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Explore the Importance of the Opening and Ending of Act 2 in Developing the Audiences Understand of the Characters of John and Elizabeth Proctor. How do these Sections of the Play Prepare us for the Events that Follow?

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Tania Douglas Explore the Importance of the Opening and Ending of Act 2 in Developing the Audiences Understand of the Characters of John and Elizabeth Proctor. How do these Sections of the Play Prepare us for the Events that Follow? The Crucible is a tragic play written by Arthur Miller in the 1950's during the 'Red Scare', which can be compared to some of the events that took place in The Crucible. The 'Red Scare' was when Senator Joe McCarthy believed communists were taking over the U.S government. Like The Crucible, anyone accused of communism were encouraged to confess to avoid punishment. Anyone who did not confess faced unemployment or damaged careers. Eighty-one members of the U.S government were accused and ten writers and directors were jailed for refusing questions. Miller himself was questioned but refused to answer, but avoided jail. It's said the Crucible is loosely based on these times. The story of The Crucible revolves around the witchcraft hysteria that took place in Salem in the 17th Century. Abigail Williams and a few other girls who lived in the village were caught dancing in the woods by Reverend Parris. They then started accusing other members of the village of witchcraft to take the attention off them and avoid punishment, but it all went way too far. ...read more.


When Proctor kisses her she doesn't respond which leaves him disappointed. They both watch each other when the other one isn't looking, as if they want to say something but they can't. Elizabeth wants to please her husband as much as she can, and vice versa. Elizabeth "blushes with pleasure" when Proctor compliments her on her cooking. Proctor feels extremely guilty about his affair with Abigail, and says, "I have not moved from there to there without thinking to please you". He does everything he can to try and be the perfect husband. Elizabeth wants Proctor to go to Salem to denounce Abigail. When Elizabeth presses him on it he becomes angry. He is afraid his past sins will become a focus in the courtroom, and he has a good reputation in the village. John then lets slip that he was alone in the room with Abigail when she told him it was a fraud. Elizabeth loses her faith in him since he told her he talked to her in a crowd. This shows how Elizabeth still has doubts that the affair is over. John gets angry whenever his wife doubts his faithfulness, as he's tried so hard to please her. He says "and still an everlasting funeral marches around your heart." The Proctors' relationship is hanging on a string, which can break very easily. ...read more.


It also shows how hard it is to convince even the most respectable people that the whole thing is a fraud, so it will be very difficult to prove Elizabeth's innocence. Elizabeth is also a strong Christian, but she also loves her husband. This is why she undergoes a moral dilemma, is she to lie to save her husband? Or tell the truth like a good Christian and send her husband to his death? Ironically, each of these two choices actually works in the reverse. It's also apparent that Proctor is very protective of his good name and reputation in the village, which is one of the reasons why he wont go to Salem and denounce Abigail, as the truth about his adultery would be revealed to the village. Later in act 4 he has to choose whether to keep his good name or sign a false confession and lose it. He decides to keep his good name and is hanged with his good name, reputation and honour intact. The act is very important in the play as a whole as it explores the relationship between John and Elizabeth, which is vital to the ending of the play. It shows that underneath it all, they both very much love each other and Elizabeth finally forgives John for his affair, and helps you to understand the decisions both characters make in the ending of the play. ...read more.

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