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Analyse the techniques used by Miller to present the different aspects of the relationship between John and Elizabeth Proctor

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Introduction

Analyse the techniques used by Miller to present the different aspects of the relationship between John and Elizabeth Proctor Arthur Miller's dramatisation, 'The Crucible' gives us his interpretation of the true events, which took place within a small community in a 17th Century America, which at the time was largely inhabited by Puritans. The play focuses mainly on two Puritans called Elizabeth and John Proctor. John Proctor is a well-respected farmer of his mid-thirties. Miller describes him as a 'kind man of powerful body.' He runs by his own set of morals and therefore is 'not easily led.' He is introduced by a large piece of prose that is precisely set out so that the actor knows exactly how Miller wants the actor who plays John Proctor to act, when he comes on stage. For instance, Miller asks the actor of John Proctor to act with a 'hidden force.' The description is especially acute as he is the main character. However, Miller also introduces some of the other characters in the same way. This may have been because Miller intended it to be read as a book as well as a play. Proctor's power, respect and sometimes fear among the people of Salem is evident instantaneously. As he enters, the first thing he says to Mary Warren is ' I'll show you a great doing on your arse one of these days' subsequently Mary walks out 'trying to retain a shred of dignity.' As well as this the stage directions for the rest of the girls show their excitement at his presence. For instance, directly after Mary's exit Mercy also walks out, 'both afraid of him and strangely titillated.' ...read more.

Middle

However this funeral is everlasting, meaning it shall never be put to rest. From this, the audience can interpret that John feels that Elizabeth is a rather bitter and unforgiving person. Similarly, when Elizabeth says 'the magistrate that sits in your heart judges you,' we can surmise that she feels John may run too much by his own moral standard, and perhaps that he is too hard on himself. It could also be interpreted as a complement, saying that his high moral standards are an attribute. The audience again gets a feel that there is a tension between John and Elizabeth, but this time it's because of their strenuous effort to design an atmosphere which is that of a happy and loving couple, which is clearly failing. The audience obtains this ambience largely from Elizabeth, who answers in short and brisk answers, even when John tries to charm her, by saying things like 'lilacs are the smell of night fall, I think. Massachusetts is a beauty in the spring!.' To which Elizabeth replies 'aye, it is.' This shows her lack of interest and her determination not to forgive John. We again see the contrast of the outdoors and the indoors and John and Elizabeth. Throughout Act 2, we see John as this elemental and earthy person, for example when he says things like 'it's as warm as blood beneath the clods.' He also wants her to walk with him on the farm, again suggesting he wants her to accept him more. One aspect of John and Elizabeth's relationship is that because of the tension and awkwardness in their relationship, they might not be as easy around each other and not know each other as well as a couple who had been together for three years and have had three children. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another clue of their recently established, fierce love is that there is a complete passage where it's just John and Elizabeth talking, even though there are still four people in the room. This shows just how severe their love is, as it's so strong that other people back off and stop talking. This is illustrated in the stage directions 'The emotion flowing between them prevents anyone from speaking for an instant. The two are almost captivated in their own world.' By the end of the play, the Proctors relationship is far more balanced, as we have seen the transformation in John, from being someone who sees himself through how he thinks Elizabeth views him and regards 'himself as a kind of fraud' as he was described in Act 1, to a person who judges himself by his own conscience. For instance, he first wanted Elizabeth to be his conscience and he wanted her to say that it's all right to confess this is verified when he says 'would you give them such a lie? Say it.' However, presently John rips up the confession, finally realizing that it's how he views himself that's important and not Elizabeth and therefore no longer needs her as his conscience. If he had perhaps realized this earlier on in the play, then he would have been able to forgive himself for his sin of disloyalty. Ergo, the tension is taken off of both sides of the relationship. We can tell how much the whole traumatic experience has brought John and Elizabeth together, as Abby is not mentioned at all. This shows how much at one they are with each other and how much that John's sin is no longer a barrier between them. ...read more.

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