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Oral Assignment on the Proctors' Marriage in 'The Crucible'

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Introduction

Oral Assignment on the Proctors' Marriage in 'The Crucible' What sort of 'trial' is going on in their marriage? The trial that is going on in the Proctors' marriage is the tension that remains between the couple, caused by Proctor's affair with Abigail Williams. Elizabeth Proctor is intensely suspicious of her husband, worrying when he arrives at home late for dinner and losing all faith in him when her husband admits that he was momentarily alone with Abigail. There is an ongoing sense of the Proctors' marriage being stagnant and stifling, and the sin that Proctor has admitted stands between him and Elizabeth, without any catharsis. Elizabeth will not let this sin go, and continually judges her husband. ...read more.

Middle

This applies to the whole of the Puritan society, that there will not be peace, but always arguments and blame, unless there is some way for people to redeem their sins. The scene moves from the intimate conversation between husband and wife to more public matters, showing the weakening of the boundaries between private matters and public matters. The court officials use private information for their public evidence, and to back up accusations. The fact that Proctor is questioned about his religion, and that he stumbles upon adultery when reciting the 10 commandments to defend himself, shows that the Proctors' marriage show the overlap between private and public. The ambiguity of the evidence that is used to accuse people of witchcraft is illustrated in the Proctors' marriage; even beginning when Elizabeth thinks of Proctor's late arrival at home as possible evidence that he may be guilty of seeing Abigail Williams. ...read more.

Conclusion

Why do you think Miller chose to place a relationship like this at the centre of his play? * It is not a standard, trouble free marriage, but in fact a stiff bonding full of doubts, judgments and accusations. This makes it more interesting, and more suitable for the play. * The husband in the marriage has had an affair with one of the main leaders in the accusations and hysteria in witchcraft, making the Proctors' marriage central to the play, and having a key role in it. * The marriage encaptures the type of marriage possible in the Puritan society; that even if you are completely unhappy in the marriage you are in, you have to stay in it, without deviating from the standard Christian doctrine, otherwise you get accused of witchcraft. ...read more.

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