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Compare and Contrast the Exchange between Proctor and Abigail in Act 1 with the Scene between Elizabeth and Proctor in Act 2

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Introduction

´╗┐Compare and Contrast the Exchange between Proctor and Abigail in Act 1 with the Scene between Elizabeth and Proctor in Act 2 In ?The Crucible? Miller presents the exchanges as interlinked and as having subtle differences. During the two exchanges Miller creates semantic fields using temperature as the subject. In Act 1 this field focuses on heat to describe the relationship between John Proctor and Abigail. Within the exchange Abigail uses this imagery of heat frequently ?I have a sense for heat? and ?burning in your loneliness?. The words ?heat? and ?burning? create the semantic field and are used to portray the passion and lust that caused the affair. This use of heat also presents their relationship as alive as ?heat? is immediately linked to fire through the use of the word ?burning?. This causes their relationship to be seen as intense and bright like flame in a fire. The images of heat are immediately linked to their affair when Abigail says how he ?sweated like a stallion?. This, ?sweated?, is caused by their desire which is presented by heat during the scene. Miller uses this semantic field to present the relationship between the two characters as uncontrolled and based on carnal desire and lust rather than a relationship based on love which would last. Miller goes further to emphasise this as Abigail says ?You are no wintry man?. ...read more.

Middle

Proctor does not want to offend Elizabeth or make their relationship more awkward so he seasons the stew without telling her. This could be interpreted as the beginning of the tension in Act 2 as the audience would think it unnatural that a married couple do not share their true feelings to one another. The tension is amplified when Elizabeth is presented as being suspicious of Proctor, ?What keeps you so late?, she appears to be insecure and suspicious as to whether he is still having an affair with Abigail. Their relationship is not presented as stable but forced and strained. This causes tension in the audience as they are aware of the underlying issues but here feelings are being suppressed and the audience know that at some point they will have to be released. The biggest increase in tension is caused by the increase in volume. John begins to shout at Elizabeth, ?I?ll not have it!?, the exclamation mark shows this obvious increase in volume. Here, the audience knows that all the emotions that have been suppressed are now being expressed. This is similar to ?the crucible? imagery as their emotions have been ?bubbling? under the surface and have now spilt out. This increase in volume creates the most tension as it is similar to the build up of volume that the audience experienced in Act 1, the audience know that there will soon be climax of tension which will lead to a disaster. ...read more.

Conclusion

During the exchange between Elizabeth and Proctor, the portrayal of their emotions is much more controlled than in the exchange between Proctor and Abigail. The two characters are hesitant and are careful in picking their words. Elizabeth and Proctor seem to be making ?small talk? and exchanging pleasantries. The two characters do not elaborate and act as if they have just met, ?are you well today?? to which Elizabeth replies ?I am?. These short sentences show the simplicity of their exchange and present their relationship as false and acted. Elizabeth and Proctor keep their emotions contained and stay on safe topics to avoid the underlying issues. During the stage directions Miller wrote ?It is as though she would speak but cannot?. This immediately shows her emotions being suppressed as it appears that she cannot move on from Proctor?s betrayal. Elizabeth is hesitant to talk about her feelings or about the problem within their relationship. This is a stark contrast to the previous exchange between Abigail and Proctor as during their exchange their feelings were clearly shown and the issue was tackled directly. Elizabeth continues to control the output of her emotions when John kisses her. Her response to Proctor is minimal and she appears quiet and unresponsive. ?Kisses her. She receives it?, Millers use of short sentences again shows the simplicity of the exchange. The verb ?receives? shows her to be passive as she does not respond to Proctor?s affectionate gesture. This again contrasts to the previous exchange as Abigail immediately responded to any slight indication of affection. ...read more.

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