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'The Crucible' - The Changes of John and Elizabeth Proctor's Relationship

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Year 10, 20th Century Drama Coursework Essay. 'The Crucible' The Changes of John and Elizabeth Proctor's Relationship In 1956 when Miller was summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee to confess to signing his name to petitions he began to think back to the witchcraft trials in Salem two centuries before. Miller saw these public confessions like the naming of names in Salem in 1692. This was the start of inspiration for his play The Crucible. The McCarthyism was what one might call a twentieth century version of the witch hunting. Since 1938 the committee, run by a man called Senator Joseph McCarthy, existed in America, they had the power to remove anyone from the country who was threatening the safety of America. In 1945 during the next five or ten years the United States and the USSR fought over the rise of communism. American feared it was spreading and just like the Salem trials this fear sparked off the panic in which so many witnesses were brought before the committee to confess, some who's name were blackened could never work again. Like many writers of plays Miller used a historical situation and transformed it into a fictional writing. By using a historical situation writers are able to draw upon documented evidence and real-life reactions to situations. Most importantly though for Miller was his experience in his involvement in the McCarthyism, this would have led him to feel he had an insight into the feelings of those involved in the Salem witch trials and he would have felt he was writing the play authoritatively. ...read more.


I will bring you home soon" we hear John say as Elizabeth is led outside. " I will fall like the ocean on that court. Fear nothing, Elizabeth" He reassures her. We see John is trying in the best way he can to show he loves her dearly. The clank of chains is heard and Proctor rushes out "damn you man! You will not chain her!" He cannot bear to see Elizabeth being chained because he knows that she is only being chained for his sins. Later on in Act 3 when Elizabeth is summoned to testify. She enters and the room silent, Danforth tells Elizabeth "look at me only, not at your husband" Elizabeth obviously cannot contain herself from looking at Proctor, this making us feel that Elizabeth has missed him very much and depends on him for what she should say. Elizabeth's does not know what Proctor has told the court and she tells them that the reason they threw out Abigail was because she "dissatisfied" her and Proctor. " Your husband- did he indeed turn form you?" Danforth asks Elizabeth he reaches out and holds her face, Elizabeth is in too much shock to speak. The room holding their breath to hear her speak, in the midst of silence faintly she replies "No sir." Elizabeth for first time in her life has lied and the irony of this is that she has only unconsciously has made things worse. ...read more.


Yet if he were to stay alive John would never be the man she once knew and loved he would be a broken man, a man not at ease with himself. Elizabeth now in a "burst of terror" runs to him and here we see the John Proctor we know, the strong man, now at ease with himself. "Show honour now" he bellows "show a stony heart and sink them with it." And with "great passion" he kisses her, we now feel there is so much love between them and at that moment feel so much sympathy for both characters. They are the heroes of this play; their love is what has triumphed. From outside we hear a "drum roll strike the air" like a beckon for John it's time for him to die, this startles Elizabeth and us. And as all the chaos around Elizabeth continues, she stands still. She knows the real John Proctor, the good warm-hearted man. Supporting herself against the bars, too hysterical to stand, the play now at its highest point and us, the audience, feeling such emotion for Elizabeth, she cries "He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!" A drum roll crashes and we see a new life for Elizabeth as the light pours through the window upon her face. Their love is now stronger than ever, and no one can take that away. Love has triumphed over all. And John has shown his integrity just like Miller did centuries after. Sophie Farquhar 10X1 10R 1 1 ...read more.

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