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The Crucible: How is tension created and maintained between John and Elizabeth, and how does their relationship change?

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Introduction

The Crucible: How is tension created and maintained between John and Elizabeth, and how does their relationship change? Miller's roman a clef play is based on the many deaths in 17th century Salem due to false witch accusations but is actually protesting against the McCarthy witch hunts. The McCarthy witch trials were trialling many people for the invisible crime of communism. America was extremely nervous of communism and many people were convicted of this crime, many of them innocent. Arthur Miller himself was accused of being communist and he was even denied a passport to attend the premier of his play in Brussels. Arthur Miller was so concerned and moved that many peoples lives were being ruined for these unjustified punishments, he wrote the Crucible. Miller connected the McCarthy witch hunts with the witch trials in the 17th Century. In both events he saw paranoia turn into complete hysteria as officials dealt out harsh punishments without any cause Within this play Arthur Miller explores how panic can be built up to such a high level and how it can have catastrophic consequences. He also plays on the way young children can be just as cruel and un-compromising at getting what they want as adults. At the beginning everyone believes the girls to be nothing but good people doing what is required of them. However, as the play goes on we can see how their aims are not as pure as they appear to be. We can also see how lust plays a major part in the girls' deceit. It is Abigail's desire for John Proctor that causes so much suffering. Most of all Miller explores the difference of relationships between now and then. ...read more.

Middle

She wants him to do this mainly so that he shows he has no feelings for Abigail. However, John is left much undecided because he does not want to be accused of being a witch and he does not want his wife to be brought into it. Elizabeth takes this as a reluctance to see Abigail as he still has feelings for her. She then questions him and he admits to have been alone with Abigail when she told she lied about working for the devil. John's anger is now rising and he soon starts telling of how he feels he has been treated since the affair. Here the tension at the beginning of the Act is broken as the two start arguing. John starts speaking more freely and speaks in long sentences as he has a lot to say. However, as soon as Mr. Hale enters the room the couple act as though nothing had happened. They obviously don't want anyone to know what is happening but it also means that they want to stay together and that they still love each other and want to show a unified front. The stage directions throughout the scene reinforce the couple's speech, in particular we see John going to kiss Elizabeth which reinforces his desire to please her and we see Elizabeth receiving it but without kissing back. "He gets up, goes to kiss her. She receives it." Here we see Elizabeth mistrusting John on the surface but deep down she still wants to please him. In contrast, soon after, we see Elizabeth turning from him and standing with her back to him. He looks at her and we clearly see their separation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Elizabeth also sees she too has some failings "John I counted myself so poorly made, no honest love could come to me! Suspicion kissed you when I did; I never knew how to say my love. It were a cold house I kept." In saying this she shows her forgiveness toward John as she acknowledges his affair was partly her fault. We can know see the two have put their troubles behind them and it is clear that they both love each other "he lifts her, and kisses her now with great passion" The play teaches us, Miller thinks that to be open and say what is on your mind is very important in a relationship. In Act II both have been struggling to live together for six months because neither will say what is on their mind. Elizabeth won't trust John because she has not brought the affair up and asked him to prove himself. John kept his feelings that Elizabeth was being too harsh bottled up and finally at the end of Act II they confront each other and say what is on their mind. This eventually brings about their reunion and renews their trust in each other by the end of the play. Unfortunately for the pair this was too late. If it had been brought up earlier Elizabeth could well have told the truth in the court room as she would not have felt the need to show her loyalty to John. We also see in the play many connections to the McCarthy witch hunts. We see how he believes the political climate to be pervaded with deceit as with Abigail's lies to the court. Also by making John die at the end he shows how much suffering can be caused by false charges. English Crucible Essay 1 Kieran Fox ...read more.

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