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How Far is Millers Presentation of Proctor Inviting the Audience to See Him as a Good Man?

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Introduction

How Far is Miller's Presentation of Proctor Inviting the Audience to See Him as a Good Man? During the 1950's America was very anti-communist, one person suggested there was communist activity in America itself. Once someone had suggested this the whole American government got suspicious and paranoid. Probably the most involved anti-communist politician was someone called Senator McCarthy. He accused the most people out of anyone, falsely accusing many American people. The list of accused began to grow. Most of the accused were actors and writers, like Arthur Miller, (who was accused.) During the 1690's in Salem, Massachusetts, something called the Salem witch trials occurred. This is where over 50 people were accused (falsely, again) of witchcraft and dealing with the devil. There was a person named Judge Danforth who accused and sentenced to hang a lot of people. One of the accused was John Proctor, he, like the others, was falsely accused. Salem and 1950's America are closely linked in this play as there is a huge paranoia in both circumstances, I might add, both irrational paranoia. Proctors appearances in act one are normally portrayed as him being an outcast, different and stubborn. This sounds like a bad thing but as I will explain this is not 100% the case. ...read more.

Middle

You really start to see Proctor being presented as a good man by the end of act 2 when he starts standing up for his wife when she is accused of hurting his ex-lover Abigail. You can see him protecting his wife when he says: [when Cheever tells Elizabeth to come to jail with him proctor answers] "She will not!" This definitely shows how much he cares about his wife, even through the troubles of his affair. This is Miller showing him as a good man yet again. I think in act 2 Miller is definitely relating Proctor to himself and Elizabeth to his writer/actor friends. Act 3 is all about the trial of Elizabeth Proctor. She is betrayed by her friends and co-workers, this is Proctors main time to be shown as a good man. Miller shows this by Proctor admitting to adultery with Abigail Williams. He says: [when john Proctor accuses Abigail of being a whore he replies by saying] "I have known her sir, I have known her." Before he says this Miller gives stage directions which are "trembling, his life collapsing around him" This is Miller saying that his pride has been shattered by having to admit his disgrace. ...read more.

Conclusion

Miller in act 4 has just finished off the job of Proctor being a good man; he shows he is passionate, faithful, caring and humble all in one act. The stagecraft is the key to this play. Miller has set it up in such a way that makes Proctor look like a good man. He could have easily set it up for Proctor to look evil. Miller kept relatively quiet the fact that Proctor missed church regularly, he also emphasised him apologising to his wife about his affair, and he did this again to make him stand out as a good man. This play is an excellent model for McCarthyism; Miller has tweaked the play so that the characters run parallel to what was happening at the time for example: Danforth and McCarthy, Elizabeth and Miller's co-workers, Abigail and the US government and finally Proctor and Miller. It's most effective way of modelling McCarthyism is that the whole book is a huge parable to the government to make them realise how ridiculous their charges were. Overall I think this play is very interesting but can get a little confusing at times. It is quite out-dated but that's what seems to make it work so well. Overall I think it is hugely effective in the way it is set up to embarrass high US officials. A very good play overall. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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