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How does miller create tension and conflict between John and Elizabeth proctor at the beginning of act two (to the point where Mary enters)

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Introduction

How does miller create tension and conflict between John and Elizabeth proctor at the beginning of act two (to the point where Mary enters) It is evident that the main cause of tension in the scene is the distrust that exists between John and Elizabeth. Miller shows the tension between them by the opening comment by Elizabeth "what keeps you so late? It's almost dark." John appears to ignore the hidden accusation "I went planting far out to the forest edge." Elizabeth and john then proceed to talk about family matters, which are unrelated to Elizabeth first comment. I assume Miller staged this conversation to maintain the uneasy atmosphere in the room. Elizabeth continues to watch John as he eats. He compliments her on the dinner "it's well seasoned," as if to ease the tension, which seems to be successful until he says, "I wish to please you." ...read more.

Middle

However, as Elizabeth watches him she seems to want to speak to him but doesn't want the confrontation. She moves to start cleaning up. John watches her and comments, "I think you are sad again." She doesn't want the friction between them but cannot lie to him and repeats "you come so late I thought you'd gone to Salem" I believe that she would say this quite coldly to him, to almost prove to him that she was suspicious without having to say it. John gets very defensive at this point and says indignantly "why! I have no business in Salem." Miller does this to show the conflict about this topic has been there before. The tone changes from awkward to angry as both characters discuss Mary going to Salem. ...read more.

Conclusion

Elizabeth is trying to calm him down, reassure him and break the conflict between them "I do not judge you" she reassures him. John has now become unpleasant and bitterly says, "Your justice would freeze beer!" Mary then breaks the atmosphere as she enters the room. Miller has been successful in creating tension and conflict in this scene by showing the friction between two people when one person wants to discuss something, which is then ignored by the other. He shows this successfully when Elizabeth asks why john is late and he changes the subject to talk about the boys and the farm in general. John, at this point is not ready to prove the point that Elizabeth is making. Late however Elizabeth mentions the matter again, and John responds with aggression and the uncomfortable atmosphere is established until the entry into the room of Mary. It is only then that the tension is broken By Carla Novak ...read more.

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