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How does Arthur miller show the dramatic effect of John Proctors presence on stage and convey the preoccupations of seventeenth century Salem? Use one or two extracts to illustrate your points.

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Introduction

How does Arthur miller show the dramatic effect of John Proctors presence on stage and convey the preoccupations of seventeenth century Salem? Use one or two extracts to illustrate your points. Arthur Miller was an American playwright who was born in 1915. He grew up in New York to a Jewish family. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1938 where he began to distinguish himself as a playwright. His first plays were Honors at Dawn (1936) and No Villain (1937), which won the University of Michigan Hopwood Awards. His Death of a Salesman won the Pulitzer Prize in 1949. Miller wrote The Crucible in 1953 during the McCarthy period when Americans were accusing each other of Pro-Communist beliefs. Many of Miller's friends were being attacked as communists and in 1956. Miller himself was brought before the House of Un-American Activities Committee where he was found guilty of beliefs in communism. The verdict was reversed in 1957 in an appeals court. Miller married Marylin Monroe in 1956 but divorced her in 1961. The Crucible is set against the backdrop of the mad witch-hunts of the Salem witch trials in the late 17th century. It is about a strict theocratic Puritan town, after accusations from a few girls, which begins an obsessive hunt for witches that did not exist. ...read more.

Middle

He uses fairly simple language with some dialect slang. This is effective as it makes the story more realistic and sets the scene as well as being very direct at getting points across. Miller also however uses a lot of biblical sounding language. An example of this is in John Proctor's conversation with Hale. "Is the accuser always holy now? Were they born this morning as clean as God's fingers?" This is effective as not only does it sound very dramatic and strong but it also hints at the important role that religion played at this time. In Act one John Proctor begins as a likeable character, with a good reputation and common sense. It is clear that he is a figure of respect within the community of Salem. Within the extract on page 17 the dialogue between him and Abigail Williams make it clear that there is some history between the two of them. Abigail is behaving very flirtatiously towards Proctor. Abigail's desire to be with John is the fury that fuels her dissembling. Rightly John spurns her advances by saying "No, no Abby that's done with." He is being very straight with her. The effect of this is that he gains the audiences' trust as they admire him and respect his honesty. ...read more.

Conclusion

In this way, he is a hero as he stood firm in his beliefs and gave up his life for them. It is apparent that John Proctor is a selfless man of integrity; his motives are not to benefit himself but to save his wife and his friends. He is also a very inspirational character because his death as well as those of people such as Rebecca Nurse sparked the protest that ultimately resulted in the end of the witch trials and the clearing of the names of the accused. If he and the others had confessed, it is likely that the trials would have gone on much longer and many more innocent people would have been accused. Miller wanted the audience to empathise with John Proctor who unlike many of the other characters, stays true to his beliefs and is not moved by greed or jealousy. At the end of the play, however, Proctor's desire to keep his good name leads him to make the heroic choice not to make a false confession and to go to his death without signing his name to an untrue statement. "I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" he cries to Danforth in Act IV. By refusing to relinquish his name, he redeems himself for his earlier failure and dies with integrity. Liz Colley 10x1 ...read more.

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