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Consider the relationship between John Proctor and Elizabeth, paying particular attention to their exchanges/conversation at the beginning of Act II and at the end of Act IV. How is their relationship seen to change and develop during The Crucible?

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Introduction

Consider the relationship between John Proctor and Elizabeth, paying particular attention to their exchanges/conversation at the beginning of Act II and at the end of Act IV. How is their relationship seen to change and develop during The Crucible? The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller in 1952. It gives an insight into the terror of the Salem witch trials of 1692. Many innocent people were accused of witchcraft; plotting against God, killing people by using magic, taking over a person's mind and binding with the Devil. These were very religious times and any little hiccup in one's behaviour can give reason that one has been taking part in witchcraft. For example, John Proctor occasionally ploughs his field on a Sunday which is not strictly correct Christian behaviour and leads the prosecutors to think that Proctor is linked with the Devil. The Crucible is also a metaphor for McCarthyism in America in the 1950s. Many American people were questioned because they were suspected of being an, 'Un-American', or threatening the safety of the state. This questioning soon turned into a modern day witch-hunt. If anyone even criticised the government they were worthy to be questioned. In both cases the policy, 'guilty until proven innocent' seemed to apply, completely opposite to the justice system of today. ...read more.

Middle

It indicates how cold and unforgiving Elizabeth has been to him. This is probably the most prominent of all his lines in this part of the scene and concludes the conversation. It marks his anger and gives an audience a chance to really absorb his feelings. We can see that their relationship has changed a great deal through the play towards the end of Act IV. Elizabeth is given the chance to encourage Proctor to confess to witchcraft so that he won't be hanged. Their attitudes towards each other are a lot different in this scene. When they are left alone the stage directions read, 'He reaches out his hand as though toward an embodiment not quite real, and as he touches her, a strange soft sound, half laughter, half amazement, comes from his throat. He pats her hand. She covers his hand with hers.' His hand gesture is very loving and intimate, and the way he reacts to being able to touch her shows his compassion. This is very different to Act II where their meeting is tense and uneasy. With all that they have had to go through I think they appreciate one another more and realise how much they need each other. They sit down closely together and they are completely focused on each other. ...read more.

Conclusion

But she carries on, 'Suspicion kissed you when I did; I never knew how I should say my love. It were a cold house I kept.' The thing about this is that she is now talking in the past tense. This indicates that she has forgiven Proctor and no longer feels this way. This conversation makes Proctor realise how much he loves her and I think he wants to be able to make their relationship even stronger which is why he comes to the decision, 'I want my life.' But we know that in the end Proctor can't bring himself to confess to lies and when he heads off to be executed he exchanges a passionate kiss with Elizabeth. It shows the build up of emotion and an audience can see the strong love between the two of them. If you were to only see an extract from Act II you would think that Elizabeth and Proctor were an unloving and broken couple. But now their interactions are completely different, they show love, need and compassion for each other. The final line, said by Elizabeth, is, 'He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him.' She knows he is a good man and that he is doing the right thing for himself. Although they have to part, at least their relationship has been healed and Proctor can die knowing that Elizabeth loves him and has forgiven him; and Elizabeth knows that Proctor still loves her. ...read more.

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