This GCSE English Literature quiz will test you on dialogue in Arthur Miller's The Crucible. All direct speech in literature is termed “dialogue”, although technically, the term means a conversation between at least two people. Dialogue is a significant aspect of characterisation and provides a great deal of information about a character. Paying attention to the style and content of a person’s speech can help you to build up an image of the character. Characters in The Crucible are distinguished in relatively subtle ways by the style and content of their dialogue, with the notable exceptions of Tituba and Sarah Good, whose speech marks them as outsiders.
Ask yourself these questions about dialogue whenever you begin studying a work of fiction: in what manner does the speech of each character differ from that of others?
How and why does vocabulary vary between characters? Do you observe any changes in a character’s dialogue over time, or perhaps in different situations? Does the speech of a particular character differ depending on who is being addressed?
In a play, most factual information will be conveyed through dialogue. Individual characteristics are also developed through speech. In The Crucible most of the action happens off-stage and is reported through characters’ conversations with one another. Speech, in fact, often is the “action” in a world in which invisible powers are believed to have terrible, and concrete, effects.
One very useful way for you to prepare for a literature exam is by memorising dialogue. Create a list for each character of the most significant examples of dialogue, paying extra attention to speech which expresses or develops the themes of the text.
The quiz below asks you to work out who is speaking each of these lines. Consider the significance of the dialogue before answering the questions. What can you know about the type of character who is speaking? Could another character possibly utter similar lines? If so, what does that information tell you about the play and the relationship between those characters?