Ironies In The Crucible Essay

Summary: Essay discusses the verbal and dramatic ironies in "The Crucible by Arthur Miller.


In the crucible, there are some dramatic and verbal ironies. The dramatic and verbal irony arises when things are not what they seem. Dramatic irony is when there is contradiction between what a character thinks and what the audience knows to be true. Verbal irony is when a character says one thing but means something quite different. These instances of irony help to build a dramatic tension.

Some examples of verbal irony are in Act III. First, Proctor hands Danforth a testament that some people signed declaring their good opinion of Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey and Proctors wife, Elizabeth. Proctor said,."..sir- they've known the women many years and never saw no sign they had dealings with the devil." This testament was supposed to help the women get out of jail. Second, Mary Warren is telling the court that everything was pretense, which caused the other girls to...

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In The Crucible, Arthur Miller uses situational, verbal, and dramatic irony as a way to demonstrate how the lies about witchcraft turned into chaos in just a short time in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. The accusations of witchcraft that led to the witch trials, resulted in 27 people convicted, 19 people hanged, and one man crushed to death in just 8 months.
Situational irony is used in the play very often because what actually happens, is completely the opposite of what is expected. When John Proctor is asked what the ten commandments are, the one he forgets is adultery. It's ironic because John Proctor loves his wife, and he cares for his reputation yet he puts himself at risk with Abigail. John Proctor approaches Ezeikiel Cheever in the situation involving his wife thinking that he is on his side. Although sitauational irony is frequently used,
Throughout the play, verbal irony is used because what is said, is different than what is meant. Before Rebecca Nurse was being hanged, she said “I’ve had no breakfast.” In saying this, she didn’t really mean that she hadn’t had any breakfast. Instead, she meant that she wasn’t ready to be hung. In the Puritan religion, they believe that “children should be seen not heard” yet, that’s how the accusations of witchcraft were started. In the beginning of Act One, Parris says, “There is a party in the church. I am not blind; there is a faction and a party.” With verbal irony, Miller also used dramatic irony as a way to show how the lies about witchcraft impacted Salem.
Dramatic irony, is used when the audience knows something that the characters in the play do not. John Proctor says his wife is honest but when she is in the court room and is asked about her husband, she lies to protect him, not knowing that he already confessed. When the girls are in the court room, they are hysteric about the birds and we know that they are lying about being bewitched in general. Danforth says, “If that document is a lie, I will not...

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