• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

GCSE English Directors Notes on Act 4 of The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

GCSE English Twentieth Century Drama Coursework Assignment Directors Notes on Act 4 of The Crucible by Arthur Miller As the Director of this play, I feel it is my responsibility to offer you advice on playing the character of John Proctor. I'm sure you'll find it may help you to understand the character if you are aware of the social and historical context of the play. The play is set in 1692 and is based upon the outbreak of accusations in Salem, Massachusetts. Arthur Miller wrote the play The Crucible, using the 17th-century case of witch trials (and fictionalising it) to comment on a 20th-century phenomenon-the hunting of communists as if they were witches. In 17th century Salem the inhabitants feared witchcraft, like America feared communism, both were exaggerated and both communities overreacted to an insignificant threat to their stability of life. Arthur Miller had always had a personal interest in the Salem Witch trials, but at the time he was writing the play, America was in the middle of the McCarthy political "Witch Hunt". Miller himself was called up before a committee for signing petitions, and he began to notice many similarities between the two trials, such as the naming of names and public confessions. This has meant that his play is seen as a political parable. In 1692, the colonists in Salem were Puritans and very protective of their particular religion and would tolerate no other. ...read more.

Middle

You stand increasingly close, until touching, then after a moment of intense silence let out half a shallow laugh and sit down. Elizabeth will join you and again there is silence as you give her, and she returns a searching look, as if there is so much to say, and you don't know where to begin. You look down and then the tension breaks as you attempt to start a conversation. "The child?" You continue a halfhearted conversation with long silences between monosyllabic answers. Both of you sense the conversation is not getting anywhere. Elizabeth becomes visibly pained as you ask about the children and after a pause you say, "you are a marvel Elizabeth" respectfully, as you stand and come closer to her, she looks away, silent tears running down her face. The second key moment in Act 4 is when Proctor has to respond to Elizabeth asking for forgiveness. He is already filled with guilt for what he has done to her, and to see her blaming it on herself would cause Proctor an immense amount of grief, he would be so upset by his sins affecting her, when he sees she has done nothing wrong. "...It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery..." Proctor could show this in the way he reacts, physically to her. As he says "enough, enough" he should look up at her as he says it, then down in shame. ...read more.

Conclusion

Proctor's courageous decision, at the close of the play, to die rather than confess to a sin that he did not commit, finally breaks the cycle. The court collapses shortly afterward, undone by the refusal of its victims to propagate lies. Another one of the plays themes relevant to Act 4 is Reputation. , Proctor seeks to keep his good name from being spoilt. Early in the play, he has a chance to put a stop to the girls' accusations, but his desire to preserve his reputation keeps him from testifying against Abigail. At the end of the play, however, Proctor's desire to keep his good name leads him to make the choice not to make a false confession and to die without signing his name to an untrue statement. "I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" he cries to Danforth. By refusing to ruin his name, he redeems himself for his earlier sins and dies with integrity, another theme of the play. In conclusion, you should reflect in your representation of Proctor the many changes he goes through in this Act. From ashamed, to righteous as he denies the court a false confession. Proctor is honest and upright, but has made one mistake, which confessing to cost him his life. He is very proud and his integrity is very important to him, I wish you the very best of luck in playing this complex character on stage. Hayley Martin Director of The Crucible ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. Using both Act 2 and Act 4, explore the relationship between John and Elizabeth. ...

    Ergo, when John has an affair Elizabeth doesn't know how to forgive him and so Miller uses language to make their relationship seem like a trial, with phrases such as "Oh, Elizabeth, your justice would freeze beer!" (Use of imagery)

  2. How Does Arthur Miller Create and Sustain Tension in Act 4 of 'The Crucible'?

    I come to counsel Christians they should belie themselves. There is blood on my head! Can you not see the blood on my head?" This is very dramatic language and makes the audience feel shocked that a reverend from all people should say this.

  1. The Crucible Coursework by Arthur Miller

    Each character then takes it turns to get their say to the judges, to give their say either for their wives or themselves. This is called a deposition. Mary's deposition starts by Hale trying to help out Proctor, however he cannot say that he is an honest man because he doesn't know him that much about him.

  2. English Literature GCSE Coursework

    his palms' the audience are expected infer from these two stage directions that a malevolent idea involving Rodolfo has jus entered Eddie's head. Eddie then leads onto the next stage of his plan but so as not to make his intentions obvious Eddie first asks Marco "You ever do any boxing?"

  1. Focusing on Act 3, to what extent is 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller an ...

    For example when Giles Corey the husband of Martha Corey presents his case he talks in 'helpless sobs' the effect this has on the audience is that he is ever determined to save and get his wife back and he has realised the mistake he has made.

  2. The Crucible by Arthur Miller - John Proctor.

    The entire scene with Abigail and Proctor is more of the above, Abigail telling Proctor that he loves her and then once again Proctor denying this and saying he doesn't care for her any more, Proctor still finds Abigail exciting and attractive.

  1. Crucible confession

    This shocks the audience because this is the first time that the fact that the girls are not children becomes apparent. All through the scene so far the girls have acted like children in front of adults and like wise the adults have treated the girls like children.

  2. GCSE English Coursework - Crucible

    This then leads to many hangings of innocent individuals, who would rather die than commit the sin of lying and having their names tarnished. John Proctor and Abigail Williams are two central characters in the play. Their secretive affair results in Abigail conjuring spirits, as she was obsessed with rekindling their relationship.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work