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Consider the relationship between John Proctor and Abigail Williams and how Arthur Miller presents it to an audience.

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Introduction

Consider the relationship between John Proctor and Abigail Williams and how Arthur Miller presents it to an audience. Arthur Miller wrote the play "The Crucible" in 1953. He wrote the play as a response to his own experiences in the witch-hunt, which were concerned with anti-Capitalist Pro-Communist accusations. Miller himself was accused of anti-American activities. He wrote the play set in an area of Massachusetts called Salem in 1692 where some adolescent girls were dabbling in the supernatural and the jails were eventually filled with men and women accused of witchcraft and twenty people were hanged. The inhabitants of Salem were rigid in their interpretation of the Bible, believing in witches and the Devil. They believed also that the Bible instructed them that witches must be hanged. John Proctor is the central character in the play. He is the husband of a good Puritan woman, Elizabeth, and is the lover of a young girl in the town, Abigail. She was employed in John Proctor's household as a maid. When we first meet John Proctor, we are given a powerful description of him. He is described as a man in his mid-thirties, powerful of body and even tempered. ...read more.

Middle

"Then go and see her and tell her that she's a whore. Whatever promise she may sense, break it, John, break it." She sees that Abigail is the villain. The whole charade is all about Abigail wanting to have John and she will stop at nothing to achieve her end. Elizabeth is wise in her commanding John to do her bidding but we, the audience, sense her sense of desolation at her situation. On one hand, she wishes to prevent her husband having any more to do with Abigail, but, on the other, if she does not make him face her and show that he recognises Abigail's intentions, she, Elizabeth, may die. Later on in the Act, Cheever arrives at the Proctor's house with a warrant for the arrest of Elizabeth. It appears that Abigail Williams has charged her with conspiring with the Devil. He comes looking for poppets (dolls). "So will you hand me any poppets that your wife may keep here." The doll, of course, is used in black magic, representative of another being. A doll is found with a needle attached to it. It turns out to be the poppet of their servant, Mary. ...read more.

Conclusion

She knows that she will face death but she lies to protect him. Proctor realises all that he has lost and all that was his own fault. Proctor should be presented as a broken man and his wife as submissive, having all hope taken away from her. Abigail still has the power. She is a commanding presence. In Act 4, Abigail runs away from Salem. The situation has out grown her and so she does what we would expect such a shallow person to do, run away. John is hung after he and Elizabeth become close again and say they're sorry. Hale wants John to confess to his lie, which he will not. Elizabeth understands her husband. He is a good, honest man and should be remembered as one. He must have his name. She recognises his needs to be honourable. Abigail is without doubt the villain of the play. John is the hero. Despite the fact that John is hanged at the end of the play, we respect him and admire him. He has made serious mistakes, but he never falters when he is presented with what is right. Elizabeth too never falters whereas Abigail makes mistakes and compounds these mistakes and allows other people to die for her selfishness. Then, at the end of the play, she runs away like a thief. She is truly evil. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This essay demonstrates a good understanding of the play and the characters within it. There are many apt points made; however some of them need to be developed more fully to really show a full understanding of how Miller uses certain techniques for effect and to convey certain messages.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 26/07/2013

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