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Examine miller's presentation of the marriage of John and Elizabeth proctor in the crucible. What relevance does this have to the theme of witchcraft?

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Examine miller's presentation of the marriage of John and Elizabeth proctor in the crucible. What relevance does this have to the theme of witchcraft? Write a very brief summary of what the crucible is about. The crucible is a fictional retelling of events in American history surrounding the Salem witch trials of the seventeenth century. The crucible is a description of Puritan society in the early 1950's. The Salem witch trials took place from June through to September of 1692 during which time nineteen men and women were hanged at Gallows Hill near Salem, while another man named Giles Corey, was pressed to death for refusing to submit to a trial on witch craft charges. Hundreds of people faced accusations of witchcraft and dozens more languished in jail without trials. The witchcraft trials began because of the illness of Betty Parris, the daughter of the Salem minister, reverend Samuel Parris. When young girls begin to fall sick, suspicions of witchcraft begin to circulate in the nosy Puritan town. Soon the girls confess to seeing the devil, and begin pointing out others that they have allegedly seen with the devil. The courts begin to investigate the charges. Charged witches could escape prosecution if they "came to God" and not only admitted that they were a witch, but also accused others that were witches. Those that proclaimed their innocence however were hanged. The play begins in the home of Reverend Samuel Parris, whose daughter Betty Parris lays unconscious on her bed. Parries lives with his daughter and seventeen year old niece, Abigail Williams. Parris has sent for Reverend Hale of Beverly, as he believes his daughter's illness stems from supernatural explanations. Betty became ill when her father discovered her dancing in the woods with Abigail, Tituba and several other local girls. Tituba is said to be the leader of the occultic activities that took place in the forest. Parris caught them and jumped from a bush startling the girls. Betty fainted and had not recovered. ...read more.


The obvious relevance of The Crucible can be found at the very core of the text. A crucible can be used to separate and discard impurities the in a substance - in effect, that was the essence of the Salem witch trials. In an attempt to separate the 'good from the bad', many respectable and virtuous people were hung due to the mass hysteria and pressure caused by 'The Crucible' of the times. By reflecting his play's powerful and effective title throughout the text, Miller prompts his audience to apply his metaphor to other situations in history. It was most certainly Miller's own experiences during the 'communist hunt' of the 1950's that provoked him to write this play. Miller saw the parallels between the McCarthy era and the Salem witch hunts for what they really were - a crucible. Severe trials held in an attempt to separate the good from the evil, the pure from the tainted. Through his text, he shows the frailty and vulnerability of human nature by showing how hypocrisy and hysteria can lead to times of suspicion and instability. Crucible is a word that mixes many feelings and emotions where most words tend to be more ambiguous. Because the word crucible has multiple meanings, Arthur Miller chose The Crucible as a title to try to express the subtleties of the play's message. The usual and most widely used definition for crucible, according to the New Oxford Dictionary of English, is: "a pot or vessel made of a substance, such as porcelain, that will withstand extreme heat for the use of melting various materials." This definition is easily connected to the play. First off, witches supposedly use cauldrons to brew their magic potions, and a synonym for cauldron is crucible. Not only do witches use cauldrons, but the word crucible also could have some meaning as a metaphor. The actions in Salem were like that in a brewing cauldron, there were many intense (heated) ...read more.


When this attempt fails, he finally bursts out with a confession, calling Abigail a "whore" and proclaiming his guilt publicly. Only then does he realize that it is too late, that matters have gone too far, and that not even the truth can break the powerful frenzy that he has allowed Abigail to whip up. Proctor's confession succeeds only in leading to his arrest and conviction as a witch. Write about why Miller chose to place a relationship like this at the centre of the play? I think that miller chose to place a relationship like this at the centre of the play because they are two of the main characters and their relationship is very eventful. E.g. John committing adultery. The relationship of the Proctors rather ties together the play. Firstly, because the hatred of Elizabeth towards Abigail stems from the fact that John and Abigail had an affair and Abigail then lost her job so she dislikes Elizabeth for this, this starts the accusations between them. Write about what their marriage has to do with the other themes and issues of the play. In the play John Proctor is tested in a life threatening ordeal and his death at the end rather than betrayal of his conscience shows us that he too has come through the fire to be purified. John stands up for what he believes in just like the others who were sentenced to death. In his marriage, he stands up to Abigail in the end because of his love for Elizabeth. What is the signinifigance of act 2 on the play as a whole? The significance of act 2 on the play as a whole is due to the way that the main plot outline of the story is based and focussed on in act 2. In act 2 we see the proctors marriage problems exposed in detail, the court testimony's etc. Conclusion As I have shown, Millers presentation of the marriage of the Proctors is important to the structure of the play and the Proctor's marriage is also relevant to theme of witchcraft. ...read more.

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