How Does Miller Create Tension Using Antithesis

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How does Millar create Tension in Act One? Before the play begins the audience has preconceptions about what life in a Puritan society should be like. We believe the society to be firmly rooted to their religious and moral beliefs. We also believe that their leader, in this case their Reverend, should hold control and be the natural head of authority, However, during The Crucible, Miller contrasts these preconceptions to build tension from the beginning. The first character we are introduced to is Reverend Parris who is supposed to be the head of authority in a religious society and therefore is supposed to be in control at all times. However, when we are first introduced to Parris he is described as having “a sense of his confusion hangs about him.” The word “confusion” contrasts with our preconceptions immediately as when you’re the head of authority it is assumed that you know how to handle all situations. This sets us slightly uneasy as it portrays that there is a serious issue occurring that even the head of authority cannot handle. These contrasts continue when Reverend Parris is described as “ He is overcome with sobs”. This portrays Parris as having completely lost control as the word “overcome” implies that he has been beaten by whatever issue there is. Parris being presented as sobbing is another powerful image as it implies that he desperate. This is also a stark contrast to our anticipations because we would believe that he would be confident and contained, whereas, this behaviour presents him as having an emotional breakdown and as though he cannot remain in control of himself. This also creates tension as after seeing his behaviour we start to believe that this issue is extremely serious and we begin to wonder if the head of authority cannot resolve the issue then who can. Miller continues to present Parris as the antithesis to our expectations

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