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By focusing on three or four scenes, examine Arthur Miller 's presentation of John Proctor's moral journey in the Crucible.

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Introduction

By focusing on three or four scenes, examine Arthur Miller 's presentation of John Proctor's moral journey. A crucible is defined in the dictionary as 'a severe test or trial'. Throughout this play, John Proctor's morals and beliefs are challenged to a great extent as we watch his character develop and admire his strength to do what is right whatever the consequences. A moral journey is the development of someone's morals and beliefs as they are tested by certain situations and react to them in different ways. I wouldn't say it was a mapped out journey, more one that is likely to change without warning. Salem was a very religious and close-knit community. The strict creed meant that its inhabitants lived very monotonous lives and continuously feared doing wrong by God. Many people found they could not live with the pressures forced upon them by the church as religion was preached so vigorously and people were discouraged from forming their own opinion on life. This caused the community to become very repressed. The way everyone reacted to the accusations of witchcraft stem from this. People suddenly became very paranoid of everybody else's actions and also became suspicious that they may be a witch. They also used the right to call somebody a witch as vengeance. ...read more.

Middle

This immediately changes our mood and calms us down in anticipation of a more sombre and serious scene. In this scene dialogue, as well as stage directions, play a very important part in portraying the characters feelings. The stage directions especially help us to interpret how certain lines should be said (as this is a play) and how characters should act. Proctor is not truthful to Elizabeth in this scene. He firstly lies about his interview with Abigail as he feels she won't understand. He tells her that he has been working on the farm in hope that he will sympathise with him. This is part of his moral journey as it shows he is still in denial and feels that time will sort his problems out. He is prolonging the consequences of his actions that he knows one day he'll have to face. Proctor is hiding his feelings from Elizabeth. He wants to be seen as happy but really, he is not. We can see this from Millers dialogue and stage directions. Proctor praises Elizabeth's soup: Proctor: "It's well seasoned" However, as the audience, we know that this is a lie. This is as the stage directions tell us that when Proctor had previously tasted the soup without Elizabeth knowing, he 'is not quite pleased' and so he ' takes a pinch of salt and drops it in the pot'. ...read more.

Conclusion

His name is everything to him and he is not willing to sign it away to a lie. Proctor: "I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" He knows that without his soul or name, there is no point in him living. He then tears the piece of paper up and for the first time sees some goodness in himself. Proctor: "...I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs." This is a turning point in the play as Proctor has done what he feels is right and therefore is at peace with himself. He will now be able to die knowing he has been true and has done what was morally right. To end the play, Elizabeth cries: "He have his goodness now." John Proctor, who at first denied his sins and was scared of facing their consequences, has learnt to accept his guilt and be true to himself and those around him. This has meant he has become a proud and honourable man-the hero of the play. His final actions are indisputably noble, and his previous sins now seem irrelevant. To end this play, Miller once again uses stage directions. He effectively uses the sun to symbolise the purity of his soul that will now be accepted in heaven. Kim Mueller Year11 ...read more.

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