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Explore the factors leading up to the death of John Proctor and comment on the way these issues are presented in the play.

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Introduction

EXPLORE THE FACTORS LEADING UP TO THE DEATH OF JOHN PROCTOR AND COMMENT ON THE WAY THESE ISSUES ARE PRESENTED IN THE PLAY The first opening scene is of some girls in the woods using magical rites to get the man of their dreams. The girls are mentioning the names of men they want and throwing what looks like herbs into a cauldron one girl gives a chicken to a black girl called Tituba who is at the side of the cauldron, and at this point she looks like the leader in these magical rites. The girls all shout at Tituba to make a spell to make the boys fall in love with them. One girl asks Abigail who she likes and another replies 'John Proctor' and then Abigail whispers something to Tituba who doesn't seem to like what is being asked of her. Abigail then grabs the chicken from Tituba and throws it on the floor and then puts the blood of the chicken on her mouth. The girls are suddenly alerted to a man spying on them he even sees one of the girls naked they become hysterical and the next day we find that two of the younger girls have gone into a trance-like state probably because they were frightened of the consequences of their actions. The watcher's daughter Betty Parriss was one of the girls in a trance. The watcher was none other than Reverend Samuel Parriss who is also the uncle of Abigail Williams. Reverend Parriss is terrified by what he has seen. He is quite hysterical as he knows that if a witch was to live within his own home the fingers of the village of Salem would point towards him and his days in the Church would be over, but even worse they could hang him. The Reverend questions Abigail in Betty's bedroom, whilst she is in the trance like state,on what he has witnessed in the woods and he warns her that his whole life depends upon her answering 'truthfully'. ...read more.

Middle

She presents Goody Proctor with a little rag doll she has made whilst sitting in court. Mary Warren will not tell the Proctors who accused Goody Proctor of being a witch. Goody Proctor is aware that it is Abigail who has accused her of witchcraft, she knows and it was apparent to me that Abigail was trying to find a way of getting rid of John's wife. In reality Abigail knows that Goody Proctor does not lie and will not admit to being a witch and will therefore hang. Proctor goes to see Abigail and tries to stop her stupidity but Abigail says that she has a bite from the spirit of Goody Proctor, and now we can see just how evil Abigail is. John Proctor warns Abigail that if she cries witch against his wife he will wreak vengeance upon her 'it will be the end of you' he tells her. Although she loves John Proctor she is not wary of him and it doesn't change her mine about branding Goody Proctor a witch she sees herself as above the law because the courts have given her power over everyone in Salem. At this point I believe that the judges realize that this witch hunt is a farce but they want to believe witches exist . They discuss the deaths of the children at birth and the land rights. It seems as though they cannot back down, they have to prove there are witches in Salem whatever the cost to the community, it is a matter of cleansing the area of Masachusettes of the Devil and the judges see this as an opportunity to show the whole area that witchcraft and Devil worship will not be tolerated. Mr Hale comes to the Proctor's farm to warn them of the accusation of witchcraft against Goody Proctor. Hale is a man in anguish, he seems confused not knowing right from wrong and is worried about darkness prevailing in the village. ...read more.

Conclusion

They talk of their baby not yet born and their boys. John knows he is about to die but says he is thinking to confess just to be done with the problem. Goody says she will accept whatever he does. John says 'it is hard to give a lie to dogs' and that it is only spite that makes him stay silent. Goody replies 'whatever you will do it's a good man does it' she says she has her own sins to deal with. Goody admits to keeping a cold house and asks for his forgiveness. John shouts to the courts 'I want my life' The next problem begins when the judges want a signed confession that is to be pasted on the door of the church. He is asked if he saw Rebecca Nurse and others with the devil, John cannot lie and so he says that he saw no-one with the Devil. Hale pleads with the judge to let Proctor just sign his own confession which Proctor does but then reality strikes him and he argues that he cannot bring his boys up to be good men if this lie is pasted to the church door. He pleads that he has given this court his soul could they not leave him with his name. Proctor tears up the piece of paper with his signature on in and condemns himself to death. Hale pleads with Goody to change John's mind and Goody replies 'he has his goodness now God forbid I take it from him. Three innocent people are sent to be hanged and now we see the village people look on in total silence. This play showed peoples greed, ignorance, arrogance, hatred and all centred around one girl's unrequited love for a married man. It showed the good people dying whilst the tormentors stood by and gloated. It showed us how the might of the many blows away reality. Mass hysteria of young girls convinced grown men, mature judges that Salem was the Devils playground. ...read more.

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