The Crucible Five-Act Structure Essay

Words: 857
Pages: 4

Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that every piece of literature must have a beginning, middle, and end. Aelius Donatus further developed this theory into the three-act structure common today, calling the sections protasis, epitasis, and catastrophe. Famous authors like Shakespeare expanded the original divisions into a five-act structure comprised of an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement. Although it was a four act play, Arthur Miller, author of The Crucible, utilized the five-act structure to further develop his plot. The exposition of a five-act structure introduces the setting, main characters, and conflict of a literary work. The audience gains critical information that is crucial for understanding the …show more content…
Proctor was visibly shaken by this request but eventually signed his name. However, Proctor almost immediately ripped the paper to shreds and did not allow himself to be labeled as a liar nor betray his fellow innocent friends because he wanted to keep his good name. The officials were shocked and asked Elizabeth to plead with him. She refused, simply stating, “He has his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!” John had finally made peace with himself and was now able to face the sins that had haunted him for so long. Proctor’s actions demonstrated that integrity and loyalty should be prioritized by refusing to sign his name to a lie and standing in solidarity with his friends.
The Crucible easily fits the model of a Shakespearean five-act structure despite having only four acts. Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible as an allegory for the Red Scare of the 1950s during which Senator Joseph McCarthy wrongfully accused many people of being communists. Just like the unethical witch hunts featured in The Crucible, suspected communists were punished and given no opportunity to proclaim their innocence. In both cases, mass paranoia allowed justice to spiral out of