DANFORTH: [To MARY]: He bid you do the Devil’s work?

MARY WARREN: [Hysterically, indicating PROCTOR]: He come at me by night and every day to sign, to sign, to –

DANFORTH: Sign what?

PARRIS: The Devil’s book? He come with a book?

MARY WARREN: [Hysterically, pointing at PROCTOR, fearful of him]: My name, he want my name. ‘I’ll murder you’, he says, ‘if my wife hangs! We must go and overthrow the court’, he says!

[DANFORTH’S head jerks toward PROCTOR, shock and horror in his face.]

PROCTOR: [turning, appealing to HALE]: Mr Hale!

MARY WARREN [her sobs beginning]: He wake me every night, his eyes were like coals and his fingers claw my nick, and I sign, I sign….

HALE: Excellency, this child’s gone wild!

PROCTOR [as DANFORTH’S wide yes pour on him]: Mary, Mary!

MARY WARREN [screaming at him]: No I love God; I go your way no more. I love God. [Sobbing, she rushes to ABIGAIL]. Abby, Abby, I’ll never hurt you more!

[They all watch, as ABIGAIL, out of her infinite charity, reaches out and draws the sobbing MARY to her, and then looks up to DANFORTH.]

DANFORTH [to PROCTOR]: What are you? [PROCTOR is beyond speech in his anger.] You are combined with anti-Christ, are you not? I have seen your power; you will not deny it! What say you, Mister?

HALE: Excellency –

DANFORTH: I will have nothing from you, Mr Hale! [To PROCTOR] Will you confess yourself befouled with Hell, or do you keep that black allegiance yet? What say you?

PROCTOR: [his mind wild, breathless]: I say – I say – God is dead!

PARRIS: Hear it, hear it!

PROCTOR: [laughs insanely, then]: A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men our of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you known in all your black hearts that this be fraud – God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!

DANFORTH: Marshall! Take him and Corey with him to the jail!

HALE [starting across to the door]: I denounce these proceedings!

PROCTOR: You are pulling Heaven down and raising up a whore!

HALE: I denounce these proceedings, I quit this court! [He slams the door to the outside behind him.]

DANFORTH: [calling to him in a fury]: Mr Hale! Mr Hale!


Using three different examples of Miller’s language techniques, write a mini essay (with three developed PEE paragraphs) to explain the effect of language choices; how they develop character, ideas and themes.


Comment on Miller’s use of stage directions in this extract, highlighting what they reveal about the characters personality and feelings, the author’s intentions and the audience response to them.